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Messenger Kids Launches New Digital Literacy Initiative to Better Educate Youngsters on Key Risks

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Messenger Kids Launches New Digital Literacy Initiative to Better Educate Youngsters on Key Risks


Meta is looking to educate kids on key elements of digital literacy and safe online behavior as part of a new program in Messenger Kids, which will help youngsters learn about avoiding harmful actions and protecting themselves online, among other elements.

As explained by Messenger:

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of ‘Pledge Planets, an interactive, in-app activity that will help kids learn and practice how to make healthy online decisions, stay safe and build resilience. Kids will explore different planets based on the tenets of the Messenger Kids Pledge, helping characters navigate various social situations and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes. By completing the games in each episode, kids will see that their kind, respectful, safe and fun actions have a big impact on those around them.”

The Messenger Kids Pledge, originally published in 2018, focuses on the core tenets of using the app:

Messenger Kids pledge

The new games have been built around these elements, to educate users on what they actually mean in practice, by providing examples of negative actions, and behavior that goes against these rules, in order to highlight what they should both avoid, and report in extreme cases.

The first two games in the initiative focus on negative actions and understanding other users’ actions in social apps.

  • Rough Reviews: The sandwich shop has a website where customers can leave comments about their experiences. Players must help the owner read through the reviews and match the correct online response to each one. In doing so, kids will learn to recognize kind and unkind behavior and become familiar with tools like blocking and reporting. The game also provides an option to “relax” and pause the game for a few seconds in exchange for bonus time later, which can help kids learn that it’s okay to take time to think before offering a response.
  • Order Up: Customers approach the counter to order a sandwich. In building each one, players must select the emojis that best respond to the customer’s mood. This uses empathy to teach kids how to read and react to various emotional states of people online.

The games were developed in partnership with a range of adolescent health experts and advisors, in order to ensure that they cover off on the key educational aspects that kids need to get a better understanding of negative behaviors, and interacting in a healthy and beneficial way.

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It’s a good initiative, and while some will still balk at the idea of Meta providing education for kids, or having their children use Messenger Kids at all, digital literacy is now a key area of development that all youngsters need to learn, given the amount of time they now spend online in varying forms.

That’s become even more pronounced as a result of the pandemic, within which, online connection has been the only form of social interaction that many youngsters have had. A lot of kids now spend the majority of their recreational time online, and as VR becomes a bigger element, and indeed, the metaverse in a broader push, that’s only likely to increase. Add in the increasing work from home shift, and it’s clear that kids need to understand, from a young age, the key elements of safe and accountable online behavior.

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You may not want this info coming from Meta, but somebody needs to fill the void. And while many teachers have now built digital literacy education into their own curriculum, we still lack a standardized, up to date structure for teaching kids these key lessons.

As such, this could end up being a valuable new initiative, and with millions of young people now connecting in the app, Messenger Kids could be a key platform for such education.



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LinkedIn Updates Professional Community Policies to Better Reflect What’s Not Allowed in the App

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LinkedIn Updates Professional Community Policies to Better Reflect What's Not Allowed in the App

LinkedIn has announced an update to its Professional Community Policies, which dictate what’s allowed, and what’s not, within your various LinkedIn communications.

The updated policies aim to provide more insight into specific elements of in-app engagement – because people, especially women, are sick of LinkedIn being used as a hook-up site by overeager users who like the looks of their profile image.

That’s not the only reason, but definitely, reports of harassment via LinkedIn’s InMail have been rising.

As explained by LinkedIn:

“As part of our updated policies, we’re publishing a set of expanded resources for members to better understand our policies and how we apply them, including detailed examples of content that isn’t allowed and how we handle account restrictions. While harassment, hate speech, and other abusive content has never been allowed on LinkedIn, we’ve added what types of comments and behaviors go against our Professional Community Policies.”

In this updated format, LinkedIn’s new policy overview includes specific sections outlining what’s not allowed in the app, with links that you can click on for more information.

Follow the links and you’ll be taken to the relevant LinkedIn Help article on that topic, which also includes a section that shares more specific explainers on what’s not allowed in the app.

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LinkedIn policies

The aim is to provide more direct insight into what you can’t do in the app, and with engagement continuing to rise across LinkedIn, it makes sense that, logically, LinkedIn is also going to see more interactions that violate these terms.

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And as noted, women are disproportionately targeted by such activity.

A report by CTV Canada last year found that many female LinkedIn users regularly receive inappropriate messages from men, who’ll often reach out to tell women that they find them attractive. Fast Company reported in 2020 that posts from female users are often targeted with ‘derision, marginalization and even outright hate’, despite LinkedIn being a lass anonymous platform than others, while many other women have reported similar advances or attacks by users in the app.

LinkedIn does have a specific policy against ‘sexual innuendos and unwanted advances’, which now also includes more examples of what’s not allowed.

LinkedIn Community Policies

But the fact that this is even necessary is a little disconcerting – and really, this does seem to be the main focus of this new update, providing more context around what you can’t do in the app, which is really an expansion of general workplace etiquette and ethics.

It seems like that should be a given, and that all users should be able to engage in a professional manner, but of course, as with any widely used platform, there will always be some that push the boundaries, and break the rules, especially if those regulations are unclear.

Which is what LinkedIn’s seeking to clarify, and hopefully, this new format will make it easier for people to understand what they can and can’t do in the app.

You can check out LinkedIn’s updated Professional Community Policies here.

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