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Kids Care about Their Online Privacy as Much as Adults Do and Want it Protected, Researcher Says

Contrary to popular belief, youth value their privacy and are disturbed that online platform providers collect their information and steer them towards specific digital content.

That’s the finding of a recent study led by Kara Brisson-Boivin, Director of Research at MediaSmarts, Canada’s Centre for Digital and Medial Literacy, who is calling for new digital literacy tools and privacy policies to ensure young Canadians understand how algorithms work so that they can be empowered to make better decisions about their online activity.

Sharing findings from eight focus groups recently conducted with Canadian youth aged 13 to 17, Brisson-Boivin will show that young people don’t like being manipulated by online platforms and content creators. In fact, when it comes to the common practice of data brokering, their message is clear: they think selling their data without their knowledge or meaningful consent is a violation of their privacy.

“Often there’s...

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Robots Aren’t Replacing Instructors – Yet, But AI Does Have an Important Role to Play in Post-Secondary Education, says Expert

There’s a new generation of ‘instructor’ making its way into post-secondary education that’s available 24 hours a day, answers questions in an instant and can provide real-time guidance on assignments: artificial intelligence. Instead of fearing the technology, now’s the time for Canadian institutions to embrace it.

Glen Farrelly, a digital media consultant and assistant professor at Athabasca University who uses simulation and other AI components in his own courses, is on a mission to dispel the myths surrounding AI and provide his peers with practical tips on how to successfully incorporate it into their teaching methods.

“The reality is, there are parts of education that AI is simply really good at,” Farrelly said. “Within a few years, it may be hard to escape the technology and that means instructors are going to encounter terms like machine learning and natural language processing.”

The easiest and most popular use of AI at the post-...

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Toronto’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Demonstrates Racism is Alive and Well in Canada, Expert Says

If you’re among the one in three Canadians who still don’t believe racism is a serious problem in our country, you don’t have to look further than our response to the COVID-19 pandemic for proof that inequity remains deeply rooted here.

Dr Frances Henry, professor emerita at York University and co-author of The Equity Myth, a landmark study on racism in Canadian universities, will address what she calls the denial of racism in Canada. Pointing to research that shows racialized and marginalized groups continue to make up a disproportionate share of Canada’s COVID-19 cases as one example, she’ll shed light on different forms of racism that still exist here and why change is needed.

“Not only does Canada have a racist history, but it’s very often thought that Canadian society is racist-free and that all of the issues occur south of our border,” Henry said. “We simply need to look at Toronto postal codes and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to...

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Canadian K-12 Teachers at a Breaking Point: Education Experts Say Systemic Changes are Urgently Needed to Support Their Mental Health

After a year of exceptional challenges, the stress and anxiety levels of K-12 teachers across the country are reaching unprecedented heights, and it will take far more than mandatory Friday afternoon wellness webinars to address the issue.

That’s the finding of an ongoing study led by education experts Dr. Kristen Ferguson and Dr. Melissa Corrente, who are sounding the alarm over rising mental health issues among Canadian elementary and high school teachers and calling for systemic changes to support their well-being.

Ferguson, an associate professor at Nipissing University, and Corrente, a research associate at University of Ottawa, are leading the teaching component of a pan-Canadian study – The Healthy Professional Worker Partnership – funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR). At Congress 2021, they will present findings from interviews with 26 key...

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Lack of Digital Supervision is Leaving Kids Vulnerable to a Growing Group of Online Predators – Their Peers

A rising number of Canadian children – some as young as four years old – are becoming desensitized to porn and violence online and being victimized by their peers, and if adults don’t take action now to boost their digital supervision, the problem will continue to grow as kids increase their screen time amid COVID-19.

Charlene Doak-Gebauer, a leading author, international speaker, and founder and chair of the London, Ont.-based Internet Sense First charity, is on a mission to make digital supervision a household word. At Congress 2021, she will sound the alarm bell, calling on adults to remove their blinders and start putting safeguards in place to protect children online, especially at a time when kids are spending more time studying and socializing virtually due to the pandemic.

“In the absence of digital supervision, the trend is frightening,” she said. “Not only are kids learning to objectify humanity – finding it ‘funny’ to film other kids having...

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