Selfie Sex-Ed: Should High Schools Teach Sexting Risks?

Sexting

According to a long-term study by researchers at the University of Texas, sexting may actually be a normal part of sexual development among teens.

As provocative as that sounds, I think it’s probably true. And — as exaggerated and semi-Puritan as this sounds — it’s also true that sexting can completely ruin a teenager’s life.

A girl who shares an intimate photo with her boyfriend can be charged with a summary offense in Pennsylvania. He can face charges for having the images, too.  Read more »

Apple’s New Emoji Have Created Brand New Ways to Be Culturally Insensitive Online

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More than half of Americans are in possession of a smartphone, with many using emoticons. It is fair to say that while all races are not represented by emoticons, all races use emojis. As Black-Emoji.com explains, “Emoji & Emoticons are the alphabet of the social media generation.”

Last week, Apple unveiled new diverse emoticons, including a set of emojis with an adjustable range of emoji skin tones to pick from, including yellow, brown and black. It’s been a long time coming — the Black Twitterverse and scores of others online denizens have complained for years that Apple’s emoji set was woefully lacking. As Vice reported in 2014, “emojis include the middle finger, the Vulcan hand salute, an optical disc icon, a chipmunk, and a black droplet. But no black people.” Up until last Thursday, Apple emoticon users could only use yellow Lego-people-colored graphics as representation of themselves. Read more »

The Astonishing Ubiquity of Walter Scott’s Death

Walter Scott Shooting

I spent the better part of the last week avoiding video of the Walter Scott shooting. I read the various articles that accompanied it as it came across my screen – up and down my Twitter timeline and in various pockets of my Facebook feed. In every report and opinion, the video of a man’s last violent, terrifying moments were embedded close by, as though the mere description of such tragedy was not enough.

As I sat for dinner at a quiet Italian restaurant, the video I’d long avoided confronted me again and again thanks to CNN’s insistence. As it looped, I looked around to see if other people noticed, or were disturbed, or took issue. Technology, which has made this conversation possible, is now preparing to make many of us desensitized. Read more »

Buy This App and Never Talk to Your Child Again!

When I wrote a few years back about the precipitous drop-off in the number of young men getting driver’s licenses, Uber was just beginning to get off the ground. I didn’t know enough about it to even consider that it might be a factor in the decline of the American male love affair with cars. Time flies; this week the New York Times reported that nowadays, instead of nagging their parents to take them for their driver’s tests and buy them Mustangs when they reach majority, kids are asking for their own Uber accounts.

As a parent, I’m of two minds about this. Considering how dangerous teen driving was even before the invention of cell phones and selfies, having anyone else but my kid behind the wheel when he heads out to a party or concert seems like a great idea. On the other hand, what’s next? Start-ups that come to your house and get you dressed? Hold your fork to your mouth? Read more »

Report: One-Quarter of Philadelphians Unhappy With Comcast

Mayor Nutter speaks about the franchise agreement with Comcast during a noonhour press conference on Thursday.

Mayor Nutter speaks about the franchise agreement with Comcast during a midday press conference on Thursday.

Twenty-six percent of Philadelphia Comcast subscribers are unhappy with the company’s service, according to a new report (below) released as City Hall begins the public phase of renewing the company’s 15-year franchise agreement with the city.

That overall satisfaction rate was lower than in other markets studied in recent years, according to the report, and while Mayor Michael Nutter tried to spin it positively — as a 74 percent approval rate, great for politicians — he concluded: “That is not satisfactory to me or city government.”

A Comcast spokesman called the report “flawed,” but declined to elaborate. Read more »

FLOWCHART: A Handy Guide to the Wide World of Philly Crowdfunding

When the first couple crowd-funding requests popped up in my Facebook feed, I was a fan. It was hard not to be.

Out of the bleakness of the Internet came something intrinsically human — a call for help — and it, in turn, was answered with something even more human: support from a community willing to sacrifice a little bit to contribute to a greater good. Hidden among the selfies and Candy Crush invitations, perhaps we were a species worth saving.

But nothing gold — or even a little bit shiny in the right light — can stay. Read more »

Trevor Noah and the Never-Ending Cycle of Twitter Shame

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The thing about people is that they’re fallible; they do bad things, both intentionally and unintentionally. As we were all taught as children, people make mistakes.

The Internet, as we know, is less forgiving. And it makes discerning the offender’s intent a bit more of a dubious undertaking. Who knows if anyone’s lapse of judgement is really that or indicative of something more sinister in their character. Mistakes? Well, they become more than that. They become moments, and then they live beyond.

The latest example of this phenomenon, of course, is Trevor Noah, the comedian tapped by Comedy Central to replace long-standing host Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Read more »

Amazon Home Services Has Arrived in Philadelphia

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It’s not enough that you can have anything under the sun delivered to your front door. Now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, you can pay Amazon to find someone in Philadelphia to put together a bookshelf or grill, configure your wireless printer, or hang your new 52-inch plasma TV in time for the start of Phillies season. OK, so maybe not Phillies season, but you get the point. Read more »

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