November 9, 2019

Child Abusers Run Rampant as Tech Companies Look the Other Way

(The New York Times) Though platforms bar child sexual abuse imagery on the web, criminals are exploiting gaps. Victims are caught in a living nightmare, confronting images again and again.

The two sisters live in fear of being recognized. One grew out her bangs and took to wearing hoodies. The other dyed her hair black. Both avoid looking the way they did as children.

Ten years ago, their father did the unthinkable: He posted explicit photos and videos on the internet of them, just 7 and 11 at the time. Many captured violent assaults in their Midwestern home, including him and another man drugging and raping the 7-year-old.

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November 8, 2019

END GAME Death from 24-hour gaming marathons, collapsed lungs & match-fixing: how intense world of e-sports breaks teenage stars

(The Sun) IT is the baffling new frontier of online fame, a snowballing industry where teenagers can earn millions from the comfort of a sofa.

Yet this week, the all-consuming pressure of professional e-sports took its toll on one British star, who broke down in tears after being caught cheating on Fortnite.

The shocking death of a 17-year-old teen after an all-night gaming marathon on Monday was a cruel reminder of the physical toll of gaming.

The lifeless body of Piyawat Harikun was found by his dad after he suffered a stroke in Thailand, with medics believing his non-stop addiction to battle games could have been to blame.

It follows the case of Brian Vigneault, a 35-year-old dad-of-three who streamed his World of Tanks sessions on the website Twitch, mysteriously passing away in Virginia in 2017 during a 24-hour gaming event.

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November 7, 2019

China fears young people are addicted to video games. Now it is imposing a curfew

Hong Kong (CNN)China has announced a curfew on online gaming for minors among new measures aimed at curbing video game addiction.

The official government guidelines will be applied to all online gaming platforms operating in the country, mostly notably Tencent, the world's biggest gaming company.

Under the new rules, gamers aged under 18 will be banned from playing online games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. On weekdays, minors can only play for 90 minutes, while they may play up to three hours per day on weekends and public holidays.

The guidelines also place restrictions on the amount of money minors can transfer to their online gaming accounts. Gamers aged between eight and 16 years old can only top up 200 yuan ($29) per month, while the maximum amount for those between 16 and 18 will be 400 yuan ($57).

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November 4, 2019

MRIs show screen time linked to lower brain development in preschoolers

(CNN) Screen time use by infants, toddlers and preschoolers has exploded over the last decade, concerning experts about the impact of television, tablets and smartphones on these critical years of rapid brain development.

Now a new study scanned the brains of children 3 to 5 years old and found those who used screens more than the recommended one hour a day without parental involvement had lower levels of development in the brain's white matter -- an area key to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills.

Higher screen use was associated with less well-developed white matter tracts throughout the brain.

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November 4, 2019

Screen time might be physically changing kids’ brains

(MIT Technology Review) The study: Forty-seven 3- to 5-year-olds took a test to measure their cognitive abilities, and their parents were asked to answer a detailed survey about screen time habits. The answers were scored against a set of screen time guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The kids also had their brains scanned in an MRI machine.

Brain changes: The scans revealed that kids who spent more time in front of screens had what the authors call lower “white matter integrity.” White matter can be roughly thought of as the brain’s internal communications network—its long nerve fibers are sheathed in fatty insulation that allows electrical signals to move from one area of the brain to another without interruption. The integrity of that structure—how well organized the nerve fibers are, and how well developed the myelin sheath is—is associated with cognitive function, and it develops as kids learn language.

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October 25, 2019

Miraculous escape of metro passenger as she walks straight off the platform in front of a train while looking at her phone

(MailOnline) CCTV footage captured the accident at Estrecho metro station, Madrid, Spain

The video shows the woman sat waiting for her train to arrive on the platform

With her eyes glued to her phone, she does not stop as she reaches platform edge

She falls straight onto the tracks as commuters frantically spring up to help her

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October 20, 2019

The teenagers so addicted to cellphones they are going to detox centers

Seoul (CNN) It was 4 am when 16 year old Yoo Chae Rin realized she had been on her phone for 13 hours. In less than three hours, she had to be up for school.

The South Korean high school student knew she had a problem, so she enrolled in a government camp for teenagers who can not put their phones down.

"Even when I knew in my head I should stop using my smartphone, I just kept going, Yoo said. "I could not stop, so I had be on it until dawn."

South Korea has one of the highest ownership of smartphones in the world. More than 98% of South Korean teens used one in 2018, according to government figures -- and many are showing signs of addiction.

Last year, around 30% of South Korean children aged 10 to 19 were classed as "overdependent" on their phones, according to the Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology (MSIT). That means they experienced "serious consequences" due to their smartphone use, including a decline in self-control.

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October 4, 2019

Quebec parents seek class action against makers of addictive Fortnite game

(CityNews) Two Quebec parents are seeking the right to launch a class-action lawsuit against the makers of the popular video game Fortnite, alleging it was purposely made highly addictive and has had a lasting impact on their children.

Montreal-based Calex Legal is seeking to sue Epic Games Inc., the U.S. company behind the popular online multiplayer game, as well as its Canadian affiliate based in British Columbia.

The firm filed a request Thursday on behalf of two parents who approached them separately alleging their sons, aged 10 and 15, have become dependent on the game in short order.

Their case likens the addiction to a drug addiction, noting that the World Health Organization made a decision last year to declare video game addiction, or “gaming disorder,” a disease.

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