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Smartphones, tablets and internet killing Irish marriages and family life

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Forget affairs or simply falling out of love, technology is the biggest factor in the breakdown of Irish marriages, it’s claimed.

Family psychologist and UCD lecturer, Dr John Sharry, maintains the overuse of smartphones, tablets and the internet is having a devastating impact on relationships – and our sex lives.

Worryingly, our must-have gadgets are also ruining family life and the bonds between parents and their children.

Dr Sharry’s warnings are supported by counselling body Relationships Ireland, which claims 90% of couples seeking its help say technology is a big factor in their marriage troubles.

Read more: Four things that spell relationship trouble – and how you can avoid heading for the divorce courts.

Source: Smartphones, tablets and internet killing Irish marriages and family life, warns expert – Irish Mirror Online

Smartphone use can hinder children’s reading skills

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The authors of the study of 8,000 children say long periods of unsupervised time using the internet, watching TV or playing computer games have a negative impact on students.

Children who have smartphones and spend long periods of time playing computer games are performing relatively poorly in reading and maths, new research shows.

The findings are contained in a study of 8,000 children in 150 primary schools across Ireland which assessed students’ reading and maths performance.

Overall, the study found that parents have a major impact on their children’s performance, with pupils performing better in homes where there are rules over completing homework.

Access to technology is not necessarily a negative factor. For example, children who have access to broadband and educational games perform better than those who do not…

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/smartphone-use-can-hinder-children-s-reading-skills-1.2809453

iPads in the classroom – transforming education or unnecessary distraction? – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

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For the past eight months, my teenage son has been required to use an iPad for some schoolwork and much of his homework. And it seems he’s not the only one; tablets are now commonplace in schools and some schools are starting to insist all pupils have one.

But there’s been little debate about this new development. And that’s why the ATL teaching union commissioned a major survey on tablets in the classroom.

A total of 376 parents and teachers from across Northern Ireland responded and there was a clear consensus on a number of issues.

Most (78%) believed tablets do have at least some educational value in the classroom, but there was widespread concern about certain significant potential drawbacks.

Some 82% of respondents were worried about the ‘distraction factor’ if pupils were expected to use tablets for homework; will children diligently do their homework when they can check messages or play games on the same devices?

But perhaps the most alarming finding related to child protection; 64% of teaching staff who had educational experience of using tablets felt there was a risk that pupils might access inappropriate material when the devices were used in the classroom.

Some schools are starting to ask or require parents to pay for tablets or other digital devices. Most respondents (71%) firmly opposed any move to make parents pay on the grounds that not all families can afford the cost.

Indeed, a large majority of respondents (81%) wanted official guidance on the use of tablets in schools – so perhaps that can be one of the first tasks for our incoming Education Minister.

So where do parents and schools stand?

Source: iPads in the classroom – transforming education or unnecessary distraction? – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Thai man jailed for 25 years over royal insult posts on Facebook

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Thai man jailed for 25 years over royal insult posts on Facebook.

A Thai military court on Tuesday jailed a man for 25 years for posting pictures on his Facebook page deemed insulting to Thailand’s monarchy, in one of the toughest such sentences in recent years.

Thailand’s lese-majeste law is the world’s harshest and makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen or heir to the throne or regent.

Since taking power in a May coup, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a staunch royalist, has repeatedly vowed to vigorously pursue royal insult cases and try those perceived to be anti-monarchists.

In the latest case, Tiensutham Suttijitseranee, a 58-year-old businessman, was found guilty of posting defamatory content in a closed-door court sentencing, his lawyer told Reuters.

“The court decided that because he posted five pictures with captions last year that the court deemed defamatory, he would be sentenced to a total of 50 years; ten years for each picture posted, reduced by half to 25 years,” lawyer Sasinan Thamnithinan told Reuters, adding that the term was halved because Tiensutham pleaded guilty.

The court did not allow his relatives and reporters to attend the verdict, she said…

After the Protests – NYTimes.com

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After the Protests – NYTimes.com.

“LAST Wednesday, more than 100,000 people showed up in Istanbul for a funeral that turned into a mass demonstration. No formal organization made the call…Protests like this one, fueled by social media and erupting into spectacular mass events, look like powerful statements of opposition against a regime. And whether these take place in Turkey, Egypt or Ukraine, pundits often speculate that the days of a ruling party or government, or at least its unpopular policies, must be numbered. Yet often these huge mobilizations of citizens inexplicably wither away without the impact on policy you might expect from their scale.
This muted effect is not because social media isn’t good at what it does, but, in a way, because it’s very good at what it does.”

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