It is interesting to look at the differences between generations. Each have their defining qualities that help separate them from the next. The current generation or “youngest generation” has technology as just that. It is evident in their everyday lives. From keeping in contact with a friend online, to knowing what the weather is going to be the next day, kids these days are constantly immersed in a technological world.
When we ask kids just what it is they are doing with technology, most of the time I find that they are using it to learn and discover things about the world. For example, my younger sister loves to draw and is very talented at it. I also noticed that my younger sister spends a lot of time on YouTube. At first, both my mom and I thought that she was just wasting her time watching some of the brain-numbing content that YouTube has to offer. But when I actually inquired her on what it was she watched, she revealed that she was doing the opposite. She was stimulating her brain and used YouTube as a tool to improve her artistic abilities. She would search for and study videos showcasing things such as “shading techniques” or “how to improve you speed drawing” – things that were beneficial to know for her artistry. Things that 10 years ago she would have had to take a class to learn.
This isn’t the only topic I would like to touch on. Kids aren’t just using technology to enhance their skills. They are also using it to learn more about what is going on in the world.
Have you ever had a moment where you may have been discussing some political issue as adults and had a kid pipe-in with their opinions? Then you just stare in disbelief that the kid is even aware of what is happening? This is a situation I am witnessing more and more as time goes by. Kids are using technology as a way to learn about “adult problems.”
For my 15th birthday I was able to upgrade from the iPhone 5c to last year’s model, the iPhone 6s.
I really have enjoyed it, from the improved processor to the improved camera. One of my favourite improvements is the upgrade from a 4-inch screen to a 4.7-inch screen. It’s the perfect size for using one or two hands.
Some of my other favourite things include the design change, force touch, and the ability to jailbreak.
The only downside I have found with this phone is that the camera sticks out about half a centimetre from the phone which means without a case it could get damaged.
This has by far been my favourite release from Apple. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who likes Apple products, likes the size of the display, or likes having a headphone jack!
It’s a weeknight and you look out the window and see that it has begun to snow, and you get excited. Very excited. You get the glimmer of hope that all school age children get of a day off and a chance to sleep in. You race to the nearest phone, laptop or tablet to check the weather report for the following morning and you see that it’s going to keep on snowing through the night. You only have one more step before you’re convinced.
You open the browser and head over to snowdaypredictor.com, the trusted source and master of all snow day knowledge. This is the “make or break.” You punch in your postal code and you wait anxiously for the percentage. The page loads. YES! 87% chance! An almost guaranteed snow day. You go to bed that night planning everything you’re going to do the following day.
What I have just described is something we have all experienced at some point. We all have had those nights before school where we get excited because of a potential snow day, and try our best to make the prediction of if our wishes are going to become a reality. Now, there is just something that is helping give answers to those night time “what if’s.” Technology. In this modern age that we live in, it is becoming ever more prevalent — there really is technology available for every aspect of life. If you had said to kids 20 years ago, “Hey, in the future you can predict a snow day by percentage just by simply punching in your postal code,” they probably wouldn’t have believed you. That’s why it’s such a neat thing.
In my own school, it’s a widely used product. As soon as one kid looks out the window and sees that there is snow coming down, they will quickly pull up the website and start telling the people around them what the percentage is. There has been many a time that I have walked into a classroom and heard hushed whispers of numbers and the chance of a snow day. There was one day in particular that stands out in memory for me. This was the legendary day that the prediction was 99%. Word of this ungodly high number spread like wildfire to the point where even the teachers were aware of it. Kids my age trusted the source so much that some of them even took the gamble of not doing their homework.
It seems that my peers and kids alike use Snow Day Predictor as a trusted source of knowledge and don’t resist to put all their faith into the predictions it makes. In the winter, the website is treated as if it is the epicentre of all known weather/school knowledge, and I’m sure it will remain that way for many school kids to come.
Starboy – The Weeknd
On November 25th The Weeknd released his fourth studio album with the name Starboy. This name is also the name of his chart top hit “Starboy”. It contains 18 songs with collaborations from artists Future, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey and Daft Punk. He currently has all 18 songs in the Hot 100 charts as well as the Spotify Global Top 50! That makes him making up about 1/5 and 1/3 of the charts.
I personally really enjoy this album, it has become my favourite album to date. I feel it has such a wide variety of sounds that avoids the problem of songs having a similar sound or beat. Currently, my Top 3 favourite songs from the album are (in no specific order): “True Colors”, “Six Feet Under” and “Reminder”. The song “True Colors” is a slower take for The Weeknd and provides a soft, calming sound that just makes you want to sing along. “Six Feet Under” is one of those songs that puts you in the mood to dance and get excited. Finally, the reason I like his song “Reminder” is because it sounds the most like his old music and is a song to all of his haters. I’d definitely recommend this album to anyone!
La La Land is a movie musical made for dreamers. It’s here to inspire, and put a whimsical smile on your face. With its old fashioned musical feel it’s a movie spectacular that left me mesmerized. As a big fan of movie musicals such as Grease, Singing in the Rain and Across the Universe I knew going into this film that it would be right up my alley. Trust me when I say I am not exaggerating my words that this movie truly took my breath way. A movie like this only comes once in awhile and is a treasure to see in theatres.
The movie follows the story of Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), their relationship to each other, and reaching their goals out in the land of dreams, Los Angeles. Both of our protagonists have their own dreams, Mia, an actress, wants to be a star and, Sebastian, a jazz musician, wishes to open his own club. The movie follows them as they both try and fail and succeed their way through this fantastical tale.
Though both characters have different dreams I think most people would be able to relate to their stories for the simple fact that we all have tried to reach our eventual goals that we have clung to all our lives. It’s the strive to do what we love and to reach that. It’s the thing that our heart has desired to do since we were young. And I think that anyone watching this movie would notice that and be able to relate to it. I certainly felt that way. I came out of the theatre feeling refreshed and inspired to get back on track with achieving my dream. So if you’re a believer, or you just love musicals then I would recommend you go, spend an evening being taken away by this wonderfully stunning film. It awakens the dreamer in us all.
This year I was lucky enough to attend WE Day 2016 in Toronto.
Now for those who may not be familiar with WE Day it is a youth empowerment event in the style of a concert that is put on by Me to We and Free the Children. It features many speakers and musical artists who all use their stories and talents to inspire 20,000 or so youth in the Air Canada Centre. With musical performances from the likes of Jason Derulo and Gord Downie as well as speeches of empowerment and awareness of Canada’s history and future, it was a concert like no other.
Here’s a video that will help describe a little more about the event:
Like the video said, you can’t buy a ticket to WE Day. It is earned through your school and the work you do to support Me to We and Free the Children.
This was not my first time attending WE Day. Back in 2010 I was fortunate enough to attended for the first time in Vancouver. I found myself so inspired and it gave me a love and connection to the organization and the work that they do. So when I was faced with the offer to go again this year, I was ecstatic. I remember being so moved the first time, that the idea of going again and getting to hear more speeches and be influenced to think about some more important topics that I hadn’t thought about before was fantastic.
On the subject of important topics I hadn’t really thought about before, there was one that really touched me deeply that made me think hard about it and continue to. There was a section of the performance that they really focused on Canadian history and the upcoming 150th anniversary of Canada, and during that part, one of the main points was about reconciliation. The section started and was led by Gord Downie and the project that he was working on called “The Secret Path.” They told us about the story of Chanie Wenjack, a young native boy who died while trying to get back to his family from the reformation school that he was being kept at. Gord did this through song, speech and video as well as bringing along Chanie’s sister Pearl Wenjack. Pearl also did a short speech before singing a song in her native language. The atmosphere at this moment was intense. The whole stadium felt moved. It definitely left an impact as it is the thing I have been telling people about since.
This is an experience that will stay with me forever. It was a life changing event that has inspired me to help change the world and I am so grateful for being able to attend. If you ever get to go I would say: take the chance to be inspired. For we all can be the change.
So, my latest fascination has been with FitBit and all the wonders that come with it. I bought my first FitBit towards the end of May and was honestly overjoyed with the knowledge it gave me and the way it worked. Now, I’m not an overly athletic person, so one would think: why would I need a FitBit? However, I certainly have noticed that since the beauty graced my wrist, I have been making an effort to in fact be more active and reach my goal of 10,000 steps.
One of the fun things about FitBit is it tracks your information and logs it to your online account and allows you to connect and challenge your friends (and well, who doesn’t love a good competition that strives to make you more active?).
There are many different styles of FitBit to choose from, ranging from ones intended for the not so athletic person to the highly athletic person. To make sure that you get the best tracker for your lifestyle, FitBit has developed a quiz you can take to place you with the tracker that best suits your needs. I think this is super cool because the company wants you to get the tracker that you will personally get the most use out of and not confuse you with unnecessary items.
Some features I really enjoy about my FitBit (which is the Charge HR), is the sleep tracking capabilities. I admit it is kind of weird having a watch that knows how well you’ve slept, but it does come in handy when I’m trying to figure out why I’m so tired after sleeping all night. Another feature I enjoy about my tracker is that this one tells time, (because not all of them do). It’s super nice to have a tracker and watch all in one and not have to wear a watch and a tracker. But that might just be me. If you want to go for as many bracelets on your arm as possible, then you go for it and you do you.
Another thing I also really enjoy about FitBit is the understanding and kind people they have working in customer support. I learned this through personal experience after my original FitBit tracker broke, and they were kind enough to replace it for me free of charge. They were also really fast with their replies to my emails. So I was super pleased and impressed with the thoughtfulness and care that were put into fixing my problem and making me go from being sad and upset to overjoyed in less than a day.
Speaking from the perspective of the teenage girl that I am, I love wearing my FitBit and being asked about it, because it makes me feel sporty even when I’m not really as sporty as I used to be. So if you’re looking for a simple way to motivate yourself to get active, I highly recommend using a FitBit and challenging your friends and family to out step you.
Hashtag Hope is an internet outreach program focused on spreading the idea that there is still hope in this life and that you are important and loved. Hashtag Hope is all about sharing the stories of the people on their team so that others know that they aren’t the only ones who feel like this. Hashtag Hope is there for support. Their message is “it’s ok to not be ok” and that speaks to me personally in so many ways.
Maybe sometimes you can't see it. And most times you can't feel it. But it's unconditional, and there for you. It's patient, kind and beyond all understanding. It's within you and outpouring from you. You need only be still. You are loved today and everyday, that will never change , it will never fade. #Hope
Hashtag Hope is on many different platforms of social media. They have an Instagram account where they post heartfelt pictures as well as uplifting messages, and on their Twitter the tweets are inspiring and caring. Their blog is all of the above wrapped up into one.
I first heard of Hashtag Hope in 2014 when I was up in Muskoka Woods for a youth retreat. One night I was handed a little business card-like thing that said “you are not a wasted life.” Since I got that card, I look at it every day and it reminds me that I was made for a reason. I am in love with Hashtag Hope because it works. It gives me, and many others like me, hope. This organization was built by hurting people and was made to help others like them. It’s truly amazing to me how some people care so much about others’ well-being that they are willing to open up to strangers and share their story.
“‘I think about killing myself almost every day and sometimes more…. And you see these people walking by??’ I paused and watched the madness of foot traffic on the street. ‘I know that many of these people do as well. And that is why I started Hashtag Hope.’” –Nicholas Pegg creator of Hashtag Hope.
I guess that’s one of the reasons why I find Hashtag Hope so inspiring – just thinking of all of the bravery it took to start it is incredible. It takes a lot of courage to speak about your own life – I’m not sure I could do it.
“Using topics about darkness to talk about light” is what Hashtag Hope does. The truth is that’s what all of us should be doing. We should be trying harder to eliminate the stigma that surrounds the topics of self-harm as well as depression. We should all learn how to confront and deal with these things so that we can be a bigger help to those in need. That’s one of the reasons why Hashtag Hope is such a great thing to me – because maybe its part of the first step to helping people in need.
Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector
Nowadays cats are all the rage, and what better way to contribute to said rage than with an app that lets you collect virtual cats? This app is called Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector and it is incredible. I am a giant fan of this app, and a lot of my friends are too. In this app, you are given a yard where you can place different toys and accessories to attract cats that you can buy in the store for fish (the currency in the game).
This game is full of surprises as different items bought in the store attract different types of cats. The real kicker is the cats won’t show up if you are always on the app so you have to close it and periodically check back in. I guess that’s how they get you to keep coming back. Now, I think the goal of the game is to collect all of the cats, but it is unclear since the game was originally all in Japanese.
The app was first released in October 2014 and was developed by Hit-Point and is available on iOS and Android devices. I personally love this game because of the cute animations as well as the push to beat my friends by collecting all of the cats before them. One thing about the game that I really like is that you can change the name of the cat after you have “collected” it.
I would recommend this game to people because of all the fun I’ve had with it. Sure it can get a little boring because you can’t really interact with your cats, but I like the challenge of collecting all the cats. Also, every once in a while, one of your cats will bring you a memento and you collect those as well and they are adorable. Have I mentioned this game is adorable? Because it is.
What are better than virtual cats? Real ones! However, if you can’t get real cats, virtual ones are a close second, which is why Kitty Collector is the app for you. It’s like practice for my future of being a cat lady! So it’s great!
One Direction released their fifth studio album on November 13, 2015, titled Made in the A.M., and it is nothing short of wonderful. This album has a brand-new sound for the four lads still in the group. Being the first album released after the devastating departure of band member Zayn Malik, the boys created a new sound for themselves.
This album is jam-packed with amazing music that will make you fall in love with the band. The songs on the album are very catchy and different from their past albums. This album is different because I find that most of the songs are a bit mellower and laid-back from their previous albums. I personally love this album and all of the songs on it!
My two favourites on this album are probably “Love You Goodbye” and “I Want to Write You a Song”. These are probably two of the more slow songs on the album. “Love You Goodbye” is a song about a break up, and the words just speak to anyone who’s been through a situation like that. The lyrics say what so many people think while going through a break up but never have the courage to say. “I Want to Write You a Song” is such a sweet and adorable song that I fell in love with it the first time I heard it. The lyrics are so adorable and just give me all of the feels whenever I listen to it. The song is about loving a girl so much and wanting to do everything that they can for her. Even though these two are my favourite songs the entire album is super-incredible and all of the songs are equally as beautiful.
Moving forward my heart is a bit broken because of the hiatus that the band is currently on, however I have complete trust that after this year is up they will come back as promised and rock everyone’s world. If the boys don’t come back from their hiatus I’m not sure what I would do the boys have been such a large part of my life for the past five years and needless to say “we got a whole lot of History” — One Direction.
Meet our kids' panel: a savvy group of kids with a strong point of view about the media and the culture they consume. Culturally diverse, a range of age and interests, they'll provide you with an insight into kids' media ... what works, what doesn't and why. Check back often for new reviews. We think you'll be inspired!