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A Gadget-free Day a Week for Children?

You know that moment when you realise that a business of enterprise has turned the wrong corner and is staring a decline, even if people don’t all accept it yet?

Tescos may well be one such conglomerate, simply because they have forgotten that their first concern should be customer service. Anyway, ITV could be the next.

‘It Means So Much To Me’

Only programmes like The X Factor and Downton Abbey have kept ITV buoyant, yet there is in the air a feeling that rivals, especially newbies, are out to get them and they are faster, sleeker, more cunning and cheekier than the old guard.

The tired, creaking X Factor looks set to get a welcome jolt from an unexpected corner. hashtagYappfactor is designed to hijack audience from the TV prog. It will not air as separate programme as such, but will simply grab comments from Twitter while X Factor is on and mix them with ‘acerbic, tongue-in-cheek observation’ from comedian Jake Yapp.

This is classic second screener activity. People watch TV, simultaneously comment on social media about what they are watching and then it is mashed up by a third media stream.

Well, actually, it’s third screener stuff!

My Space Again?

Back from the dead early social network pioneer MySpace is being given a makeover as owners try to recoup their investment.

It was bought by Specific Media for $35m, having been valued once at $12 bn. Even when News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch’s corporate empire owned it, they paid $100m for the site that had hundreds of millions of users.

Today it has officially 50m users, but there could be fewer in reality.

Now the site is to link with rivals like Facebook and tap into its historical reserves as it was originally a space for new bands to build fan bases and share music. Justin Timberlake has a stake in Specific Media and is keen to see the project turn a profit.

It will be an interesting business study to see if the name is just too old-fashioned now to make a re-launch a viable proposition.

Facebook Hassle

Still in the social network minefield, Crown Court Judge Nigel Gilmour has claimed that the courts are seeing more conflicts which start on Facebook.

He said people post things online that they wouldn’t say in person, and arguments can become ‘disgraceful, juvenile behaviour’ as he sentenced a 17 year old for biting off part of a friend’s ear in a row that began on Facebook.

Only last month another judge, Joti Bopa-Rai commented in passing sentence on a man who’d drunkenly punched a woman in the face after a violent exchange of messages, that ‘Facebook is causing more hassle than anything else these days.’

And as if to prove his point, a patient in a Welsh hospital took photos of an elderly patient in a nearby bed and posted what her family described as ‘insulting, rude and offensive’ comments about her breaking wind.

And in Lancashire thieves ‘befriended’ a disabled man on Facebook which allowed them access to his address where they locked him in his bedroom while they stole cash and jewellery.

And today, a 19 year old from Lancashire is starting a 12 week prison term for posting ‘abhorrent’ and derogatory remarks about murdered child April Jones on Facebook.

With Facebook ‘friends’, who needs enemies?

Gadget-free Days

People are, of course, addicted not only their social media but equally to their electronic devices. Another interesting survey on that subject will strike a chord among older people.

Capri Sun discovered by research that around half of parents insist on at least one gadget-free day every week from the kids.

This is to open up more healthy, outdoor and inevitably more traditional activities, games, hobbies and interests, including playing together. This in turn builds teamwork/co-operation, negotiation, problem solving and risk management skills, in a way that dependence on the web and devices does not do.

Few parents would argue with the theory behind that. Rigorous exercise is largely absent in an outdoor environment these days. And often parental role models of fresh air, simple and cheap family time are rarities.

In an ever-increasing complex, faster world where all the old boundaries disappear as soon as they are formed and parents are overall time-poor, what are they to do?

Hang on, there must be some suggestions online about what to do with the kids on a rainy Sunday afternoon….

Image: Nevit Dilmen