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Emagine-Nation Loves Google!

by Wanda Taylor

Helping your kids search safely!

Google Safe Search + Custom Safe Search = Peace of Mind

Are you tired of needing a masters degree to understand parental control software?  Are you tired of knowing that your kids know more than you do about technology and that they are using it to get around conventional safety methods?  Are you tired of worrying about your kids being exposed to content that is not only not age appropriate BUT could also be harmful?  Surveys continually show that computer security is a top priority for parents and educators everywhere.  Knowing what is needed is different than knowing what to do about it or even how to implement the comprehensive set of solutions.  While safe search does not replace proper parental or educational supervision, Emagine-Nation.com has spent 7 years figuring out how to make your job easier and your kids safer.

Content filtering is a complex issue.  How does one tell the difference between the "sex of an amphibian" and it's "gender"?  Does your child know the difference when they craft a search query?  While computers are wonderful learning tools, they can expose kids to dangers like unwanted content and inappropriate contact from adults through the internet.    What are some of the ways that kids run into trouble trying to search information?

  • Explicit content exposed unintentionally or intentionally.
  • Explicit photos and videos.  Do you know that once a child gets on YouTube that they are free to look at the millions of unfiltered videos offered?
  • Inaccurate and personal information shared about others and to others (as in cyber-bullying).
  • Clicking on ads that contain malware and adware.

How can you teach your kids to recognize safety issues when searching for content?

  • Beware of "free" products or services.  Remember to teach them that things are rarely free and often require personal information.
  • Boxes or words that say "ad" or "advertisement". 
  • Adult-oriented graphics such as alcohol, diet pills, sexually suggestive figures.
  • "Pop-ups" - windows that appear suddenly and are unrelated to the content.  Avoid popups.
  • Strobe and animated effects.  These are designed to catch their attention for sales purposes or to capture personal information.
  • Automated downloads or words that say "Download Now".  Teach them to ask you about it before they click to download.

What we did about it.

Emagine-Nation.com uses Google Safe Search for Kids.  In addition, we have assembled thousands of hand-selected sites approved one-by-one for safety and age appropriateness.  When your child attempts to go to a place they shouldn't, search for something that you wouldn't approve of, or search for something that isn't age appropriate, they will see a "content cop" that warns them that they are unable to see their search content or go to a site they've requested.  We have set the filtering to the highest degree of security and continue to monitor for keywords that might otherwise slip through.  Vigilance is our goal and our highest priority. 

What you can do about it.

Educate your child about the dangers of the internet.  Have the "cyber talk".  But, more importantly, teach them about safe access, safe search, and safe inquiry.  Register and download the Emagic8r, Emagine-Nation.com's kid-friendly, safe and secure browser, search engine, social networking site, and virtual world.  Let us help you keep your kids safe.

Please feel free to tell us what you think or what your stories are about keeping your kids safe.

Go to www.emagine-nation.com and sign up for our pre-launch mailing list.  We are giving away prizes, free memberships and other goodies if you sign up by 12/1/13.

 


A million thanks!

by Wanda Taylor

A million times thank you to those that supported our crowdfunding campaign!

Though we did not raise all that we expected, we are enormously grateful for those that contributed.  Your Perks will be coming your way soon.  In the meantime, please know that we have continued in the social networking development and our Cyber Monday, December 2nd, 2013 Launch will still happen.  If you intended to contribute, you still have till midnight.  You can do so by going to http://campaign.emagine-nation.com

For those that contributed, you will be featured on our site as well as receiving your Perks.  We have some pretty awesome partnerships coming onboard; so, we're hoping you'll enjoy the public acknowledgement.  We know you contributed because you believed in us and this project.  And, more importantly, we know you understand and believe in kids everywhere. 

From our heart to  yours, THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 


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It's Personal...and it's coming to an end

by Wanda Taylor

 Our campaign at http://bit.ly/HkU8N9 is almost over....

 It's been a fast 60 days.  We just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has supported our crowd funding campaign, both financially and through sharing.  Your generosity and support has meant the world to us.

 

With 6 days left, we are not there yet...

We've clearly not met our goal.  We guess it was a little ambitious.  We are proceeding with the completion of the social networking part of Emagine-Nation.com, anyway, and we will still be launching on Cyber Monday, December 2, 2013.  Please watch for the launch and perhaps follow us on www.emagine-nation.com or on Facebook. 

 Please consider...

...reviewing our campaign at Indiegogo and see why we believe this is a project worth investing in.  If you agree, we would appreciate whatever you can do to help.  Donations start at $1.00.  If you have been thinking that you have time, the time might be now.  And, please remember our contest for the free $100 visa card.  Here is the link to the terms and conditions:  http://bit.ly/1aKJ2ru

We still believe...

...in kids' rights to a safe and secure world to live, play, learn, and earn in and in parents' rights to the confidence that they can give kids the power of the internet within the safety that they deserve.  We believe that our friends, colleagues, educators, and partners care about this cause and care about education. 

 For those that have supported us...

...get ready for your Perks!  Coming soon!

 Thanks, again!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Show Your Child How to Dream....because "It's Personal!"

by Wanda Taylor

Dream....

I remember being 17 with unshakable ideals, values, and dreams.  I remember being part of the 60's revolution with our social consciousness music that continues to today.  I remember watching with my friends on a Sunday night when the Viet Nam draft lottery balls were dropping and praying that my boyfriend and other friends weren't going.  And, I remember the ones that didn't come back only too well.  I also remember dreaming that somehow I could make a difference in this world.  I wasn't quite sure how or why or when.  I just knew I was here for a reason. Still believe that.

I remember listening to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and being moved to tears.  I remember wondering why color should make a difference.  I remember debating the concept that women have a right to their own bodies.  And, I remember dreaming about my speech on Academy Award night. 

I remember my grandmother's unshakable faith and her humming "The Haven of Rest".  I remember family reunions big enough for 3 football teams....back then when children said "yes, ma'am" and "no ma'am".  I remember reading a book so deeply that everything around me faded into nothing.  I remember Elvis Presley and that gorgeous, soulful voice.

I had dreams then.  Big dreams.  At 60, I find myself reviewing them and being amazed at how my life has turned out.  About 7 years ago, I had a dream that kids could learn from each other by connecting on this vast internet highway in safety and security.  I had a dream that traditional education could shift and become more practical to daily living.  I had a dream that curiosity and imagination could change everything, with hard work and discipline.  I had a dream that learning could be fun AND productive.  I had a dream that kids could co-create their reality with wonderful guides called teachers.

Now I watch in amazement as we argue in Washington about, well, everything.  I watch how this country is paralized in apathy, powerlessness, and hunger for something beyond ourselves.  I look for clarity from the wise and find that we don't treat our seniors much better than we treat ourselves.  I look for the wisdom that is in the heart and face of young people and I see anger, fear, and apathy.  Not all of them; but, certainly a lot of them.  Where is their voice?  Why are we not listening?  Did anyone listen to us so long ago?  Have we become what we warned ourselves about?  Have we left this world a better place for them?  Can they survive us?

This video is a reminder that dreams are possible, if we only choose to believe.  The hard part, I think, is to never give up even in the face of, what appears to be, unbelievable odds.  Can we teach our children to find their place in this world and dream in ways that we used to?  And, more importantly, can we help them form connections with each other...across boundaries, across oceans, and across cultural boundaries? 

We hope so; because, that's our dream.  Enjoy the video.  If you want to be a part of this digital revolution, even if you don't understand it, please consider contributing to http://campaign.emagine-nation.com and by sharing this post and our site.

Thank you for taking this journey with us.  Please let us hear from you.

 

 

 


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Kids and Social Media...It's Personal!

by Wanda Taylor

"By the time they are 2 years old, more than 90% of American kids have an online history." 

"At 5, more than 50% regularly interact with a computer or tablet device, and by 7 or 8, many kids regularly play video games. Teenagers text an average of 3,400 times a month. The fact is, by middle school, our kids today are spending more time with media than with their parents or teachers, and the challenges are vast: from the millions of young people who regret by high school what they've already posted about themselves online to the widely documented rise in cyberbullying to the hypersexualization of female characters in video games." (reported by CNN, May 21, 2012)

 Facebook and 7.5 million kids...

Consumer Reports reported last year that more than 7.5 million American kids under the age of 13 have joined Facebook, which technically requires users to be 13 years old to open an account. No one has any idea of what all of this media and technology use will mean for our kids as they grow up.  How is this happening with parents' consent?  We can only believe that adults are unaware of the dangers that kids face by connecting in a world with predators at a time when they tend to feel "invincible".  Have the "tech talk" with your kids and make sure they understand not to post pictures with identifying addresses, not to use "stalker software" in the name of posting where they physically are at all times, and, most of all, never revealing their personal information.

We cannot say it any better...

Chelsea Clinton and James Steyer have written an awesome article about Kids and Social Meda.  They are currently studying the effects of social media on kids.  They report that "Our new world of digital immersion and multitasking has affected virtually everything from our thought processes and work habits to our capacity for linear thinking and how we feel about ourselves, our friends and even strangers. And it has all happened virtually overnight."

For the complete article, please click here: 

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/21/opinion/clinton-steyer-internet-kids/index.html

We have to do a better job of guiding this process.  Won't you check us out at www.emagine-nation.com or conribute to our crowdfunding campaign at http://campaign.emagine-nation.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovate, Collaborate, and Create....It's Personal!

by Wanda Taylor

     Now THIS is what kids can do!

For a long time we have known that kids, when given the opportunity, will collaborate in amazing ways using their imagination, their creativity, and their belief that they can. 

Co-creating Content

Kids are no longer willing to have content delivered to them by teachers attempting to impart their knowledge.  Eistein said, "I have never taught a single student.  I have simply provided the environment for them to learn."  Our roles as educators are changing.  It is our job to facilitate the process, provide the guided exploration, and insure their safety as they co-create content and engage with the learning process....their learning process.

Find out what we're doing...

We are NOT creating just another world or bundling independent applications for kids to play or learn with.  We ARE creating an environment where applications, features, and learning quests are linked together to provide a place for kids to learn, have fun, and get stuff done.

Won't you check it out and be a part of the opportunity?

 http://campaign.emagine-nation.com

 

Cyber-Bullying....It's Still Personal!

by Wanda Taylor

Cyber-Bullying is Very Personal!

Cyber-Bullying has been described as "using computers, cell phones, and other technologies to hurt, scare, or embarrass other people."  It can be overt or it can be extremely subtle to others, though very personal to the victim.

According to BullyingStatics.org, there is a very strong link between bullying and suicide.  "Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC.  For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts.  Over 14% of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7% have attempted it. 10 to 14 year old girls may be at an even higher risk for suicide.  And, according to ABC News, 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying."

What are the symptoms?

  • Giving away personal items and saying goodbye to people.
  • Expressing that they "can't take it anymore".
  • Showing signs of depression, changes in sleep or eating habits, and withdrawal.
  • Excessively looking, and getting upset over, internet posts.
  • Excessive crying or a complete lack of emotion.

What can you do about Cyber-Bullying?

Start by understanding the technology tools that your children use.  Become familiar with how often they use them and how they gain access to them.  Pay attention to what they are saying or not saying.  To do this, you might need to slow your life down enough to engage with your children in ways that promote communication.  Discuss bullying and cyber-bullying.  Make sure that you explain the dangers of the internet.  Be clear with them that they do not ever know who they are actually engaging with in their chats, email, etc.  Just as you would teach them to go to an adult or an adult authority if they were physically being threatened, teach them that the same holds true on the internet.  Take all threats seriously - better to be safe than sorry. Talk to the school and district about their cyber and campus policies about bullying and safety.  And, most important, ASK THEM if it is happening to them or someone they know.

Plenty of Resources to Guide You:

Here are a few links to get you started:

What are we doing at Emagine-Nation.com about Cyber-Bullying?

First, we are an educational resource site for parents, educators, and kids.  Secondly, we take any type of predators seriously and have spent 7 years designing safe browsing and searching, as well as creating very strict social networking features.  We encourage collaboration and engagement within a safe and secure browser and virtual world.

Won't you help us complete this mission...

We would appreciate a donation to help us with this mission.  If you want to see what we're all about, please check out our campaign at http://campaign.emagine-nation.com.  We hope that you will get involved by donating.  In addition, we would appreciate it if you would share this post, our campaign, and our site to stimulate the conversation and education about this topic and others because "it's still very personal."

 

Every 8 seconds it gets very personal!

by Wanda Taylor

"Every 8 seconds during the school year, a public high school student drops out."  State of America's Children Handbook

"Every second and a half during the school year, a public school student receives an out-of-school suspension.  Based on 180 school days of seven hours each, calculations show that 2,923,895 students received one or more out-of-school suspensions."  Hmmm...

So, how is that personal?  

Because in this global economy, we are 6th in per-capita education expenditures but 31st in math scores, 23rd in science scores, and 17th in reading scores.  And, those scores include developing nations! 

How else is it personal?

Because we are 1st in number of billionaires and 1st in number of persons incarcerated.  We are 1st in gross domestic product and 1st in per-capita health expenditures.  We are worst in relative child poverty; worst in adolescent birth rates (ages 15 to 19); worst in divorce rates, worst in lifetime use of cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco; and worst in protecting our children against gun violence.

 So, what's the good news?

We know the statistics.  That's it.  We know the truth, which is the only thing that can set us on another path.  What we do about the statistics is what will define us.  It's not about the numbers, it's about education. 21st century skills are required to keep this nation on a global track.  What are those skills?  Creativity and Innovation; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving; Communication and Collaboration; Information Literacy; Media Literacy; ICT Literacy; and Life and Career Skills.  So, the good news?  That's just what we're focused on at Emagine-Nation.com!

Please join use in our quest to bring 21st century skills to our kids.

Please check us out at http://campaign.emagine-nation.com.  Please consider teaching your kids that education and learning don't have to be separate things.  Thanks!!

 

Wanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Founder's Blog

It's Personal....it's very personal!

by Wanda Taylor

Dear Readers,

We have launched a crowd funding campaign which has led to a lot of insights about human nature.  We have been surprised by the responses we've received and the ones that we have not received.  Friends and family members that we believed would have supported us, haven't.  Friends and those that we don't even really know well have.  We felt that starting the campaign with just $1.00 would give people a chance to give back or to support a worthy cause.  We have been shocked to find that people that we've contributed to in their lives don't even seem to have a dollar to support us or the cause.

So, we asked ourselves, "What in the world is this campaign showing us?"  We know that there are few organizations that really contemplate children's vulnerabilities on the internet, much less spend 7 years looking at the issues around children, the internet, internet safety, and the impact of social media on kids.  So, if the problem seems to be so obvious, why aren't more people, and especially those that we thought cared about causes such as this, or at least cared about the work we do, willing to become a part of the project as a way of doing something to help?

Obviously we can't read minds.  And, as we studied this campaign and reached out for feedback, we came up with a few conclusions such as these:

  • some people care about us but not about what we're doing
  • some people care but don't understand this problem
  • some people understand the problem but really don't care enough to get involved
  • some people care but don't believe they can make a difference
  • some people seem to be apathetic, feel overwhelmed and feel powerless when looking at any problem larger than their immediate life
  • and, some people just don't make the connection

With only 30 days left and $123,567 shy of our goal, we have a steep hill to climb.  Are we going to finish this project?  Yes, we are.  Why?  Because, now that we know what our kids are facing, there is no other choice.  Do we need help?  Yes, we do.  Can you still help?  Yes, you can.  How?  Obviously, we would appreciate a donation since it starts at just $1.00.  And, equally as important is our need for getting some viral information out so that we can speed this conversation up by sharing and sharing and sharing.  Talk about this, if you do not choose to donate.  We don't care if the conversation reflects pleasure or displeasure with our campaign.  Please just talk about the current state that our kids face today.

There is a quote, "all that is required for evil to exist is for good men to do nothing."

For the next 30 days, I will be posting some information about this topic in hopes of making this campaign personal.  I choose to believe in the kindness and generosity in people.  I choose to believe that it's not that people don't care.  It's that they don't understand.  So, my attempt will be to help people understand why this is very personal.

State of America's Children as reported by the Child Defense Fund

Here are just a few facts about "other" people's children in America:

  • There are 16.4 million poor children in rich America, 7.4 million living in extreme poverty. 
  • Children under five are the poorest age group in America.  
  • One in four infants, toddlers and preschoolers are poor during the years of greatest brain development. 
  • A majority of public school students and more than three of four Black and Hispanic children, who will be a majority of our child population by 2019, are unable to read or compute at grade level in the fourth or eighth grade and will be unprepared to succeed in our increasingly competitive global economy."

Why is that personal?  Beyond the obvious, from a humanitarian position, these same children are sitting next to your children, that is unless your child is home schooled or in a private school.  We don't want to say the things that are not politically correct; but, we will anyway. These kids often lack stimulation, or even the basic nutrition, to ensure that their brain is functioning properly and developing as it should.  While kids are enormously resilient, if we all are not telling the truth about this brain drain in America and saying it out loud, it will not be properly addressed.  We know what is required for development; but, we still push the wrong things.  Rote memory is often difficult for kids with short term memory issues and processing deficits.  We require them to memorize stuff that they could look up in a matter of seconds.  We hang on to old values and principles in a paradigm that clearly is broken.  We are requiring that schools offer alternative methods of distance learning; but, we don't prepare students for that.  We talk about kids "going outside and playing more" as we hand them the iPad.  Don't get us wrong.  We are FOR technology.  But, more importantly, we are for understanding how the world has changed, how we should step up and guide their process in that change, and about what creates a healthy connection.  

Over the next 30 days, I will talk to you about the state of our kids in America today; which, of course, includes the state of our educational system.  We hope that you will take this journey, gain more knowledge, and find a way to step in.  Our kids need it.  They need us.  Because, it's very personal.

Thanks for listening.  But, more importantly, thanks for getting involved.

Wanda


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Founder's Blog

Emagine-Nation.com Launches Pre-Registration!

by Wanda Taylor

Emagine-Nation.com Launches Registration!

After nearly 7 years, Emagine-Nation.com has launched its pre-registration site for the upcoming May 4th, 2013 launch!

Registrants can get their very own Passport to Your Emagine-Nation by logging into www.emagine-nation.com and launching the registration page. Members can sign up as parents, kids, and educators. Parents are encouaged to register their child(ren) with them present as they will be able to customize their avatar and pick out their avatar name right then.

 

Passport to Your Emagine-Nation.com!

If kids are under 13, an email will be sent to their parents asking them to verify their registration and participation.  Kids will earn 5 Tribets (Emagine-Nation's online currency) for registering.  They can return each day to earn more by taking a Room Tour-of-the-Day, an Adventure-of-the-Day, and playing a Game-of-the-Day.  They will also receive a Quote-of-th-Day.  Tribets can be used at launch to create and customize each member's personal room, further customize their avatar, and unlock games and activities.

Kids over 13 will not need their parent's permission.  And, educators are also invited to sign up in order to take advantage of all the resources included in the site specifically for educators, such as lesson plans, websites, webquests, and more. 

Registraion Link:  www.emagine-nation.com

 

Security and Safety Features

Emagine-Nation.com has been designed and developed by licensed school psychologists, mental health counselors, certified educators, and academic coaches.  We researched the privacy and safety issues that kids, parents, and educators face today.  We interviewed kids to find out how they were getting around parental controls, school firewalls, and other monitoring systems.  We went to the source and designed an infrastructure and enviornment unparalleled in safety. 

Some of our features include:

  • safe search with content filtering
  • secure browser
  • internet application blocking with parental code access
  • video, picture, and file sharing controls, parental approval, and administrative approval
  • friend requests approved by parents
  • whitelist of educator-approved websites with parental ability to approve and add to whitelist (site grows as parent and children use it)
  • in-world site linking only (they can't get there from here by clicking on an ad, YouTube video, or other external link)
  • chat and group chat moderation
  • and more

Parents Don't Need a Doctorate in Parental Controls!

Kids know what to do.  And, even if parents are protecting their kids with at-home computer monitoring, kids access the internet at school other friends' houses, on their tablets, and on their phones.  Access is almost impossible to lock down unless parents download and use Emagine-Nation.com as their child's sole browser, search engine, and virtual world to play in.  We've designed it to be easy to use - we've already done all that work for you. 

Register today for Emagine-Nation.com, where your kids can have fun and get stuff done!

 

Watch our Launch Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Keep up to date with innovations in education with our Founder's Blog!

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About the author

Wanda Taylor, MCC, is the CEO and creative designer of Emagine-Nation.com. With over 23 years of experience in the world of learning, education, psychology, and technology, Wanda knows the value of curiosity, imagination, and discovery learning.  Follow Wanda and see why she believes that Emagine-Nation changes everything!

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