online

Online games are harming children through gambling and other features, say Lords

Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts

Online games are harming children through the inclusion of gambling and other features, according to a major new report.

Regulators should score new games on the amount of harm they could cause to children and any that score too highly must be not be approved for sale, the report from the House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry warns.

It recommends that the Gambling Commission establish the system for testing games, amid fears over the problems that “loot boxes” represent in encouraging children to gamble.

Experts have repeatedly warned that there is not enough protection for children from the feature, and that it could lead to gambling addiction and other societal problems if it is not tackled.

Current testing criteria of new games “astonishingly” do not consider the addictiveness or potential harm that could be caused, the Committee’s report said.

Read More

Pregnant women in abusive relationships face ‘jail sentences for buying abortion pills online’

200 GPs have signed up to provide abortion services in Ireland, but four counties are still without provision: Getty/iStock
200 GPs have signed up to provide abortion services in Ireland, but four counties are still without provision: Getty/iStock

Pregnant women trapped in abusive relationships who are too scared to get a termination at a clinic due to concerns their partner will find out could face jail sentences for buying abortion pills online, campaigners have warned.

Leading charities are urging the government to change the domestic abuse bill to protect pregnant women living with abusive partners.

A cross-party group of MPs is set to introduce an amendment to the landmark legislation which is currently going through through the House of Commons to decriminalise consensual abortion and bolster the law around non-consensual abortions.

Women living in the UK still face life in prison for an abortion at any stage of their pregnancy without getting the permission of two doctors – with campaigners noting this is “one of the harshest punishments in

Read More

USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes

USC students are being asked to stay home and continue their education online in the fall amid the coronavirus crisis. <span class="copyright">(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)</span>
USC students are being asked to stay home and continue their education online in the fall amid the coronavirus crisis. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Amid the alarming surge in coronavirus spread, USC announced it will no longer bring all undergraduates back to campus for the fall semester and will move to mainly online classes, reversing an earlier decision to welcome students back for a hybrid model.

The decision, announced by Provost Charles Zukoski late Wednesday night, came the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced tougher restrictions on indoor activities. Zukoski recommended that students not return to campus for the semester and instead continue their education online.

“The once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives — the way we interact, work, and socialize — and with each new permutation of the pandemic, we must find ways to thrive,” Zukoski wrote.

“Given the continuing safety restrictions and

Read More

Just 8% of colleges are keeping classes online this fall, but more may join them as coronavirus outbreaks surge. Here’s the list so far.

A graduate gets ready to pose for a picture at the empty campus of San Diego State University, after the California State University system announced the fall 2020 semester will be online, May 13, 2020.
A graduate gets ready to pose for a picture at the empty campus of San Diego State University, after the California State University system announced the fall 2020 semester will be online, May 13, 2020.

Mike Blake/Reuters

After a semester of remote courses and online graduations, some colleges and universities are deciding not to return for in-person classes this fall.

California State University, the largest four-year public university system in the US, has cancelled in-person classes for the fall semester at all 23 of its campuses. Instead, classes will take place almost exclusively online, Chancellor Timothy White announced in May.

“Our university, when open without restrictions and fully in person… is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity,” White said at the meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times. “That approach sadly just isn’t in the cards now.”

Six of Harvard’s graduate and professional

Read More

Missing dance shows? Sacramento Ballet debuts online ballet-of-the-month club

The Sacramento Ballet has created a virtual subscription to sustain the company while live performances remain forbidden due to the coronavirus. The subcription, called the Fanster Pass, is priced on a sliding scale from $10 to $75 per month and includes access to virtual performances and discounts on online dance classes.

The Sacramento Ballet temporarily shut its doors on March 14, as Northern California theaters and community groups canceled events in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Although several Sacramento-area movie theaters plan to reopen in July, live theater, musical performances and dance shows must remain online-only for the time being.

“We’re trying to figure out how to serve our community in this time because we can’t do it the traditional way,” said Amy Seiwert, the Sacramento Ballet’s artistic director. “We also tried to make it accessible.”

Seiwert said she doesn’t know when live shows with an audience

Read More

Data Reveals Millennials Are Increasing Online Spending

Click here to read the full article.

While 64 percent of Generation Z, 60 percent of Millennials, 58 percent of Generation X, and 63 percent of Baby Boomers reported reduced spending throughout the pandemic, Clutch’s latest research found spending decreases were found to have affected each generation differently. Millennials, the company said, have been seen shifting spending habits to consider present concerns rather than focusing on the future.

In the early weeks of the pandemic, the company’s survey showed 60 percent of Millennials were spending less overall, though spending more on groceries, alcohol, restaurants, and health and beauty. Cost savings and increases are in part due to wide restrictions put on lifestyles. In fact, 40 percent of Millennials reported having increased grocery expenses during the pandemic. However, the company also found Millennials are saving money due to travel restrictions. Twenty-three percent have canceled existing travel plans and an additional 32

Read More

Duke plans mass COVID-19 testing and mix of in-person and online classes this fall

Duke University is planning to bring students, faculty and staff back to campus in August with new safety precautions, including mass COVID-19 testing, adjusted classroom layouts and revised housing options in dorms and hotels.

The school also announced the plan for its student-athletes to return to campus, beginning with football players on July 12.

The news comes as state health officials say they are concerned about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases among younger adults.

“While the trends we see today are concerning,” Duke president Vince Price said in a statement, “we believe that the many safety precautions we are putting in place will allow us to responsibly continue along the path towards opening Duke’s fall 2020 semester on campus in August. We ask all members of the Duke community — students, parents, faculty and staff — to recognize and accept that we may need to change our plans based

Read More

Online or in the classroom, teachers and students must show up every day, new rules say

Observing physical distance, first-grade teacher Caitlin Hicks gives an air hug to Sid Solomon, 6, as she meets students one final time in June, when students pick up schoolwork left behind after Center Street Elementary in El Segundo closed in March. <span class="copyright">(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Observing physical distance, first-grade teacher Caitlin Hicks gives an air hug to Sid Solomon, 6, as she meets students one final time in June, when students pick up schoolwork left behind after Center Street Elementary in El Segundo closed in March. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

When it comes to education, the new state budget goes beyond providing $70.5 billion in funding for K-12 schools — it sets fundamental accountability rules for a new era of distance learning in California by requiring teachers to take online attendance and document student learning.

The budget bill, which Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign, anticipates that schools will continue to rely heavily on online instruction when campuses reopen in the fall. It also implicitly acknowledges the deep learning losses of the last semester, especially among students from low-income families, when school systems struggled to get all students online.

The new

Read More

Trump’s Twitch channel suspended, and Reddit bans pro-Trump online group

President Donald Trump and his followers took a double hit in online media Monday: Video streaming site Twitch suspended the president’s official channel, and popular website Reddit banned a group devoted to Trump.

Twitch, a video game-centric streaming site, suspended the official Donald Trump channel – launched in October 2019 – for violating its rules against hate speech. Among the violations were the rebroadcast of a presidential campaign rally in 2015, when Trump described immigrants crossing the border from Mexico.

“They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us,” Trump said. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

That video was removed, as well as the broadcast of Trump’s rally this month in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he described concerns about “a very tough hombre” breaking into homes.

Social media: Facebook, social networks under more pressure from

Read More

Online shopping a steep learning curve for Cuba

When Jorge Noris first tried online shopping, Cuban-style, the products he bought never turned up.

Like most people, the father of two living on the outskirts of Havana was seduced by the convenience of shopping over the internet.

However, Cuba’s catch-up with the world of e-commerce, encouraged by its communist rulers during the coronavirus lockdown, has left many users angry.

“After a month, the store called me to ask if the order had arrived,” said Noris, a 34-year-old technician. He was similarly stunned when he discovered he had to travel into the shop to be reimbursed.

Worldwide, the online food trade has been given a massive shot in the arm by the pandemic. With millions confined to their homes, online consumer activity soared by 300 percent in Italy and Spain, and 100 percent in France, according to pollsters Nielsen.

But the experience is still a novel one in Cuba where

Read More