The new horizon of democracy

The new horizon of democracy

“Today, it is not that unusual to hear of people talking about e-democracy.

It is a conventional term that describes an unconventional way by which citizens take directly part in the public life of their cities and countries.

E-democracy is an opportunity to reduce the gap between citizens and the government in the difficult field of communication. As a matter of fact, it widens the communicative horizon, in such a trying time when the only words seem to be ‘’walls’’ and ‘’borders’’.

An authentic democracy should give everyone the chance (and voice) to be heard and to participate in the public life, as well as take every opinion into account in order to try to do better and make the best choice for people.

The problem is that people feel the distance between the democratic institutions and themselves; conversely, e-democracy is a virtual space in which everyone can say ‘’I exist, I vote and I would like to take part to the ‘’decision making processes’’.

I think that e-democracy is the best way we could go. I have chosen this topic because it is a constantly evolving issue on which citizens like me should express their needs, and in my opinion, we have the right and the duty to do so.

In conclusion, it seems reasonable to assume that, although e-democracy, with its lights and shadows, is a hotly debated issue, it makes it possible to debate between different realities. In the light of that, hadn’t we better if we turned off the ‘’airplane mode’’ and start to get connected?”

Camilla Caciolo

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Digital addiction

Digital AddictionA group of students (age 16) at Hof Hasharon regional high school in Israel discussed the problem of “digital addiction”.

All students said they are “living in their smartphones” a lot of time every day, some of them many hours a day. Most of them would like to occupy themselves less with their screens. However, it was understood that it is not necessarily addiction in the clinical sense, but rather excessive preoccupation and difficulty in disconnecting. So the “addiction” actually refers to how the user copes when he or she needs to log out.

The crux of the problem is the difficulty of disconnecting, even though you know it would have been better to do something else. One student noted that his parents thought he was like a “clinical addict”. He was addicted to the Fortnite game, used to play for hours each day, and only after a severe pressure from his parents he now plays only on weekends. But most participants think that enforced restrictions and prohibitions are not effective. On the contrary, they achieve the opposite result, as young people will continue to do the prohibited things.

It was mentioned that parents often give a screen to children too early, when they are too young. The problem is not just health risk (to eyes, etc.). The problem is that we give up on social activity and that’s not good.

So how can young people cope with the problem? What can be done?

One student exclaimed “Revolution! Let’s start to boycott the phones! With time more people will join!” Another student expressed an opposite view: “I have no problem with such addiction. Being occupied with the screens is good for me. If wanted to stop, I would stop!

Other participants favored the solution of “voluntary disengagement” based on applications that automatically warn the user and recommend stopping after a certain time” Perhaps not the best solution, but better than nothing. A number of participants blamed the irresistible technology: developers want to to arouse excitement. That’s the goal. The apps give us something we need, excitement. “Everything now is fast and accessible, all is excitement, you cannot prevent it, it’s part of the progress!

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Real vs False information; Fake News

Summary of meetings with 10th graders, Hof Hasharon High School, Israel. First meeting: 20.1.2019. Second meeting: 3.2.2019. 22 students participated: 7 girls and 15 boys.

First meeting:

The issue is problematic due to the multiplicity of sources of information, especially in social networks. Some participants noted that in many cases the problem is not necessarily false information but information that is only partially true, or biased.

Some students think they have the ability to distinguish between true and false info, and some of them say they do not have such ability. Some participants said that they have the ability to distinguish between false and real information only in subjects known to them thanks to personal experience. One participant said that in his opinion, this is the only way to distinguish – even though not everyone can personally experience everything.

Therefore, another participant recommended that one should rely on the knowledge and personal experience of others.

Some participants said that the problem also exists in non-digital media (printed newspapers or television), and that it is not advisable to rely on journalists. They believe that most information in the media (any type of media) is either biased or only partially true.

With regard to the example of people avoiding vaccines due to the distribution of false information, one participant noted that there is also a positive aspect: this phenomenon may encourage the development of vaccines with fewer side effects.

Second meeting:

Participants were asked to express their opinion on the expected situation in 10 years. To this end, three alternative scenarios were presented for the year 2029:

1. Fake news are dominant. The majority of news is distorted, you cannot trust any source on the net.

2. Reliability of information on the Internet is guaranteed by new technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence) and other means.

3. People who were born and matured with the Internet know very well how to distinguish between real and false information.

Most students think that Scenario 1 is too extreme. They think that in the future a lot of information will be false, but not all of it. The majority may be false, but it is more likely to be about half – half.

Some students believe that the situation will be quite similar to the present situation.

Some students tend to agree, in part, with Scenario 2. They think reliability will increase, but it is not certain that reliability will really be guaranteed. It is possible that for a significant part of the news, perhaps for most of them, reliability will be indeed guaranteed by new technologies.

One participant believed there will be more trust in information thanks to technology, but not only because of technologies. The change for the better will also happen because more and more people will want to be able to check and verify.

One participant mentioned Wikipedia as a possible model for improving reliability. On Wikipedia all false things are filtered and corrected within a short time. It is possible to develop a kind of correction mechanism for news items.

Some participants think it is more likely that in the future there will be a combination of Scenarios 2 and 3. That is, there will be many more experienced people who can distinguish between real and false information, and also the new technologies will help to increase reliability. Overall, the ability to distinguish real information from false information will improve, mainly through cumulative experience. But it will never reach 100%.

Regarding Scenario 3, one of the students commented (contrary to the views expressed in meetings with other groups) that actually adults today have more experience than young people and can better distinguish between false and real information.

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Digital Addiction

Summary of meetings with 10th graders, Hof Hasharon High School. First meeting: 20.1.2019. Second meeting: 3.2.2019. 22 students participated: 7 girls and 15 boys. Each session lasted an hour and a half.

First meeting:

Most participants think that this is the most problematic issue related to online activities of young people. 

Implications: damage to social relations (lack of personal contacts, face to face), physical damage (mention was made, for example, to damage to eyes and joints). Participants also mentioned the waste of time involved in the phenomenon, time that would have been better to invest in other activities.

One of the students said that he was addicted to the Fortnite game. He was used to play for hours each day, and now he plays only on weekends (due to parents’ ban…), while others noted that such imposed restrictions were not a good solution.

Some of the students said that enforced restrictions and prohibitions are not effective. On the contrary, they achieve the opposite result, as young people will continue to do the prohibited things. He noted the importance of developing awareness of the problem.

Second meeting:

It was clarified that the intention was not necessarily addiction in the clinical sense, but rather excessive preoccupation and difficulty in disconnecting. (However, one student noted that his parents thought he was a “clinical addict”).

All students said they are “living in their smartphones” a lot of time every day. Most of them would like to occupy themselves less with their screens.

There was a discussion about “screen time”: there was a disagreement about the typical time devoted to screens, but most agree that it is hours per day. Some students are busy with their screens four hours a day, maybe even more.

One of the students noted that the criterion is not necessarily the time spent of “living in the screen”, but rather the manner in which “addiction” is expressed. This is how the user copes when he or she needs to log out. The crux of the problem is the difficulty of disconnecting, even though you know it would have been better to do something else. There are those who find it difficult to break away after 5 minutes, and there are those that have a difficulty to disconnect after an hour or more. The issue is how you cope with this. Is it easy or difficult for you to move to another activity?

Some of the participants noted that they are aware that their “screen time” is exaggerated and comes at the expense of something else they would like to do, but the problem is that it is very hard to disconnect. Students often cancel things in order to “be on screen” – for example, they sacrifice sleeping or watching TV.

One of the students said he saw youngsters in a restaurant with friends or family and instead of chatting they were stuck on the screen. He noted that he found it strange. As if the entertainment was being with a tablet and headphones. It seemed to him to be “over-addiction.” “With the iPad you have to be at home, not in a restaurant!”

It was mentioned that parents often give a screen to children too early, when they are too young. Several participants said that the problem is not just health risk (eyes, etc.). The problem is that we give up on social activity and that’s not good.

The question arises: How do you deal with the problem? What can be done?

Here are some comments made by the participants:

• Revolution! Decide with friends to boycott the phones, and so with time more people will join.

• You cannot make everyone boycott. You can ban half the people, maybe some of the time. Who will decide which people to boycott? I will!

• I have no problem with addiction.

• Being occupied with the screens is good for me. If wanted to stop I would stop.

• You have to turn off when entering social events or entertainment. For example, school trips should be without telephones.

• I know people who when they come to the restaurant leave the phones in a heap. Those who connect pay for everyone! But I am against this solution…

In response to the question, “do you accept that in certain circumstances it will be necessary to disconnect?” –  Most of the participants oppose coercion. Here are some comments:

• It is not good to force. And it is not good to preach. It should be voluntary. If you took the phone from someone he would want it even more.

• Voluntary disengagement can be based, for example, on applications that automatically warn the user and recommend stopping after a certain time. You define a certain time limit and the mobile alerts. The proposer was asked: As for yourself, do you follow the alert and stop, or  you give yourself an extension? Answer: Extension.  Question: So what’s the use of such an application? Answer: “It’s better than nothing….”

The participants were asked whether there is a role for education to address the issue. Answers:

• Education at school? No Comment.

• The problem is not only of children, but adults that are also addicted! My mother keeps telling me to hang up, but she herself does not hang up. She claims that this is for work… On the other hand, when you see that adults have a problem with disconnecting, it actually raises your awareness of the problem.

A number of participants related to the development of appropriate applications/technologies:

• Anyone who develops applications actually intends to arouse excitement. That’s the goal. The apps give us something we need, excitement. As long as we do eliminate this, it will never change. It’s a problem of the present time. Everything is fast and accessible, all is excitement, you cannot prevent it, it’s part of the progress!

• In response to a question about why this is different from quitting smoking cigarettes: it is impossible to compare. Cigarette is a product, connectivity is a general phenomenon. If everything becomes linked, it is impossible to prevent it. You can restrict certain things (like games), but not using a smartphone or the Internet in general.

• You need to focus on what you need and can limit, such as excessive gaming hours of small children, who can be harmed by this.

Possible addiction scenarios:

Participants were asked to express their opinion on the likely situation in 10 years from now. To this end, the following alternative scenarios were proposed (by the facilitator) for the year 2029:

1. The situation is grave. Most people are digitally-addicted. Many are hospitalized or suffer greatly because there is no proper treatment.

2. The problem has disappeared. Thanks to education and public campaigns, people have learned to find the right balance in their digital activity.

3. There is no problem at all, because the digital activity is perceive as the new normal, a “natural” condition, and is no longer considered an addiction.

Participants’ responses:

Some students think the situation will get worse. Maybe not everyone will be addicted, but much more than today.

Maybe technology will solve the problem of physical damage, such as eye damage.

It may be that in the future people will decide that this is not a problem. The children who do not see this as a problem will get older and will not treat it as a problem. More technology, more tampering with gadgets – would be considered normal.

Only one or two of the participants expect scenario 1 to be realized. It seemed too extreme to them. Some think there will be more “addicts”, but not the majority and it will not be that serious.

Most did not agree with Scenario 2. Most students tend to agree more with scenario 3. When asked whether other scenarios could materialize, there were no ideas.

We went back to discussing possible solutions.

• One of the students recommended automatic locking of some specific “addicting” applications, but not of tools such as Whatsapp used for communication. Again, this should be done willingly: “Compel voluntarily!”

• Technology should interact with people to improve social communication. It was mentioned that Facebook was originally meant for this, but it turned out that it actually increases loneliness. Facebook is not really human connection. One needs a technology that takes into account human needs, emotional needs. This should embedded in the technology itself.

• How can this be achieved? Any examples? Perhaps by using Virtual/Augmented Reality. This technology may enable more personal communication. Maybe using a hologram that feels like a real conversation. With the ability to meet together in a group. This seems like a difficult challenge for developers, not simple!

Several participants expressed the opinion that so far technology developers had missed this, and failed to cope with this challenge. Ostensibly, the existing technologies enable us to connect and play, but they do not meet a real human need. You can communicate with someone who is tens of kilometers away, but you end up being alone. Maybe developers think they know better what users want, but that is not necessarily true.

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SİBER ZORBALIĞIN ERGENLER ÜZERİNDEKİ ETKİSİ VE DEĞERLER

Teknolojinin hızlı gelişmesi ve yaygınlaşması, beraberinde birtakım problemler de getirmiştir. Bilhassa ergenler, bu gelişimin olumsuz anlamda en fazla etkilenen kesimi oluşturmaktadırlar. Vakitlerinin önemli bir kısmını internette harcayan gençler, siber zorbalıkta bulunma, siber zorbalığa maruz kalma gibi negatif yönde etkiler görmektedirler. Gençler arasındaki zorbalık ve şiddet eylemleri, artık sanal ortamlarda kendini göstermektedir. Dolayısıyla yapılan araştırmalarda, siber zorbalık mağdurları olan çocuklar ve ergenler psikolojik olarak sıkıntılar yaşadıkları saptanmıştır. Konsantrasyon problemi, okuldaki akademik başarısında düşüş, asosyallik, endişe, hüzün, kaygı, depresyon, intihar gibi eğilimlerin arttığı görülmektedir. Bu çalışmada, araştırma kapsamındaki lise öğrencilerinin siber zorbalık, siber mağduriyet ve insani değerlerinin kendi aralarındaki ilişkisi incelenerek, neler yapılabileceği hususunda öneriler sunulmuştur. İnceleme doğrultusunda, öğrencilerin siber zorbalık konusuna nasıl baktığı, bu konudaki düşüncelerinin neler olduğu, siber zorbalık yapıp yapmadığı, siber zorbalığa uğrayıp uğramadığı ve sonuçlarının neler olduğunu tespit etme amacı yönünde anket çalışması yapılmıştır.

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Fake News – true of false?

Children in Northern Ireland wanted to find out how do people know if Fake News is true or false. They collected samples of Fake News to design a survey to test out people’s responses. They collected responses from 230 people and the results were analysed and displayed on a results poster. They also developed a powerpoint outlining how they made a movie arounf Fake News. It was about a boy who set up a fake website and received lots of views. However he was caught by his father and his fake online world came to an end!

Objectives: 
To find out how people tell the difference between fake and real news

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Accessibility of higher education

The Students of the Tel Aviv Youth University – a project which enables periphery high-school students to take academic courses on the university – have explored the future society. Representing the young generation perspective, they pointed out dilemmas and issues that they’ll present as a challenge to the decision-makers, locally and globally.

The first phase was a journey of learning and researching various problems related to the current reality and the future of the Israeli society, through tours and lectures in a variety of subjects.Based on their “learning journey” and the attempt to explore different aspects of life in the future, the students have realized that education plays an important role in. They claimed that today there are many solutions that overcome distance problems and accessibility of higher education, but there is not enough publicity for them. They decided to try to find a solution.

During the second phase of the activity, the students received practical tools that enabled them to learn different ways to express their opinions, engage large audiences and reach decision makers like lectures about social activity, lobbying, media workshops and more.With that knowledge on their mind, the young students wrote down a brief for their campaign: they explained the issue, its relevance to the future society, and the ways that they were willing to act. Then they started to build a site about higher education programs which are available for youth in Israel.

 

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Bridging the gaps and disagreements

The Students of the Tel Aviv Youth University, representing the young generation perspective, pointed out dilemmas and issues that they’ll present as a challenge to the decision-makers, locally and globally. The first phase was a journey of learning and researching various problems related to the current reality and the future of the Israeli society, through tours and lectures in a variety of subjects.

During their “journey of learning” they were inspired by a lecture discussing the idea of “The 4 Israeli tribes” – a phrase that was coined by the President of Israel to modify a four groups that Israel is disintegrating into: the ultra-Orthodox, the national religious, the Arab sector and the secular Jewish sector. Using their experience of living and working in the digital world, the students claim that social networks are catalysts for hate speech but can also be a promoter of social change.

In the second phase of the activity, the students received practical tools that enabled them to learn different ways to express their opinions, engage large audiences and reach decision makers like lectures about social activity, lobbying, media workshops and more.

With that knowledge on their mind, the young students wrote down a brief for their campaign: they explained the issue, its relevance to the future society, and the ways that they were willing to act.

 The students decided to outline a program for a blog which will describe their experiences in the project where Arabs and Jews, religious and secular, succeeded in bridging the gaps and disagreements – studying and living together.

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Peaceful coexistence between different religions – Download the mobile app

The Students of the Tel Aviv Youth University – a project which enables periphery high-school students to take academic courses on the university – have explored the future society. Representing the young generation perspective, they pointed out dilemmas and issues that they’ll present as a challenge to the decision-makers, locally and globally.

The first phase was a journey of learning and researching various problems related to the current reality and the future of the Israeli society, through tours and lectures in a variety of subjects.

The young students believed that they should be an example of peaceful coexistence between different religions and culture – Arabs and Jews, religious and secular – that succeeded in bridging the gaps and disagreements, studying and living together. Thus, they wanted to express the idea that there is another way, and argued that people should meet each other (online and offline) and share their common hobbies and interests in order to be more tolerant to other people from different cultures. Thus, they have decided to try creating a mobile app that should help connect between teens based on their common hobbies and interests.

During the second phase of the activity, the students received practical tools that enabled them to learn different ways to express their opinions, engage large audiences and reach decision makers like lectures about social activity, lobbying, media workshops and more.

With that knowledge on their mind, the young students wrote down a brief for their campaign: they explained the issue, its relevance to the future society, and the ways that they were willing to act.

They have described their main tool – the mobile app, explained the vision using a mockup tool. You can watch the presentation that was given during the graduation ceremony to a wide audience including senior representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Education, researchers from Tel Aviv University, visitors from the third sector, educators and the families of the participants (Hebrew).

https://youtu.be/xv_9Ef0eR9g

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Mobile Application to detect battery powered/electrical wheel chairs charging stations

  This developed mobile application programme is prepared for physically handicapped people to reach the closest wheelchair charging station easily and fleetly from the place they are in order to make physically handicapped people’s life easier. The mobile programming was prepared in Hybrid language and during the preparation process it was benefited from the html5, JavaScript, .NET and MsSql Server libraries on the application   Adobe Phone gap / Cordova. Also, this application has a web-based control panel. The application could be downloaded free from Google Store for Android systems. Today this programme could be reachable for all physically handicapped people for the sake of actively used mobile phones. In the content of the application, it could be possible to find the closest charging station. Besides, it would be possible to inform inactive charging station and remove this inactive station from the system. It can be possible to take the address of the stations from Yandex maps. At the same time, it was designed to be developed by all the users with smart learning. Owing to this feature, new stations could be included in the database easily. This application presents the opportunity to upload the station that the users realize to the system at once if they also detect the inexact station they can inform the system about this station. By means of technology, the application could keep itself up-to-date in the world that the needs could be changeable at any time.

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