UOW Students Talk About Communication Across Time Zones

This video contains interviews with four students currently studying at the University of Wollongong about their experiences communicating with friends and family across time zones.

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Say what?! I don’t own my photos anymore?!

When you think about media regulation, do you think about all of those T&C’s that you clicked ‘I agree’ to without even reading what you were accepting? I know I do, and I am now very aware from my previous studies at UOW that Facebook own every photo that I post and can just take it without your permission. Were you aware? Below is a snippet Facebook’s “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”:

  1. Privacy

Your privacy is very important to us. We designed our Data Policy to make important disclosures about how you can use Facebook to share with others and how we collect and can use your content and information. We encourage you to read the Data Policy, and to use it to help you make informed decisions.

  1. Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

So let’s get this straight, I own everything I post, but in ways, Facebook can take my information and use it as their own? Hmm… Seems logical right? My issue is that they can take your information without asking your permission, and what has the basis of last few weeks of this subject been about – asking permission before taking photos or information or things from an individual and using it as your own.

Meet the Smith’s, a typical American family from Missouri, 2 children with a mum and a dad. Happy and smiling for a family Christmas portrait, they never thought that they would hear from their family friend travelling in Prague where they spotted their faces on an advertisement for a grocery store in the Czech Republic. Kennedy (2009) explained that when the mother of the family posted her photo of her family on multiple social media sites (in high revolution, I must add), she never expected to have a random store owner on the other side of the world to use the photo. The family was complimented with a bottle of wine and the photo was removed from the advertising. This example is one of many were individuals have posted photos online unconsciously knowing that it could be used anywhere in the world by anyone.

 

This reveals major anxieties for anyone that hears about these stories as I can imagine, the fear of the photos they may put online or anybody being able to use these phones would incite some form of fear for some individuals. In most cases you will find that businesses protect their rights against being able to use consumer images through their terms and conditions THAT WE DONT READ! It’s a big long trap of extra reading to people don’t generally have time for, so it’s something that just gets skipped over, but then revealing that imagines may be used for marketing purposes if you click accept.

There is regulation in the media as a whole through T&C’s along with laws and codes of conducts that producing media need to follow for example; The Commercial Television Code of Conduct which is often advertised on television and the radio making consumers aware of the practices that commercials should be following when advertising. They allow you to have a say and openly contact the practice to report of any behaviours that you consider not appropriate.

Personal regulations that I had growing up was time limits on the computer, I had to make my parents (well my mum – dad doesn’t know how to use computers) aware if I was making a new e-mail account and I wasn’t allowed on the computer after dinner unless it was for homework purposes which was pretty strictly controlled. Having these restrictions allowed me to get out and about and be less focused on technology when I was growing up. Now a days, I don’t have restrictions, my phone goes to bed with me, it wakes me up in the morning, my laptop goes with me wherever I need it and I’m never told to get off the computer so mum can make phone calls, we all have a wide range of access to the internet if needed (through our phones and all) so there’s never a problem in our family – at least with technology usage. It wasn’t just phones and technology that was monitored when I was younger, television shows were restricted also. I was never allowed to watch the Simpsons, Home and Away, Neighbours and so forth. I’m not really sure why, and I constantly felt deprived as my friends would always talk about the latest episodes or quote shows, but now when I look back at it, I don’t really mind that much.

Regulations restrict you from doing certain things, and they are constantly in place to keep other users online safe from unwanted content. While we may not have time to read through the T&C’s it is important to consider where your photos might end up if you aren’t aware of what companies can do with your content such as videos and pictures you put out there for your ‘friends’ (AKA the world!) to see.

 

REFERENCE

Facebook (2015) Terms of service. Viewed 22 September 2016, <https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms>.

Kennedy, M. (2009) American family’s web photo ends up as Czech advertisement. Viewed 22 September 2016 <https://www.theguardian.com/media/2009/jun/11/smith-family-photo-czech-advertisement>.

Multi-media Attention

When you go out for dinner you expect that someone’s attention is on you right, well that was a different story in my case. Any time we were together, the attention was glued to Facebook or other chats, texting, thankfully never any games – that was always when we were at home.

Meet my test subject Alex – 3rd year uni, into gaming, hanging out with friends and has a passion for skiing – even though he broke his leg, nothing holds him back from doing what he loves. We spent 8 months together, and in this time, we got to know each other pretty well. The traits, the flaws, the passions, the things that make you smile, make you go crazy and the things that just make you distracted and loose all attention to where it is needed.

Over this period of time, it was clearly evident that he loved his Facebook – the morning scroll often made him late for class or rushed to get ready. Lazed across the bed of a morning while I would jump into the shower endeavouring not to be late, he would truly push the limits of time.

Of an afternoon or night-time, Alex often loved to play the latest video game that had been released. It was like he challenged himself to finish the game as fast as he could even if I was around. The phone would go on silent and he would tune into the game he was playing. Try talking to him or even ask a question if he was ready for dinner and it was a screaming matching, getting up in his face or simply just eating without him until he realised he was hungry enough to stop and have a possible cold dinner. His attention to the games and dedication truly made me amazed as I was sure that they weren’t that cool. Mind you, when I would sit down and watch, I WAS AMAZED – I was hooked, just to sit there and watching was amusing and to be so entertained by such a game even when I wasn’t playing was fascinating. Through the course of 8 months I would say Alex at least have finished 4 or 5 games and would have replayed them on different levels and difficulties.

There’s a study that suggest that the soundtracks in video games hold the players attention for longer and that with the sound on they are more likely to score a higher score (Bernhard et.al, 2014). The study suggests that players got a higher score when playing with the sound on because it gave them cues and clues to enrich their senses of warnings, highlights and feedback. This attention can be given in the games, making you concentrate for hours on end without knowing how much time as passes by, but when it comes to attention in the classroom is it a different aspect as Swing, Gentile, Stevens and Ferlazzo found. Soundtracks alone can be good for focusing, thus when you are studying for exams and can’t seem to concentrate, pop on a video game soundtrack and you will find that you will focus for hours on your studies without even noticing time go by.

Swing, Gentile, Stevens and Ferlazzo posted an article in 2010 “ISU study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids’ attention problems” stating how the attention of students from 3rd, 4th and 5th grades along with college student’s attention spans decrease in the classroom the more they play video games. They express that the students are exposed to “constant stimulation and constant flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angle, or immediate feedback” which then impacts their classroom attention because teachers are not able to provide this sort of stimulation (Gentile et al., 2010).

When I asked Alex about this statement he disagreed, and I have to agree with him. The hours spent playing video games can often stimulate your concentration when it comes to other important things in life. You’re teaching your brain to focus on things that may seem important in the long run. Although it is important to point out that it often comes down to the amount of hours that you play. Alex also stated that ‘gaming in the long-term can help improve your problem solving skills, attention to detail and strategic thinking as video games stimulate different types of thinking and different areas of the brain’.

gaming

http://techu4ria.com/scientific-studies- 1

Miguel Vidaure, 2015, wrote an article”Scientific studies show why everyone should play video games” backing up myself and Alex’s views on gaming and how they are not all bad for you. Players playing action games have ‘enhanced cognitive abilities… with noticeable differences’. Vidaure (2015), also found that the brain was able to process data faster and therefore learning more efficiently. At the end of the interesting article Vidaure says that playing video games is good for you, but should not be used as a substitute [to physical exercise]. He stated that “fresh air and sunshine are just a few benefits of outdoor physical activity that isn’t offered by video games” (Vidaure 2015). Vidaure says that is it important to still get physical activity into your daily routine, but when it’s not possible (such as bad weather), you are still able to exercise your brain with video games along with the use of motion games that allow you to burn calories while ‘climbing mountains, running through forests and enjoying virtual settings’.

I decided to personally test my own concentration and attention span by setting up a time-lapse video of me sitting at my desk trying to study. This was taken in a period of an hour and you could clearly see that my attention was consistently directed at other things such as my phone (texting, making phone calls and scrolling through Facebook and Twitter), updated my Word Press site, leaving the room to cut my father’s hair and even look at dresses I was given for a special occasion. In the space of that our, my goal was to have this blog post finished and uploaded, although I found that I had only written about 5 lines. If this is me in a semi private space with family around, imagine what I would be like in a public space! I always wondered why I loved puppies so much – maybe it’s because we have the same attention span.

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Distractions in an hour of study

 

References:

Bernhard, T., Spackman, M. and Baxa, J. (2014) Video games: Do you play better with the sound on or off? Viewed 21 September 2016 <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-shapes-film/201402/video-games-do-you-play-better-the-sound-or>.

Gentile, D., Swing, E., Stevens Martin, S. and Ferlazzo, M. (2010) ISU study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids’ attention problems – news service – Iowa state university. Viewed 21 September 2016 <http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2010/jul/TVVGattention>.

Vidaure, M. (2015) Scientific studies show why everyone should play video games. Viewed 21 September 2016 <http://techu4ria.com/scientific-studies-show-why-everyone-should-play-video-games/>.

BCM240 Project Proposal

Getting ideas for a research project is not easy unless you get talking and researching and thinking about what you have previously done.

In my subject BCM210 last semester I conducted research to do with Studying Abroad and how student experiences can be both positive and negative during and also upon their return. As I have completed lots of research previously on studying abroad and student exchange, I wish to continue this study.

While learning about students in my tutorial I discovered that there was a student (Charlotte) from the USA that lives very close to where I was based over in the states working on summer camps as a soccer coach. We soon connected to build a working friendship which has allowed us to pair up for Task 3 researching studying abroad and how students can get the most out of their experiences while studying abroad. We want to look at the geographics of how students connect and engage with others while on exchange and how they connect with friends and family back home. Charlotte and I have spent lots of time brainstorming, creating and scratching many ideas to present and expand our research. Charlotte and I will collaborate together while gathering primary and secondary research and information from other exchange students at UOW as well as online.

From discussing our strengths and weaknesses, we will be presenting our information via wordpress with a category allowing you to select what type of section you would like to read into about exchange.

We hope to blog on the following topics expand our own and others knowledge of studying abroad: How we use media to deal with the geographical space between home and our host country. This proposal lead to multiple sub blog posts topics that we can research into and talk about with students. They are;

  • How you deal with time zones
  • How do you connect to home (social media, Skype, different apps and apps that do/don’t work)-link to descriptions/videos of how apps work
  • Who you contact and how relationships have changed

 

As well as these topics we will also include posts about our own experiences and find academic articles to help with expressing these views. Being able to talk to other students as well that are currently on exchange will help with the research, thus we will endeavour to get some thoughts from other students dealing with the emotions of it all.

Interviews will be conducted and recorded which would allow for Charlotte and I to reflect back on these while producing our work. It should be considered that we could do a film recording for one of our blogs as this is another platform that would be very useful in sharing the experiences of students. This still needs to be discussed.

Sharing these experiences will help students dealing with any problems they may be experiencing also which we should be conscious of although I feel that this is going to be a positive learning experience for Charlotte and myself along with the students involved.

For Better or For Worse; Cinema Experiences

Maria Goretti was a film that stood out to my Grandma when I asked her about her cinema experiences. It wasn’t something she did often as a child and teen but she remembers taking the train in with her friend to the cinemas in the city. She couldn’t remember much more than that, so it made it hard to find out more of what cinema experiences were like back in the 1930’s and 40’s.

I’ve been to the cinemas a lot. I’ve been the only one in the cinema but I’ve also struggled to find a seat battling it out with the troublesome child that doesn’t sit still and just doesn’t stop talking! There’s nothing more annoying than a child running around at the front of the cinema distracting you from seeing a movie that they child shouldn’t even be in where you are stuck looking up at the screen and having your neck starting to cramp and being separated from your friends because there isn’t even enough seats. That was probably my worst cinema experience of all time, I love kids and I love working with them, but those kids were lucky to be alive leaving that cinema. I defiantly wasn’t happy! If someone can explain how 3 year old children were capable of entering a cinema that was a MA15+ movie, who the hell let them in and why on earth would their parents take them to such a movie. This makes me seriously consider Hagerstrand’s 3 constraints.

Hagerstrand was an urban planner who created the theory of time geography emphasising the way people live their lives through time and space. Hagerstrand had 3 constraints that we are able to relate to this week’s topic of cinema experiences. His constraints are: Capability, Coupling and Authority, each focusing on  how if and who you are with when using a space.

Capability in terms of cinema experiences, questions how you are going to get to the cinema, the transportation you will use which cinemas you may attend. Coupling is about who you are going to go with if you go with any at all and authority is about whether or not you are legally allowed to attend the cinema in terms of your age, how you are going to pay for the cinema experience and if you are allowed by your parents/guardians if they still play they sort of role in your life.

On Thursday the 25th of August around 3pm, I went spontaneously to the movies to see War Dogs with a friend from uni (Coupling Constraint). We paid $9.50 for a student ticket down at Hoyts at Warrawong Shellharbour which I was rather happy about! We took my friends car to the movies (Capability Constraint of transport), because I didn’t have mine with me at uni that day. Obviously being university students over the age of 18, we were legally allowed to see the movie because we are over the MA15+ requirements of the movie and we had paid for our ticket (Authority Constraint). The seating was set seating, but because there weren’t many people in the theatre, we sat wherever we wanted. As we walked up the stairs to the better viewing we noticed there was a group of 3 young adults that were sitting in the first row up the top, then a few rows behind them there was an elderly man, we were meant to be sitting behind him, but decided to sit further up the back. We were one row from the last and I felt comfortable where were sitting until a young couple sat behind us. Everyone based themselves in the center and I noticed that I did the same, I looked up to the projector room and ensured that I was sitting right in the center. For as long as I can remember, I have always sat up the back where possible, feet always went up on the seats, and I would always smuggle in snacks because I wasn’t going to pay $5 for a bottle of water or $4.50 for a packet of lollies, it just seemed ridiculous when you could walk 50 metres to get the same snacks for half the price.

I really took advantage of the need to go to the cinemas this week for uni. I went a second time with a group of friends from work. This was a very different experience, we saw Sausage Party on a Monday night at 8:30pm paying $16 for a student ticket. We sat down the front and I actually felt so much more comfortable sitting there, compared to up the back like I normally would, I felt as though I was at a better level of the screen. There was only one other person in the cinema that sat directly up the back in the centre, he was in his 30’s or there abouts. Knowing that there was only one other person in the cinema, it allowed me to feel more comfortable in the fact that I could laugh as loud and as much as I wanted.

There are plenty of cinema experiences that I could personally reflect on, but it’s important to recognise the 3 constraints that are relevant to this week’s reflection and that they link with your own cinema experiences.

 

References

Whittemore J 2003, Time Geography: Torsten Hagerstrand’s Works, viewed 31 August 2016 <http://study.com/academy/lesson/time-geography-torsten-hagerstrands-works.html>.

Internet and Television Evolutional Spaces

A few weeks okay, I spoke about my grandparents migrating from the Netherlands, fleeing after the war to settle in Australia and how they didn’t have a television for years. It took about 10 years for them to get a television while living in Australia. It was only when I was learning how to use a computer when they got a computer which was a big old box that made lots of sounds when it started up and took about 10 minutes just to get to the desktop page after logging in. They got a computer because my Grandpa wanted to play Mahjong (the computer game where you had to pair the tiles together) and Sudoku puzzles. They eventually trialed the dial up internet, but never wanted to unplug the phone, so that didn’t work out for them. At this time they could have had broadband be refused to pay so much. Ever since they have always had no internet – if they wanted to know something, they would ask myself or my sister to look it up. The only thing they miss out on is the fast information my family spreads, it’s always spread through Facebook, so they always find out from us when they are around for dinner instead of a direct phone call.

My grandma has just moved into an independent retirement home and she still doesn’t have internet, although she does have an iPhone 6. I was teaching her how to send photos the other day and realised that it wasn’t working because she didn’t have internet on her phone. Now I didn’t even think that was possible, but apparently it is. While this leads me to a hole in my research, I can reflect on my own memories of internet usage and growing up with the technology changes.

I first remember the dial up, the sounds, the time it took, and the yelling ‘get off the internet; I need to use the phone!’ It was all good memories when I was about 6 years old. I don’t remember when it all changed, but I remember when I would have friends over and there was always a cool computer game to play, Harry Potter, or Sims, or I even remember wanting to run away with one friend and booking aeroplane flights, the only thing stopping us was that fact we couldn’t pay for it without mum knowing because we needed a credit card. She would come over every weekend, and we would do that same thing, looking at flights and attempting to book to run away… I must have always been a traveler at heart.

The internet was constantly evolving, getting faster as I got older and I was getting more usage out of it more than ever; homework, network chats, and online games and then social media came along. It was always either the internet or TV back then, because I didn’t have a cable long enough, or the muscles strong enough to drag the computer to the TV. I checked the NBNco.com.au to see if my home was able to connect to it, and I’m not. I am super surprised considering the booming area that I am living in, you would think it would be a great profit if they put the NBN in my area.

Screenshot (38)http://www.nbnco.com.au/learn-about-the- 1

Now we don’t have to choose, we can have the internet with us while we are watching TV. Whether it’s through our mobiles, tablet devices or laptops there is always connection. Now days, you can even get the internet on your TV. Being able to live stream and even connect to YouTube to watch videos on a bigger screen, it’s all possible now. Now this just fascinates me – when we got a new TV, we decided to ditch the flat screen box television for a real flat screen TV, it had apps, programs and internet connection all in one through Bigpond. While we don’t use it for any of those purposes unless someone with a good technology background comes over and knows how to work them, we only use the TV for watching purposes. The lounge room is a place we gather at night. 6:30pm is FRIENDS until 7:30 and then from there it is the Big Bang Theory. Weekends is tradition to watch the football, but its slowing dying out as we all have busy lives to live now. When state of Origin was on, a few years back, it became a tradition to do homemade hamburgers or meat pies and veggies around the table before kickoff and then we would all congregate to the TV room where we would watch the football match for as long as we can until we fall asleep and waddle off to bed. Traditions die fast in my household, we don’t watch anything all together although we all have our favourite TV shows we like to watch and we sure are lucky we have 3 TV’s in the house – it keeps us civil.

TV history & traditions will never change

I remember waking up 6am every Saturday and Sunday morning, racing to wake up my sister if she wasn’t already awake and running to the TV to watch the latest Saturday Disney cartoons or Pokémon. That disappointment you would feel when you were just those 3 impatient minutes early for the show to start. The attempt to make your breakfast in time without spilling it or waking up mum or dad in the process was defiantly a challenge.

A reoccurring conversation around my dinner table lately has been mum and dad reflecting on the moment that man took their first steps on the moon in 1969.

When I am with my children around the dinner table, I think I will reflect back on the 2000 Olympics when Kathy Freeman took the torch all the way up to start the ceremony. I remember sitting in front of the TV saying to mum, ‘why is she standing on a big barbeque’. That will be the happy story, to reflect on; I still remember mum laughing and running off to tell dad what I said. I still remember and often reflect on the 9/11 situation also. I was up early, mum had the TV on, and volume and lights woke me up from down the hall. I went and crawled into bed with mum and dad came and kissed us goodbye as he went to work. I remember looking at the TV squinting from the bright light on September 11, 2001, and seeing a small spec in the air crash into the two towers in New York City and the buildings just crumbling to the ground with panic on the streets everywhere. This is also a time of reflection for me as I am in America at the moment. I went to visit the Ground Zero area where the tragedy took place and it completely moved me. They have turned the area into a beautiful place of reflection for all of the victims that were lost in the attack. The water falls into the ground that run all day, the names around the edges of each of the buildings outline of where the buildings once stood tall. People move slowly, they don’t talk, and if they do, it’s respectful whisper. Still having the image on the dark room, the feeling of the warm bed and mums cuddles in the morning, the noise of the TV’s news presenter explaining the tragedy and showing footage of the disaster still plays in my head 15 years on and will continue to be fresh in my mind until the day I die.

When I spoke to my grandma from my dad’s side of the family about her history with the television, it surprised me. I knew that they came from a lower socio-economic background fleeing the war which influenced her television history.

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My Grandparents and family on the boat saying goodbye to The Netherlands and Hello to Australia.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s my grandparents got their first TV which was black and white. They lived in the middle of no-where,so it would not surprise me if they had poor connection. She explained that the lifestyle changed in the household as well when the TV was introduced. Things like watching the Sunday night football and having to have had dinner and washed up by 6pm so they could all watch together. My grandpa had the most control over the TV, but when he fell asleep, Grandma would kindly turn down the volume and change the channel to what she wanted to watch. If visitors were to come over, the TV would go off as it was considered polite. Her most memorable televised event in history was the shooting of JF Kennedy in 1963 and the walking on the moon in 1969. Both of my grandparents worked during the day, so they didn’t watch anything until all the cooking and cleaning had been completed. Sunday night football was a must in my dad’s household growing up; other shows they watched were Get Smart, The Andy Griffith Show, Rawhide, Four Corners and the News. Now days, she likes to watch Offspring, Winners and Losers, Australian Story, Boarder Security and cooking shows.

From now to then, 16 years on from watching the Olympics, it’s still a tradition to watch the Olympics as much as I can and it’s still a tradition for Grandma to have everything clean before sitting down for the night to watch TV. Some things will never change.