Author Archives: Teddy

Process Post (Week 6)

This week, we made changes to our website based on peer feedback. I have made a few changes based on Shazia’s post about my website.

First, I have started adding different type of media into my posts. Shazia wrote that a lot of my content was long and wordy, which could be boring to readers. I hadn’t thought about this, and so I found the feedback really helpful. I have added pictures and other media to a few of my posts already, and I plan to continue to mix up what kind of media I am posting. I hope to start creating videos soon as well.

The second thing I have changed is that I added a picture on my About page. I think that just like Shazia said, this will help readers create a more personal connection with me.

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Sick and tired of being sick and tired

Wow, Teddy, what a repetitive title! Yes, I know… but it reflects the repetition I’m dealing with in my life right now! Currently, I am sick with strep throat. This is the third time I have been sick in two months, and I am really frustrated.

I generally think of myself as a pretty healthy person. I exercise, shower and wash my hands frequently, and I keep my space clean. So why the heck do I keep getting sick? I have never been sick this many times in such a short period of time, and it’s really starting to take a toll on the rest of my life. I am behind in school,  I have missed tests and exams, and I am basically confined to my room.

I am trying my best to get better, but there is only so much I can do, especially since the stress of school piling up keeps weighing me down. Not to mention I do not have anyone to help take care of me because I live alone!

I was so excited for this semester, but to be completely honest, it has sort of become a hot mess. While that makes life hard right now, I am learning from all the things that are going wrong. I just hope I can turn things around before April.

To those of you who are also sick right now, my condolences!

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Peer Review 2

This week, I was assigned Shazia Nanji’s blog to review.

My first impression of the website was good. It has pictures and words, but also a good balance of white space. The menu is easy to understand, and not too cluttered. However, I found that the posts that did not have photos attached to them looked slightly disorganized when put next to the posts with photos attached. I think it is important to be consistent in the layout, especially on the home page because it is the first thing people see. Therefore, if the author is going to attach pictures to posts, they need to commit to doing it for every post (or at least the ones that show up on the home page).

The first page I went to was the about page. It was short and sweet, but I did not feel like I got a good sense of the author. I would like to see a bit more detail on this page.

Next, I went to the food page. I liked the layout of the page, but again I think if pictures are attached to one post they need to be attached to all posts (unless the author changes the template/layout of the page).

The other two non-school related pages were empty. Given we are almost halfway through the semester, I would have liked to see a few more posts. The same goes for the page dedicated to Pub 101. The author is missing a few of the posts we’ve been assigned.

Overall, I like the website. However, I would like to see consistency in the layout. Therefore, I think the author should either fully commit to photos attached to all posts, or get rid of them entirely and choose a  new layout.

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San Francisco Travel Diary

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Today my dad and I left for a trip to San Francisco. I have never been there, and I am very excited. I recently turned 18, and I wanted to go on a trip to celebrate. Right now, I am on the plane somewhere in the air over southwest Washington. When we left, it was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle. But now as we climb higher, it is getting foggy. I hope that San Francisco will have sunny, blue skies. I could use a little extra Vitamin D.

In my life, I have traveled to California twice. Both times have been to go to Disneyland, so I haven’t had much of a chance to explore the rest of the state. From what I’ve seen though, I really like California. This leads me to consider going to graduate school in southern or northern California. Although it is years away, I have already begun to try and plan my future, and California is on the list of places I want to live.

I’m not completely sure what my dad and I will do in San Fran, but I hope that in the three days we are there I can get a grasp of the city and its culture. I hope to visit Alcatraz, the Golden Gate bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Lombard Street.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Today my dad and I went to Alcatraz Island. Although it was the place I was most excited to see in San Francisco, it wasn’t as cool as I’d hoped it be. But that’s how it usually goes when you visit places that have been turned into tourism sites. I would find it interesting to spend a day/night in the prison and see what it was like. I know it sounds crazy, but that kind of stuff really interests me.

After we got back from Alcatraz, we got lunch at the Hardrock Café. Honestly, the food wasn’t that great. For such a famous place, I would have thought their food would be better. Oh well. After lunch, we hopped on a bike taxi and headed to the Exploratorium, which is a hands-on science museum of sorts. There is a place very similar to it in Vancouver called Science World. I found it interesting, but a bit overwhelming with all the people and exhibits.

We ended the day by having dinner and watching some of the Olympics. We got to see the Canadians win a team figure skating event. I love Olympic season.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Today we had a slower start to the morning. After relaxing in our room for a while, we headed out to iHop for some breakfast. Afterwards, we walked up to Lombard street. It was interesting and I’m glad I saw it, but it really wasn’t anything special.

Finally, we went to a park next to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a gorgeous day, with no clouds in the sky. The view was incredible, and we spent about an hour walking around in the sun admiring the bridge.

After that, we headed to the airport and had some lunch. Now we’re on the plane heading back to Seattle. It is still extremely sunny out, which makes for great flying weather.

Overall, I really enjoyed this trip. San Francisco was better than I imagined it would be, and the weather was great. I’m happy that I get the opportunity to see different parts of the USA. However, I am happy to be going home. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being in your own home with your cats. But hopefully I get to travel more soon. 😊

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Process Post (Week 5)

In general, I have been imagining my audience as roughly 16 to 22 year olds. In addition, I’m guessing that my audience will start off as mostly females. However, as I continue to age, I imagine that my audience will age as well, and hopefully also begin to include males.

In order to satisfy my adolescent/young adult audience, I am trying to create a modern, simple blog. However, I also have a few pops of colors (I would like to have more). Finally, I have a lot of “relatable” content. That is, much of my content focuses on current pop culture and “main stream” information. I think that this will increase the readership of my blog.

Moving forward, I would like to consult some of my peers on the appearance of my website, and ask for suggestions on how to make it better. Hopefully the peer review this week will help.

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The Power of Teachers

I have had many different teachers over the years. Some have been great, others have been not so great. However, both the best and the worst have helped me in different ways, and I have learned that the kind of teachers we have really influences not only our education, but also our lives.

I’ll start with describing some of my bad teachers—and I’ve had my fair share. The first one I remember was in grade 3. To keep identities private, I will use fake names. Let’s call this teacher Mrs. X. In grade 3, I was in the middle of elementary school. Unbeknownst to me and everyone else, I would be diagnosed with ADHD the next year. So, you can imagine that I wasn’t the easiest kid to handle. That said, my behavior did not give Mrs. X an excuse to treat me the way she did. She did not put a lot of faith in me, and by doing so, my self esteem took a hit. In addition, she put me down on numerous occasions. For a child like me, who is extremely rambunctious and distracted most of the time, I understand discipline. But this teacher made it personal, and I remember loathing going to class because I hated her so much. It really affected the way I learned. That year, I did not enjoy school as much and my grade performance reflected that.

Many years later, I had another bad teacher. We’ll call him Mr. Z. I was in my freshman year of high school, and the class was physical science. In a nut shell, this teacher did not teach us anything. He spent most of class on his computer, usually while we watched Bill Nye the Science Guy. Despite this, he still gave us tests. When it came time for the end of semester exam, many of us were shocked. The final exam was merely a compilation of all the tests we had had that semester. Like, literally just one stacked after another, with the exact same questions. To put the cherry on top, about 90% of the class cheated on it. We were even openly talking during the test. It was a mess, and I learned absolutely nothing.

Now, I could continue to talk about my bad experiences with teachers. But the point I’m trying to make is not that teachers suck, it’s that teachers are more influential than you think. For me, those teachers decreased the enjoyment I got out of school. They also hindered my learning. Mrs. X gave me doubts about my abilities in school and hindered my self-esteem, and Mr. Z caused me to be behind when I hit sophomore year biology. Although I cannot blame all of my struggles on these teachers, I owe some of the credit to them.

Luckily for me, I have had more good teachers than bad, and those that were bad did not ruin my love of school. In addition, the good teachers have virtually reversed the negative influences of the less-than great ones. My grade eleven history teacher, for example, made me love U.S. History, a class that I never thought I would like or do well in.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my teachers have been extremely influential in my life, and I suspect other students feel the same way.

So, to students out there – try to make good relationships with teachers! And if you’re struggling in school, it may not always be your fault. Certain teachers mesh better with certain students (just like in romantic relationships or friendships, certain people compliment each other better than others).

And to teachers, thank you for providing children with role models. Keep trying your hardest. And maybe try a little extra to help those misfit kids. Everyone can use compassion in their life!

A special thank you to Mrs. Costello, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Thornsberry, Mrs. Donaldson, Mr. Villeneuve, Mr. Huse, Mrs. Kane, Mrs. Chambers, Mr. Lawson, Daniel Ahadi and Russell Day for being such great teachers/professors!

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Children, Screen Time & Social Media

Originally written for CMNS 110 at Simon Fraser University.

As Marshall McLuhan once said, “we shape our tools and afterwards, our tools shape us”. Now, as we move into Generation Z, this is truer than ever. Generation Z is the set of people born between 2000 and 2020. It is also the first generation of children born directly into the world of screen time and social media. Because of this, we are beginning to see how the modern technology we have created is shaping us—both positively and negatively. More specifically, how is it negatively impacting the children of Generation Z? In this paper, I will be exploring the adverse effects that an early introduction to screen time and social media have on children. Specifically, I will be researching the physiological, psychological, and social impacts.

Although technology is still new in our society, we are already beginning to experience the negative impacts of it. Specifically, children are being physically affected by excessive hours of screen time. In China, a study was done on over 19,000 school-aged children to determine the relationship between technology use and sleep behavior. The study found that media use was “positively correlated with later bed times, later awakening times, and a shorter duration of sleep during weekdays and weekends” (Li). This correlation is most likely a result of the children’s melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain to regulate an individual’s sleep and wake patterns. As it becomes darker, the levels of melatonin in an individual’s brain rise and therefore cause the individual to fall asleep. However, it has been proven that after exposure to “self-luminous electronic devices”, our melatonin levels decrease (Figueiro). Therefore, when children use technology before bed, they are likely to have issues sleeping. Further evidence of the correlation between melatonin levels and screen time can be seen in a text by Aric Sigman. According to him, “researchers have recently reported that when children aged 6-12 were deprived of their TV sets, computers and video games, their melatonin production increased by an average 30%” (Sigman). This further affirms the argument that screen time before bed negatively impacts children’s sleep. Screen time can also have a negative impact on children’s vision. According to Gary Heiting and Larry Wan, staring at a screen strains a child’s eyes because it forces the child’s “vision system” to focus more than any other task (Heiting). This can put children at a higher risk for developing vision problems.

In addition to the physical consequences, children also experience psychological consequences due to excessive screen use. According to a 2015 study by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, children are spending six hours a day consuming media (Willet). However, a majority of this time is spent on social media. Therefore, when talking about screen time, we are also talking about social media use. Nevertheless, both social media and other types of screen time have psychological effects on children. In 2016, the journal of Anxiety Disorders Association of America published a study that linked depression with social media use (Willet). In the researching world, they use the term “Facebook depression” to describe this phenomenon. Researchers define it as a depression that develops when children and adolescents spend a large portion of their time on social media sites, and then begin to exhibit symptoms of depression (O’Keeffe). This phenomenon may be a consequence of cyberbullying. According to Gwenn O’Keeffe, cyberbullying is defined as “deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about another person”. Sadly, it has been proven that cyberbullying is the “most common online risk” for children and adolescents (O’Keeffe). If cyberbullying continues to be a problem for today’s youth, children will continue to develop mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. This will hinder their ability to live normal lives.

Finally, social media and screen time have an extremely adverse effect on children socially. Although technology was created to better connect our society, it has done the opposite for children. Children are becoming disconnected from their peers and their family because they are spending most of their time staring at a screen. According to Liraz Margalit, “the brain’s frontal lobe is the area responsible for decoding and comprehending social interactions”. However, the frontal lobe goes through a critical developmental period during early childhood. Therefore, if children are spending their time on computers, tablets, and smart phones instead of interacting and building friendships, their social skills will be hindered. In addition to impacting friendship development, an early addiction to technology can have impacts on a child’s family relationships. Instead of communicating with their parents, children are immersing themselves in the online world. This is causing parents to feel disconnected from their children and vice versa. A study found that “children who spent considerable time on a popular social networking sites indicated that they felt less supported by their parents” (Taylor). If a parent-child relationship is unhealthy early on in a child’s life, it can have long-term consequences for a child socially. According to Lisa Firestone, the attachment style you develop as a child is based on “your relationship with a parent or early caretaker”. An attachment style is a psychological attempt to describe the dynamics of an individual’s short-term and long-term relationships. Usually, children who have healthy relationships with their parents at a young age will go on to have a healthy, secure attachment style. On the other hand, unhealthy parent-child relationships can lead to several unhealthy attachment styles, such as anxious preoccupied, dismissive avoidant, and fearful avoidant (Firestone). Therefore, if a child does not develop a healthy relationship with their parents at a young age, their ability to develop healthy romantic and platonic relationships later in life will be severely impacted.

Although there is a plethora of negative impacts connected to screen time, social media and children, there are also many arguments in favor of technology use by children. For example, research has shown that “engaging in various forms of social media” is an activity shown to benefit children by “enhancing communication, social connection, and even technical skills” (O’Keeffe). What’s more, it allows children to engage in their community, build an individual identity, and increase their creativity. Because humans are social creatures, these skills are extremely important. They allow us to build relationships that are crucial to our social growth and mental health. Therefore, many people argue that screen time is an essential part of a child’s development. These people justify their opinion with research, like that done by Lauren Jelenchick, which found no link between social media use and clinical depression.

In the early days of modern technology, we saw our society as better connected and more advanced. But this was in a generation of adults who had just began to be introduced to it. Generation Z is the first generation to be born into the world of modern technology. As Generation Z grows, we are creating more humans who do not know a world without smartphones, tablets, and social media. Because of this, we are finally seeing the longer-term physiological, psychological, and social impacts that screen time and social media are having on children. Specifically, screen time and social media are taking a toll on their sleep, vision, mental health, and relationships. Although the negative impacts of technology have just recently begun to be a problem, if they are not fixed we could end up with a generation of adults who have more difficulty connecting socially due to their overreliance on technology. In addition, they will likely be more impacted my mental illness. Therefore, the time children spend on screens should be limited and monitored, so that the negative impacts of technology can be kept to a minimum.

Works cited provided below.

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Process Post (Week 4)

This week, we looked at some of our classmate’s websites. As a homework assignment, we were asked to pick a website and analyze it to find the parts that work and don’t work. I decided to choose the SFU Canvas page, because it is a website I frequently visit.

At first glance, the site is appealing to the eyes. It uses bright colors to distinguish the different classes. In addition, there is a side bar with menu options. I appreciate the fact that it is an image/icon based menu. However, sometimes I forget which icon means what. For a first time user, this could be frustrating. I would suggest that the creator of the website add words to the menu.

Going deeper into the site, I do not have many objections. However, when opening files that are supplied by our teachers, I often find that Canvas opens a large blank rectangle in addition to the desired file. This is not a huge deal, but it can be a nuisance.

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Peer Review 1

This week, we were each assigned a peer’s website so we could give them feedback. I was asked to review Mustafa Dewji’s website.

At first look, I loved the website. It is similar to mine in that it is simple and easy to navigate. However, having color only in the posts was slightly disappointing. Personally, I am more entertained and satisfied with simple websites that still have creative and artistic designs. Another thing I would improve on the overall aesthetics of the website is the side bar. I was not a fan of it only consisting of words, and it did not add anything to the webpage. I would like to see it be vamped up or removed.

As I continued to look through the site, I found some interesting articles. One was about a band and one was about long exposure photography. However, I only found two process posts and two blog posts. By this week, were expected to have 3 of each. I found that the lack of content made the website a bit more boring. This was because it did not keep me engaged for very long. On the other hand, the content that has been shared I enjoyed a lot. The author did a good job of being clear and concise while still engaging their audience. I especially enjoyed the post about long-exposure photography. It was fascinating for me to see the media that another person had created. The photography was beautiful and gave me an inside look at the author. Since the point of the website is to create a personal infrastructure, I think the post about long exposure photography was a great choice. As far as the process posts, I would have liked a little more information. The author only focused on one component of each class, and did not elaborate as much as I believe they could have. Nevertheless, I understood their decision to create clear and concise process posts. The next place I went on the website was the about section. I enjoyed reading a little bit about the other, however I would have loved to know just a little bit more. Overall, though, it was a good, quick introduction.

All in all, I found Mustafa’s website to be a great start. I think that with some work, the website will improve a great amount and may even become a website that I read in my free time.

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Media Recommendations

Here are a list of recommendations I have for any and everyone.

Television:

  • The Office
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Faulty Towers
  • Friends
  • Gossip Girl
  • Psych
  • Castle
  • Life in Pieces

Music:

  • The Killers
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Any 80’s pop
  • Def Leppard
  • Billy Joel
  • Adam Lambert
  • Shakira
  • ABBA
  • Bastille
  • Eminem

(Check out my Spotify here)

Books:

  • Killing Mr. Griffin
  • The Glass Castle
  • The Da Vinci Code
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
  • Nickle & Dimed

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