Study says U.S. Teens Spend 9 Hours a Day in Front of a Screen

Those angry Baby Boomers who say our generation is rotting behind those teeny screens might actually have a point. Common Sense Media just released a comprehensive study called The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens, which examined how young Americans use media today.

According to their research, U.S. teens ages 13 to 18 spend about nine hours using entertainment media—excluding the time spent at school or for homework assignments. Tweens between the ages of 8 and 12 average about six hours in front of a screen daily.

“There are distinct types of media ‘diets’ and users. Young people who use similar amounts of screen time spend that time doing very different things on their screens,” the study says, according to Forbes. While many would assume that social media is at the top of the list, teens and preteens average just over an hour of usage.  Only 10% actually listed it as their favorite activity.

When divided by gender, 37% percent of the girls surveyed say they prefer to use their devices for listening to music. Among the boys, 27% chose video games. And 100% of both probably don’t care what the Baby Boomers are saying.

This Fitness Tracker for Athletes Just Raised $12 Million

The next-gen fitness trackers of 2015 have focused on tracking more – more metrics, more often. Whoop is taking this one step further with its wearable wristband and predictive analytics system for athletes and coaches.

This one is different, though. It costs from $500 to $5,000 a year as a subscription for an individual elite athlete and up to $100,000 for a coach to monitor a whole team using Whoop.

Why so expensive? It continuously measures skin conductivity and heart rate variability – more than 100 times a second, in fact – as well as sleep tracking, to analyse how an athlete’s body is handling the strain of working out or performing and how it recovers. And its analytics dashboard is focused on the role of sleep and recovery, making sure athletes peak at the right time and avoiding overtraining and undertraining.

A step ahead of the athlete

The Boston based company was founded in 2012 by squash player Will Ahmed and two other Harvard graduates who set out to build a wearable tech system “robust enough to prepare a Navy SEAL but with the form factor that the average athlete would feel comfortable wearing 24 hours a day.”

The Whoop wearable is designed to be worn 24/7 to measure strain from exercise and day-to-day stress and reportedly charges while it is worn. We will update this story with more specs when we get them.

Ahmed told ESPN: “We’re a step ahead of athletes. When they wake up, they get a score from 0-100 that measures their recovery. That might change what an athlete does that day. Going into the night, the device will tell you how much recovery or sleep you need based on the strain you put on your body throughout the day.”

Investors include Two Sigma Ventures, MIT Media Lab’s founder (who also serves as an adviser) and LeBron James’ personal trainer. Whoop’s website says it is working with professional and college athletes in all major sports, Olympians and the military. Anyone who is interested right now in the product can fill out a form indicating their details as it is now available.

New iPhones, Bigger iPads, and Every Other Announcement From Yesterday’s Apple Event

After a long lead up filled with predictions, leaks, and an unhealthy level of attention, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage Wednesday to show us the new devices we’ll all learn to love (or loathe, for the Android crowd) over the next gadget lifecycle. It was an event filled with surprises (Microsoft shelling an Apple product?!), but most of all, fulfilled expectations.

Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s latest generation of products, including the Apple Watch, the iPad Pro, the new Apple TV, and (of course) iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Apple Watch

“Changing users’ lives.”

TL;DR: New bands and WatchOS 2 coming on September 16th

First up was the Apple Watch. While there won’t be any real hardware updates for the flagship wearable — it only launched back in April, after all — there were a few peeks at the upcoming WatchOS 2, which drops on September 16th. We saw updates to in-suite apps like Maps, which adds public transit information, a nifty Time Travel feature to check out your calendar with the watch bezel, and a demo of Airstrip, an app that streamlines doctors’ communication with each other and patients.

Along with the software, there are new accessories coming for the Watch, featuring a special collaboration with Hermes for the Apple Watch Hermes leather bands, which will be available in October. Two new colors of the Watch, Gold and Rose Gold anodized aluminum, are available starting today, along with new Apple-branded sport bands and a stainless steel Product RED Edition.

iPad Pro

“The clearest expression of our vision of the future of computing.”

TL;DR: 12.9-inch Screen, Apple Pencil accessory – Available November, starting at $799

Things really got going when Tim Cook took to the stage with the new behemoth iPad Plus, calling it “the biggest news in iPad since the iPad.” In many ways, that seems to be the case. The new 12.9-inch tablet (which is remarkably close to thickness and weight to the original 9.7-inch iPad) brings a ridiculous number of performance highlight stats to the table, including a display better than a 15-inch Macbook Pro’s, faster speeds than 80 percent of portable PCs that have shipped in the last 12 months with its A9X chip, and a 10-hour battery life. Add that to new features like four speakers for stereo sound and new dual-screen multitasking capability with iOS9, and you’ve got an entertainment and productivity powerhouse that will rival any laptop on the market.

And then they started talking about the new accessories.

First, they trotted out the Smart Keyboard, a specialized keyboard accessory that integrates seamlessly to the Pro. It doesn’t look extremely special — kind of like a plus-sized Microsoft Surface.

But the second accessory looks like a true game changer. The Apple Pencil, the long-teased stylus (that never would have happened with Steve Jobs in charge), allows for seamless use for more detailed sketching on your tablet — the multitouch system senses twice as many contact points when it’s in use. Apple’s biggest rival Microsoft even sent a rep to demo the device in the iOS Office suite, something unthinkable with Microsoft’s own Surface tablet out on the market. Along with Microsoft, Adobe, which is releasing a full package of software for the new Pro, gave us a look at what the pencil can do. From what we’ve seen, that’s just about anything you can imagine.

The iPad Pro and its accessories will hit the market in November, starting at $799 for 32GB, $949 for 128GB, and $1,079 for 128GB with LTE access. The Smart Keyboard will retail for $169, while the Apple Pencil can be yours for $99. For those of you with small hands (and wallets), there will be a new iPad Mini 4, which is essentially an iPad Air 2 in a smaller package, starting at $399.

Apple TV

“The future of TV is apps.”

TL;DR: New touch, motion sensing remote for gaming, Siri, tvOS – Available late October starting at $149

The overhauled Apple TV then took the stage. The real draw of the new tabletop streamer — which didn’t add the long awaited cord-cutting subscription cable service — is how it will work more like your other Apple devices, complete with Siri connectivity, who will finally save you from having to answer all of your girlfriend’s questions when she zones out during a movie. All of the streaming options you already know and love from the current iteration of Apple TV and other streaming devices are supported, running on the new tvOS.

The game changer here is the new remote — for starters, it runs on a three-month charge and Bluetooth, so you’ll never have to worry about something obstructing the sensor again. It works like an overhauled Nintendo Wiimote, with both touch screen control and motion sensing capabilities that open up the Apple TV to the home video game console space. Several Apps were demoed, and, although it might just look like a next-gen Wii for now, it’s only just the beginning.

The new Apple TV will be available at the end of October starting at $149 for a 32GB version and $199 for 64GB.

iPhone 6s/6s Plus

“The most loved, most advanced smartphones in the world.”

TL;DR: 3D Touch, Rose Gold color, 12 MP camera, Live Photos – Available for pre-order September 12th, release September 25th starting at $199/$299

Finally, the main event: iPhone time. Immediately, the new Rose Gold color (which was anticipated, then dispelled) was presented, followed by a torrent of new specs, including:

– New custom 7000 Series Aluminum construction
– Industry-leading strength display glass
– A9, 64-bit chip, which provides for 70-90% faster speeds than the previous generation
– 2nd Generation TouchID sensor
– Increased LTE and Wi-Fi speeds

With all of these impressive new improvements, several new features really stood out.

3D Touch

We’d been expecting this new feature, just under a different name (ForceTouch). Essentially, along with the swipes and scrolls you’ve gotten used to with the Multitouch Screen, you’ll now be able to use different levels of pressure to “peek” and “pop” in and out of your apps, adding an extra layer of control to the already incredibly user friendly OS (although the inclusion of the “Emergency Selfie” feature has me wondering if we haven’t gone too far over the edge).

12 MP iSight Camera

The cameras — both back- and front-facing — took major steps forward with the 6s, jumping to 12 MP and 5 MP, respectively. The autofocus on the back camera has been retooled to compensate for twice as many pixels as the previous generation’s and uses a TrueTone flash, while the front-facing camera now features a Retina flash to improve front-facing photos. The HD video recording now supports 4K.

Live Photos

Do you love GIFs? You’ll love Live Photos. Every picture you take will now have the ability to move. Every time you take a photo, the camera ​captures a second and a half on either side of the image — and sound. When you press on any of your photos, you’ll have a moving, vocal snapshot of the moment you were capturing. All Apple devices will be able to support the Live Photos, with the Facebook iOS app adding support within the year.

While several other payment plans were outlined — including the “iPhone Upgrade Program,” which will let consumers upgrade devices every year for $32 monthly payments — the two-year contract pricing structure for the 6s and 6s Plus remain identical to the last generation’s. The 6s starts at $199 for 16GB, moving to $299 for 64GB and $399 for 128GB. The 6s Plus is pricier, with $299 for 16GB, $399 for 64GB, and $499 for 128GB. The new phones (which, along with the iPad Pro will run on iOS9, launching September 16th) will be available for pre-order starting September 12th, with the official launch beginning September 25th.

HOW TECHNOLOGY IS ALTERING YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY

You know the feeling. It happens when you dig your hands into your pockets to find your phone but come up empty-handed. Immediately, a switch flips. Your heart rate quickens. Your desk? The bar? The back seat of the cab? Where the hell did you leave it? Panic sets in. Whatever you were doing doesn’t matter anymore, you need your phone and you need itnow.

Why do we freak the fuck out when we lose our phones? Why’s it so hard to go a day without checking Facebook? Turns out, technology has wired our brains in such a way that we’re not much different from cocaine addicts when it comes to our devices. We spend countless hours using them, and it’s really messing with our heads.

1. Your gadgets are causing your stress, not helping it

The explanation: Using modern devices increases levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

The Internet has provided us with unprecedented access to information, entertainment, and baffling fetishes. It’s also prevented us from ever truly escaping work, bad news, and that annoying friend whose Instagram looks like she’s never not on vacation.

Now, research is telling us we need to unplug to de-stress. A study which looked at the cortisol levels of kids who used computers, phones, and video games throughout the day (so, all kids) showed that those who spent more than three hours wired in had significantly higher levels than a group that didn’t.

2. You’re learning more, but remembering less

The explanation: Research shows that when we learn something, the “downtime” we get afterwards allows the brain to process it into our long-term memories. But our use of technology interferes with that process.

Today’s schedule: Work about 10 hours, almost 100% in front of a computer screen. Then, hop on the subway, where I’ll foolishly stare at my phone in the vain hope that I’ll get a signal. After that, send out some text messages, tune to a podcast for my trip home, eat dinner while watching TV, then drink beer and Hulu myself some Inside Amy Schumer until I pass out. Then I’ll wake up and start all over again.

A lot of people live this way, and science thinks it could be killing our brains. Studies on rats show that the brain can’t process new information for memories without some time away from the stimulation. If we’re constantly moving from one tech task to the next, we can’t retain what we learn. What’s the use of listening to Serial during my commute if I can’t remember enough details to effectively explain to everyone why they need to listen to Serial?!

3. All these bright screens are screwing up your sleep cycle

The explanation: Neuroscientists believe that the light from phones, tablets, and computersis suppressing the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

We, as humans, haven’t truly evolved to deal with the sleep schedule that artificial light allows us. In the past, when night fell, the brain secreted melatonin, which tells our bodies it’s time to shut down for a few hours. Light suppresses this, though—our brain thinks it’s still the daytime, no matter where the light comes from.

That means that checking your mobile tech before bed convinces your brain to keep you awake. And lack of sleep can lead to depression, cognitive troubles, and starting a fight club. None of which are good for you.

4. Multitasking with too many devices messes with your emotions

The explanation: People who report that they are more likely to multitask with different devices have less density in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain involved in regulating emotions.

It’s pretty common knowledge that no one can actually multitask, but the gadgets in our lives make it too easy to try anyway. This could have some serious drawbacks, though, beyond being too distracted with your phone to truly take in the nuance of Louie. Brain scans of people who said that they do multitask with their tech, when compared to those who don’t, show that such people’s brains are abnormal in regions that help to keep our emotions in check, alert us to errors, and motivate us.

5. The Internet is making you stupid

The explanation: The brains of Internet addicts lack mass in areas associated with cognitive tasks.

Between TED Talks, brain training apps, and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Twitter, we can feel pretty confident in assuming that the Internet is enhancing our intelligence, can’t we? I mean, our grandparents didn’t have Wikipedia.

But they also didn’t have the physical problems that come with Internetting so much that you forget what the sun looks like. Again, studies on Internet addicts have shown that excessive web surfing results in decreased cortical thickness in the parts of the brain that help us think through problems. We may be learning more, but our critical thinking abilities are shutting down.

6. Being hooked on the Internet isn’t much different from being hooked on cocaine

The explanation: MRI scans show that the brains of Internet addicts look the same as the brains of cocaine addicts and alcoholics.

“I lost my phone and I swear I was going through withdrawal when I couldn’t find it. I thought I would die.”

Turns out that the Internet can be so stimulating that the people who end up genuinely addicted to it suffer the same sort of brain rewiring as people addicted to alcohol and cocaine. The constant availability of the Internet also makes it extremely difficult to break the habit. Granted, most of us won’t become full-fledged junkies, but we’re all susceptible to the kind of brain changes that occur when we’re too accustomed to our technology. Google is your drug, your Internet provider is the dealer.

7. The upside: video games can actually boost brainpower

The explanation: Brain scans of gamers show that gaming can increase gray matter in planning and memory areas.

Just in case all this info has convinced you to trash your tech and walk the Earth, don’t worry, we have some good news: gaming in moderation can actually build up your brain.

A recent study showed that gaming results in greater gray matter in sections of the brain associated with strategizing, creating memories, and knowing where you are in relation to other objects. Think of it this way: when you need to murder a rival gang member in Grand Theft Auto, you have to remember which section of the city you can find him, drive there without crashing into anything, and pull off the crime without alerting the cops.

Hey, no one ever said games would make you a better person.

This Wearable Will Help You Get Pregnant

The world’s first in-ear wearable to help women track their fertility has launched on Kickstarter today. YONO is silicone-encased earpiece that measures a woman’s ovulation cycle which can be used for her overall health or to help her get pregnant.

YONO’s main function is to measure temperature or more specifically basal body temperature or BBT which is key way to track a woman’s cycles. Woman are currently keeping track of BBT using traditional means which often causes miscalculations as they need to do so at the same time each day and often times the data is less accurate as it may also take into account ambient temperature. YONO solves for all of this by making it easier and more accurate to track BTT to be used for pregnancy planning.

As YONO is worn in the ear, the sensor captures the most accurate data without being affected by the ambient temperature.  The YONO device collects 70-120 data points each night to determine the lowest temperature while resting. It doesn’t transmit this data while the wearer has it in their ear but instead it sends this data when the device is docked in the charging case. Once the data is transmitted YONO’s proprietary algorithm takes this temperature data, along with information from the user about other physical symptoms, to predict ovulation timing and provide advice about hormonal health.

“Most basal thermometers require you to measure your temperature first thing in the morning, which already is inaccurate, considering that you reached your basal temperature, which is your lowest resting temperature, in the middle of the night,” said Vanessa Xi, CEO and founder, YONO Labs in a press release . “I created YONO out of my own personal challenges with conception and I saw first-hand the need for technology to accurately give me the data I needed. YONO is a wearable that gives women precise information, is very discreet, easy to use and takes the guesswork out of getting pregnant.”

With 1 in 8 couples experiencing difficulty when trying to conceive, according to YONO, this wearable device may strike a chord for users who are looking for an easier way to track their ovulation cycles. Backers can grab YONO for $99 on Kickstarter with a target ship date of November of this year.

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FINALLY… A TOASTER THAT CHARGES YOUR PHONE (SORT OF)

No one asked for it, but it’s here. Foaster, a toaster-like charging dock that gives you that sweet, sweet power you’ll need to keep your phone alive—for as long as it takes to secure that sizzling Tinder date.

foaster-1

Sleek, simple, and clean, the Foaster is a minimalist’s dream, adding that much-needed element of kitsch and whimsy to your phone charger.

Not only does it cover Apple products, but you can easily charge Samsung, Motorola, and LG products as well—plus, you can insert up to four devices at once. Just don’t try this with a real toaster. Trust me on this one.

Twitter Ditches 140-Character Limit For Direct Messages

Twitter’s finally addressing one of its most annoying issues: The 140-character limit in direct messages. Starting this July, you’ll finally be able to tweet DMs of any length to friends and followers.

It’s a smart move for Twitter, and one that makes the service far more convenient for users. We can’t count how many times we’ve had to split up one thought into three or five 140-character DMs, and then received multi-message responses back in return. With the constrictive limit, it was usually easier just to chat in other apps, like Messages or WhatsApp. By eliminating the strict character count, Twitter will be able to keep users in the app longer (and, ideally, make some much-needed money off those users, too). You’ll now be able to use DMs more like you would any other messaging app.

Twitter is not changing the 140-character count on regular tweets, however. The app’s defining limitation stays the same — and that’s just as well. It’s part of what makes Twitter, well, Twitter. But, at least now you’ll be able to exchange private messages on the app in a way that makes sense, instead of conversing in the virtual version of a telegram.

Waking Up Alone? The Wakie App May Solve That Problem…

Even the best alarm clocks can’t compete with being awoken by a human voice. Thanks to Wakie, you can ease into your day talking to another person, even if you’re hopelessly alone. This novel app connects you to an entire network of people that set their alarms not to be jarred out of slumber by alien buzzing, but by receiving a call from another member of the network, who will have a friendly one-minute conversation with them to start their day. You can also choose to be on the waking end of things, calling other members to help them out of bed.

Google Wants You to Buy Big Macs With Your Face

Google may have been the first big tech company to push NFC payments, but it was Apple Pay that got the public excited about buying things with your smartphone. At a Google I/O session for Android Pay, the search giant announced that it was partnering with McDonalds and Papa John’s Pizza to launch Hands Free, a payment system that looks suspiciously like the Pay with Square app (later called Square Wallet and discontinued). Customers walk in to a store and say, “I’d like to pay with Google,” and the cashier will see a photo of the customer and their name on their point-of-sale system. The service is initially launching in San Francisco in the coming months and those interested can sign up for the beta here. Details about the geofencing payment service are sparse, but it should use cards stored in the upcoming Android Pay.

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38 New Emojis Scheduled for 2016

The Unicode Consortium is a California-based non-profit organization that aims to standardize current character schemes across all operation systems and platforms. Following the unveil of the Unicode 8.0 which included complexion adjustments, the consortium’s emoji committee has finalized the addition of 38 pictographs, and submitted them to members for a vote of approval. If granted, the emojis — which include a bacon, an avocado, a shrug, a shark, and more — will be added to Unicode 9.0, scheduled for release next year. Take a look at the complete list below. For more information, visit Yahoo Tech.

Emojis to be added:

Face with cowboy hat
Clown face
Nauseated face
Rolling on the floor laughing
Drooling face
Lying face
“Call me” hand
Raised back of hand
Left-facing fist
Right-facing fist
Handshake
Hand with first and index finger crossed
Pregnant woman
Face palm
Shrug
Man dancing
Prince
Man in tuxedo
Mother Christmas
Wilted flower
Scooter
Motor scooter
Octagonal sign
Clinking glasses
Black heart
Croissant
Avocado
Cucumber
Bacon
Potato
Carrot
Fox face
Eagle
Duck
Bat
Shark
Owl