• Digital distractions, like Fortnite, can become addictions Posted on 21 May 2018 at 4:58pm

    COLUMBIA - Checking the phone constantly, surfing Facebook first thing in the morning or right before bed, playing games like Fortnite or Minecraft — digital distractions are prevalent and some people say addictive.
    The designers are the best in the business at weaving hidden hooks into the most popular apps and games — blending tech and psychology to keep people in front of a screen.
    Will Mattei, now an app developer in San Francisco, realized how much time he was wasting online each day and started looking into how to make the technology people need and want into something that improved lives and interactions.
    He said the best apps are designed to keep people entertained and plugged-in.
    "They want to keep you there for as long as possible so they've created a bunch of mechanisms to keep people online forever essentially," he said.
    The smash-hit viral video game Fortnite has millions of children jumping into their favorite skin and casting away online in hopes of a victory. So much so, video streaming superstar Tyler Blevins, known as Ninja on Youtube and Instagram, is making more than a half million dollars a month because kids love to watch him play Fortnite.
    Blevins has 11 million (and growing) subscribers on Youtube and more than seven million on the most popular video game streaming app, Twitch.
    He was interviewed by CNBC about the influence he has on children and how he's making so much money playing games.
    "I encourage everyone out there, all of the kids, you can't just drop everything and focus on playing video games to make a living. It's also becoming a very competitive career choice right now. You want to make sure you're securing your future and putting in the extra time to make this happen as well."
    Some of the new superstars of a generation are most known for their game, but video games, not football or basketball. Phones, gaming consoles and technology are reshaping childhood.
    It has some people, like Mattei, wondering if it's time to rethink how great all of the advances are.
    "I do think we've reached a tipping point," he said. "On the Google search index trends, you can actually see how frequently key words are being searched since google started tracking since 2004. I noticed the search for terms like "internet addiction" or making technology more humane were trending down for years and years and years and just in the past few months they've started trending up again."
    Mattei is one of a growing number of app developers trying to come up with ways to make time spent with technology a starting point for better actual interaction instead of a time drain. The change is called humane technology.
    Apps, games and computer browsers that develop humane tech would abandon the psychology of hidden hooks, which are the same addictive techniques used to keep gamblers in casinos. Instead, technology, and the advertising that goes with it, would function to keep us moving or connecting "irl" (in real life) rather than into a game or app.
    Common Sense Media, a non-profit group started to help families understand and navigate smart media choices for kids, offers the good and bad for parents who feel they've lost family time to Fortnite battles.
    PROs:
    • It does reward collaboration between players
    • The default setting keeps any personal information private
    • There's no blood or swearing and the death is much closer to Minecraft than Mortal Kombat
    • There's a potentially very creative building component
    • It's free to play
    • Games are short — about 20 minutes at the longest
    CONs:
    • Kids can get lost for hours if not monitored, which is tough to do if a child has a smart phone. (Fortnite can be played on any gaming, computer or phone platform) 
    • You can't control or filter what other players are saying 
    • There are a lot of guns and weapons and everyone else dying is the goal
    • It's also possible to spend real money buying extras and upgrades with v-bucks. 
    Common Sense Media gives Fortnite four out of five stars for overall quality and learning potential.
    Monitoring how long someone plays any video game is essential to keeping it in check. Frequent breaks allow time for the brain to reset and go a long way to prevent technology distraction from becoming an addiction.

  • Body found in southeast Missouri, authorities rule homicide Posted on 21 May 2018 at 9:48am

    POPLAR BLUFF (AP) — Authorities say a man's body was found in southeast Missouri and the case appears to be a homicide.

    Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs says the body was found Sunday near a rural road in the eastern part of the county.

  • UPDATE: Public hearing to discuss more possible airport changes Monday Posted on 21 May 2018 at 8:55am

    COLUMBIA – With a new terminal on the way, comes more possible changes to Columbia Regional Airport.

    A public hearing is scheduled for Monday night's city council meeting to discuss the proposed changes.

  • UM Board of Curators votes to increase tuition Posted on 21 May 2018 at 4:44pm

    COLUMBIA – The UM Board of Curators voted Monday to increase tuition by up to 2.1 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.

    The tuition increase comes after an agreement with the state legislature, which spared the university from budget cuts. 

  • Columbia City Council reexamines water and electric systems, considers bonds Posted on 21 May 2018 at 3:41am

    COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council will address an ordinance Monday on whether to approve of a special August election on issuing water and electric bonds.

    The revenue bonds will cost around $42.85 million. The last time the city of Columbia issued a water bond was in 2008 for about $39 million.

  • Marshall standoff ends peacefully Posted on 20 May 2018 at 10:53pm

    MARSHALL - A standoff between Marshall police and an armed man ended without injury.

    According to a news release, Marshall responded around 5 p.m. Sunday to a disturbance near Kay Street.

  • Rocheport holds its first ever hall of fame Posted on 20 May 2018 at 8:09pm

    ROCHEPORT - The city of Rocheport honored two men on Sunday whose legacy has stretched across the state of Missouri.

    Charles Quarles Chandler II and Dr. William Stone Woods were both inducted into Rocheport’s new hall of fame. Woods was born in Columbia, but spent a lot of his time in Rocheport. He died in 1917. Chandler II grew up in Rocheport and died in 1943. Chandler worked in banking alongside his uncle, Woods.

  • National Safe Boating Week underway Posted on 20 May 2018 at 4:36pm

    COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is taking to social media to spread awareness of National Safe Boating Week ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

    The annual campaign spans from May 19 – 25 this year. It comes after the deaths of three people in a boat crash at the Lake of the Ozarks early Saturday morning.

  • Greitens speaks to families and firefighters at memorial Posted on 20 May 2018 at 5:05pm

    AUXVASSE - Gov. Eric Greitens spoke at the 16th annual Fire Fighters Memorial Service on Sunday.

    The service was held at Auxvasse Elementary School because of inclement weather. It was supposed to be held at the Fire Fighters Memorial in Kingdom City.

  • Columbia parks and rec gives kids prizes for playing Posted on 19 May 2018 at 7:10pm

    COLUMBIA - Children in Columbia have a chance to get paid to play.

    Columbia Parks and Recreation started its Visit Your Parks and Playgrounds Challenge. Parents and children are challenged to visit as many of Columbia's 46 parks and playgrounds as they can. This will give them a chance to win a $100 parks and recreation gift certificate.