News Digest, January 2016

News Digest, January 2016

This is why tech toys are dangerous

Toys are dangerous. No, I’m not talking about toys with sharp edges, toxic materials or small parts that constitute choking hazards. I’m talking about hacking — a new threat to the safety of children. Last week, the risk got real. Of course, smart and connected toys can be fun for kids — and safe, too. But as we learned last week, the new generation of toys can pose serious risks.

Mike Elgan, Computerworld

Laws to protect kids from online dangers

Viet Nam will make efforts to better protect children from on-line dangers with new laws, said an official.Dang Hoa Nam, head of the the Department of Child Protection and Care, said in a conference held in Ha Noi recently that from early next year to 2020, the country will carry out a children protection project for the internet environment.


At school and at home, how much does the Internet know about kids?

Children’s personal information isn’t supposed to be an online commodity. But whether kids are using Google apps at school or Internet-connected toys at home, they’re generating a stream of data about themselves. And some advocates say that information can be collected too easily and sometimes, protected too poorly.

npr All tech considered

The app that escapes parental control

Sharing their deepest anxieties, secret crushes, vulgar assessments of their classmates and even violent threats all without adults being able to look in because it is designed to be accessible only to teenagers. This is the purpose of the new After School app. Millions of teenagers in the U.S. high schools are using it, but parents and teacher are more and more concerned because, envisioned as a safe space for high schoolers to discuss sensitive issues without having to reveal their names, After School has in some cases become a vehicle for bullying, crude observations and alleged criminal activity. Apple pulled the app from its store but a new version was released in April, promoting a long list of enhanced safety features, including a fast-response system that contacts authorities if a threat is detected.

Beatrice Credi, West Info

The pain’s real

Bullies are taking their destructive behaviour out of the real world and into a virtual one. Child experts explain why emotional pain is just as damaging as physical harm, if not worse.

Christina Chin, The Star

SuperAwesome, Poki online games develops safe ads platform for kids, ensures VTech Hack won’t happen again

London-based SuperAwesome collaborated with the Poki online games to develop AwesomeAds that offers a safe advertisement program for kids.

Venture Beat reported that the project targets the U.S. family gamers and aims to provide a safer advertisement campaign for children. The new digital advertising platform makes sure that kids will not be lead to ads that violates privacy regulations. This only shows that the digital kids market is a growing industry and is seen to go up to $2 billion by 2018.

Venture Capital Post

ISIS using kittens to recruit school kids in sick online messages

A British ISIS jihadist is attempting to recruit schoolchildren by using secret internet messages featuring kittens. Omar Hussain, who is a known ISIS recruiter working in Syria, has been posting sick online messages using images of cute cats. The former security guard at Morrisons in High Wycombe is reportedly using an encrypted smartphone app to post his vile lectures. Experts fear the messages could brainwash impressionable youngsters. In one, he posted a picture of a tiny kitten inside an explosive belt with the words: “Come closer and I’ll blow the entire house down!”.

Anthony Bond,

Online candy games make kids eat more

Parents, take note! Children tend to consume more calories after playing online games that involve food, a new study has found. Researchers found that shortly after playing a game with an embedded food advertisement, children ate 55% more of the candy offered to them than children who had played a game with an embedded toy advertisement.

The Times of India

If you’ve just bought a new PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Wii U for your kids this Christmas, here are the things you need to know before handing it over

So it’s Christmas and you’ve bought your kids a video game console – for a few sweet hours you’re going to be the greatest parent on the face of the planet. Congratulations.

But, to be honest, your work has only just begun. Like any new technology, you can’t just let them get on with it – even if the mere sight of a games controller sends shivers of terror (or boredom) down your spine. You need to step up and take an active part in this. Giving a console is like giving a pet: it’s a long term commitment and it can be tricky and demanding. But at least a console won’t pee on your carpet when it gets over-excited.

Keith Stuart, The Guardian

YouTube Kids, Disney promise safe online spaces for kids, but experts say buyer beware

Tis the season for new tech gifts, downloading cool apps and seeing everyone — kids included — glued to our favourite companions: tablets and smart phones. A fresh suite of apps and online tools, such as YouTube Kids and Disney’s Circle, are promising to help busy parents, making the online experience safer, for instance, or even limiting your kids’ screen time for you.

CBC news

Is Minecraft good or bad for kids?

Minecraft is one of the best video games for learning. It’s also one of the most likely to provoke overuse and get kids over-involved. Knowing where to draw the line involves learning what your kids are getting out of it, as well as where their individual limits should be.

Penny Williams, WNC Parent contributor, Citizen-Times

Sick videos show school kids punching and kicking each other in new online craze promoting violence

Schoolchildren are being encouraged to film each other fighting in a sick craze sweeping social media.
Pupils are posting videos of them punching, kicking and scratching each other to jeers from onlookers.
The videos, posted on Instagram , show pupils often fighting in their uniforms. Their faces weren’t pixelated and the names of the school and the children involved in it were posted in the comments. Worried parents raised the alarm after seeing the vicious videos featuring pupils in the Liverpool area.

Kate Samuelson, Daily Record

Privacy group says Google tracks your school children online

The Electronic Frontier Foundation claims Google collects information when school kids use Chromebooks and Google apps, and the potentially sensitive data could eventually make its way into the hands of third-party advertisers.

Bill Snyder, CIO

Cyberbullying increases with mobile phone usage

Instant messaging programs are more dangerous than social media. Values, education and teaching teenagers social skills, good ways to fight against cyberbullying.

Evangelical Focus