Parents on the lookout for carefree, unintimidating ways to urge the sprout of their young kids' creativity ought to take a look at Ten Amazing Fruits. As the product name suggests, Ten Amazing Fruits stars a sampling of botanical characters, including the frequently miscast tomato (hurrah!) These are not, however, your garden-variety fruits. Each outsize organic possesses arms, feet, and a blank face upon which children can attach, Mr. Potato Head-style, a variety of digital features and appendages. A posh voice recites object names when the cursor mouses by, but a quick trip to the options can put an end … Read more
Common Sense Media, a pro-families group, said Wednesday that it launched a national campaign to help educate parents and teachers about the effect of digital media on kids and teens. The campaign, called the Digital Kids Task Force, will develop education programs, technology to help kids learn online, and a research program to study the Web's impact on children.
The task force was unveiled in partnership with former Federal Communications Commission chairmen Michael Powell, Will Kennard, and Newton Minow, according to Common Sense. Other founding members of the group include Gary Knell, CEO of the Sesame Workshop; former California … Read more
Tense, nervy parents, it's time to relax. Kids Web Menu is a new, free solution for letting young kids surf the 'Net, chaperon-free.
How is that possible with all the dangers! And predators! And viruses out there!? By strictly limiting the tykes to 40 preapproved partner sites, that's how. Kids Web Menu takes the sandbox approach in an icon-rich app that lets parents approve content, and password-protect their choices. What's left for children is an interactive layout of either slowly rotating 3D blocks or a scrapbook where apps appear like photos, such as Webkinz, Sports Illustrated for … Read more
Two-thirds of parents say that they are uncomfortable with their children participating in online communities, and roughly half of them say that online predators are a threat, according to a new study from the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. The group has conducted an annual review of the effect of Web technology on America since 2000 by interviewing the same 2,000-plus people around the country. But this was the first year it asked about perceptions of predators and social sites.
Jeffrey Cole, director of the center, said that despite those concerns, parents' … Read more
Among the overflowing handful of MP3 players that iRiver is bringing to the U.S. is the Disney-branded MPlayer (Season II), a supersmall and cute MP3 player shaped like Mickey Mouse's head. Although the MPlayer has been floating around the Web for some time now, I've never seen it for sale in the States. The latest version will come in a rainbow of colors and is set to hit a virtual retail shelf near you in Q1 of 2008. The player is screenless and supereasy to use--it's an obvious choice for introducing your little ones to the … Read more
There's certainly nothing wrong with the concept of baby monitors; it's the eye part that we object to. It just seems wrong to introduce surreptitious monitoring in the form of something so innocent as a crib-side flower, much less one that has an unsettling eyeball in the middle of it.
I've been writing (parent.thesis) for about six months now, and the New Year seems like a good time to reflect on the themes that have developed. I love technology, and at the same time, I am cautious when it comes to kids and tech. Here are the three issues that are really bugging me right now:
Disconnect between product design and online safety Commercialization of kids online Information control, privacy, and data mining
Christmas is getting close, and if you have any kids in your family they've probably spent the last month (or lifetime) asking you for video games. Not all games are created equal, though, and some simply shouldn't be given to your 10-year-old son, daughter, niece, or nephew. Many of the top-rated and most popular games this year are rated "M" for Mature by the ESRB. That means those games are bloody, violent, and can contain Objectivist overtones. On the other hand, there are still plenty of games rated E for Everyone that your kid will really … Read more
On Thursday BBC News gave us a child's view of the $100 laptop. The article reads like a techie version of Jim Carrey's breakout movie The Mask, with Rufus Cellan-Jones as the star. The laptop, which came by way of Nigeria, unleashes incredible intuition and abilities in young Cellan-Jones:… Read more
Kids online safety advocates got their hackles up last week after the passage of a House bill that aims to channel $25 million over five years to one provider of online safety materials. Critics say that the measure is unfair to other child safety organizations and could impede competition and promote mediocrity in the field.
The bill, H.R. 4134, was passed by voice vote last week, less than a week after California Democrat Linda Sanchez introduced the legislation, according to National Journal's Technology Daily.
The legislation, which hasn't been introduced in the Senate yet, would grant Carlsbad, … Read more