I woke up Monday to the announcement that starting September 24, the XO laptop (famous as the little laptop that could) will be made available to buyers in so-called first-world countries, in quantities less than 100,000 units. In fact, for less than $400 you can give one and receive another--an excellent solution to an age-old moral dilemma.… Read more
About 8.2 million kids in the United States, or roughly a quarter of the population of 3-year-old to 17-year-olds online, will log onto a virtual world this month, according to a new report from research firm eMarketer. That number is up from 5.3 million kids last year, or 16 percent of the total population.
The numbers only go up from there. In 2008, researchers predict that 12 million kids will visit virtual worlds at least once a month, and by 2011, more than half of the audience of kids online will be residents of a simulated environment of … Read more
Text-message spam may go up this November for voter-age youth.
Turns out that young people are more likely to vote when they receive a text-message reminder, according to a new study published this month by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Michigan.
The researchers ran their test in the November 2006 election, with text reminders sent to roughly 4,000 young voters. Researchers pulled data and cell phone numbers from voter registration records at the Student PIRG's New Voters Project and Working Assets Wireless; and following the election, they matched the files to find out which registrants … Read more
I just saw today two companies that help you wake up. Stay with me, here.
First up: The dumbest idea of the year, Snoozester. You pay a monthly fee or buy credits, and then the system will call your phone and wake you up. That's right: Your phone. That device you keep by the bed. The one with an alarm clock built in to it.
In Snoozester's defense, it will try harder to wake you up that your phone will: There's an option that will force you to indicate you're awake by pressing a specific key. … Read more
I'm at that age where most of my friends are starting families, so I find myself shopping for a lot of baby stuff. In fact, I've developed a bit of a reputation for giving the kind of wildly impractical baby gifts that only a non-parent would buy. But the Squirt baby food dispensing spoon just might help salvage my reputation as a gift-giver. Parents can fill the bright orange bulb with up to three ounces of baby food, then secure the spoon on the end. A squeeze of the bulb dispenses a bite of food onto the spoon, … Read more
A group of kids from one of our local elementary schools has formed a "mini-laptop club." They don't use electronic machines. Instead, these first-, second- and third-graders draw their own laptops on construction paper and pretend to e-mail each other. They dedicate a surprising amount of time to this activity. I once had a chance to examine one of their "keyboards." I was fascinated to learn which Internet functions had sunk into the minds of these kids, who are just getting their first exposure to computers from watching their parents work, and from using kid-friendly sites. Follow the page jump to see one of their designs.… Read more
Now that kids around the country are heading back to school, parents have plenty of things on their minds. Thankfully, there are loads of clever products that can make it easier to get healthy, fun lunches out the door--and actually consumed. We put together a list of a few that might make lunches easier to plan for.
A poll of the parents in our newsroom is pretty much unanimous. The apple slicer was sent straight from heaven. It turns apples from loathesome fruit to scrumptious little snackers in one swift motion. This one from Leifheit goes for $14.95 on … Read more
The upcoming reality show Kid Nation was designed to show what happens when 40 children, ages 8 to 15, are thrown together in a desert "ghost town" to manage their own community for 40 days. Parents and commentators across the country are appalled by the idea that the kids were left largely unsupervised, and that some were injured in mishaps including four children who drank bleach and one who was burned in the face with hot grease.
Parents already have a way to monitor kids' phone calls and text messages, and soon they might have the means to track children wearing school uniforms.
An English manufacturer of uniforms is considering adding satellite tracking devices to its line of school clothing so that parents can locate their child's whereabouts at all times, according to an article from the Daily Telegraph in Australia. The manufacturer, Lancashire-based Trutex, believes there is a demand for such clothing. In a recent survey of its own, the company found that 59 percent of 800 parents surveyed were interested in buying uniforms with … Read more
On Tuesday, NASA astronaut Barbara Morgan made a call from the International Space Station to a group of science students in Idaho, giving them a 20-minute lesson on life in space from 200 miles above Earth.
The call was a reminder of the last teacher to attempt an orbital trip nearly 20 years ago, as The New York Times points out here (subscription required). In 1986, Morgan was the backup "education astronaut" for Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who was killed when the shuttle Challenger broke up 73 seconds into the flight.
Morgan, who was formerly a teacher at … Read more