After more than a year of inaction,one of those privacy-leaking kids' smart watches has been recalled in Europe

It's been a year and a half since the Norwegian Consumer Council commissioned a security audit of kids' "smart watches" that revealed that anyone on the internet could track the wearers, talk to them through their watches, and listen in on them; a year later, Pen Test Partners revealed that the watches were still leaking sensitive information, a situation that hadn't changed as of last week. Read the rest

18 months on, kids' smart watches are STILL a privacy & security dumpster-fire, and a gift to stalkers everywhere

In late 2017, the Norwegian Consumer Council published its audit of kids' smart-watches, reporting that the leading brands allowed strangers to follow your kids around and listen in on their conversations; a year later, Pen Test Partners followed up to see if anything had changed (it hadn't). Read the rest

WATCH: Two New Adam Savage #MythbustersJr episodes, 'Demolition Dominoes' and 'Gravity Defying Carl'

I've really been enjoying the new 'MythBusters Jr', Adam Savage's new science exploration show featuring... kids. Really smart awesome talented kids.

Adam Savage will be Tweeting live during tonight's two premiere episodes, and they start airing an hour early (at 8 pm ET) for parents with wee ones. Read the rest

Adorable photos of tiny baby doing super manly things

Baby Ryan doing manly things. Yes, please. Read the rest

Adam Savage is back, in 'MythBusters Jr.' on Science Channel (Wednesdays 9 pm ET/6 pm PT)

Adam Savage is back with an all-new show, and he’ll be tweeting live during tonight’s MythBusters Jr. on ⁦The Science Channel⁩. The episode is named "Battery Blast," so we're expecting there will be explodey explosions, and they're mentioning “straight as an arrow” so, pointy weapons. Read the rest

Karen Pence teaches at school that bans LGBTQ kids and staff: Report

Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, just started a new job this week. She's an art teacher at a Christian school that makes job candidates sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity. Gay kids, you're not welcome either. Read the rest

Rigorous new scientific study: Link between kids screen time and their well-being is highly overstated

In a heavy-duty new scientific paper published this week, University of Oxford researchers argue that the association between adolescent well-being and digital technology use is tiny. Really tiny. From Scientific American:

(The paper by experimental psychologist Andrew Przybylski and grad student Amy Orben) reveals the pitfalls of the statistical methods scientists have employed and offers a more rigorous alternative. And, importantly, it uses data on more than 350,000 adolescents to show persuasively that, at a population level, technology use has a nearly negligible effect on adolescent psychological well-being, measured in a range of questions addressing depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, pro-social behavior, peer-relationship problems and the like. Technology use tilts the needle less than half a percent away from feeling emotionally sound. For context, eating potatoes is associated with nearly the same degree of effect and wearing glasses has a more negative impact on adolescent mental health...

“We’re trying to move from this mind-set of cherry-picking one result to a more holistic picture of the data set,” Przybylski says. “A key part of that is being able to put these extremely miniscule effects of screens on young people in real-world context.”

Not surprisingly though, your mileage may vary. Not surprisingly, it all depends on the kid and what they're actually doing on the screen.

In a previous paper, Przybylski and colleague Netta Weinstein demonstrated a “Goldilocks” effect showing moderate use of technology—about one to two hours per day on weekdays and slightly more on weekends—was “not intrinsically harmful,” but higher levels of indulgence could be.

Read the rest

Children in Virginia's Trump supporting counties became more abusive

Kids are bigger bullies in counties that voted for the incoherent mobster.

NPR reports:

After the 2016 presidential election, teachers across the country reported they were seeing increased name-calling and bullying in their classrooms. Now, research shows that those stories — at least in one state — are confirmed by student surveys.

Francis Huang of the University of Missouri and Dewey Cornell of the University of Virginia used data from a school climate survey taken by over 150,000 students across Virginia. They looked at student responses to questions about bullying and teasing from 2015 and 2017. Their findings were published Wednesday in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

What Kids Think About Bullying And Kindness In The Trump Era In the 2017 responses, Huang and Cornell found higher rates of bullying and certain types of teasing in areas where voters favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Seventh- and eighth-graders in areas that favored Trump reported bullying rates in spring 2017 that were 18 percent higher than students living in areas that went for Clinton. They were also 9 percent more likely to report that kids at their schools were teased because of their race or ethnicity.

In the 2015 data, there were "no meaningful differences" in those findings across communities, the researchers wrote.

Read the rest

Ten years after Juneau ditched water fluoridation, kids racked up an average of $300/each in extra dental bills

It's been ten years since the people of Juneau, Alaska succumbed to conspiracy theories and voted to ruin their kids' teeth by removing fluoride from the drinking water, and it shows. Read the rest

'Toddler Star Wars Lightsaber' fight, now with Dramatic Sound

🔊Sound on! Read the rest

LEGO stop-motion short film by 8-year-old girl animator

This 8 year old is a lot more patient and creative than most adults I know. What a cool little kid-made short film. Read the rest

Scratch is hiring an executive director

Scratch creator Mitchel Resnick -- head of the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindgergarten Group -- writes, "Until now, Scratch has been developed by my research group at the MIT Media Lab. In the coming year, the Scratch Team will be moving out of MIT into a separate nonprofit organization (the Scratch Foundation). We’re looking to hire a new Executive Director to help build this organization and develop strategies to sustain Scratch as a free, creative platform." Read the rest

Carcinogens, monopolies, influence-peddling: Juul is a microcosm with everything wrong in the world

Juul just handed out $2 billion in dividends, making 1,500 employees into overnight millionaires; the cash came from Altria-Marlboro's 35%, $12.8 billion buyout of the company -- and everything about the story stinks. Read the rest

Santa Claus dies of a heart attack in front of room full of Russian children

Navigating the topic of death with a young child can be a difficult, traumatic experience for parents, especially if the topic is broached by the sudden loss of a loved one. Trying to explain death to a kid because they watched Santa Claus pass away right before their eyes? That's a higher level of awful.

According to The Moscow Times, a group of kindergarteners from Siberia were celebrating the season with a Christmas party, attended by Santa or rather, one of the jolly old fellow's Eastern European iterations, Ded Moroz. A bit of background: Ded Moroz, which translates as Father Frost, was originally celebrated/feared in pre-slavic lore as a wizard or a snow demon, and over the centuries became a central figure in the region's celebrations of the New Year and Christmas.

Anyway, back to the awful.

As part of a school play, Ded Moroz, played by 67-year-old Valery Titenko, danced his way across the stage, until he didn't. Dressed in Ded Moroz's long red, fur-fringed coat, Titenko suffered a heart attack and fell to the ground.

From the Moscow Times:

The group of kids apparently thought that Titenko’s fatal collapse was part of his skit and began giggling. A woman dressed as a clown who was also part of the skit noticed Titenko’s fall and rushed to help him.

Titenko was rushed to the hospital but died before he could get there.

According to The Moscow Times, Titenko was aware of his poor health and had been feeling dreadful earlier in the day. Read the rest

Not all "screen time" is created equal

The debates about screen time and kids are really confused: the studies have contradictory findings, and the ones that find negative outcomes in kids who spend a lot of time on their screens struggle to figure out the cause-and-effect relationship (are depressed kids using screens more because that's how they get help, or do kids become depressed if they use their screen a lot?). Read the rest

One year later: kids smart-watches are still a privacy and security dumpster fire

A year ago, the Norwegian Consumer Council commissioned a study into kids' smart watches, finding that they were incredibly negligent when it came to security and incredible greedy when it came to surveillance: a deadly combination that meant that these devices were sucking up tons of sensitive data on kids' lives and then leaving it lying around for anyone to take. Read the rest

Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch

Circuitmess's fully funded Makerphone kickstarter is raising money to produce open source hardware smartphone kits to teach kids (and grownups) everything from soldering to programming. Read the rest

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