Grounded teen evades device confiscation by tweeting from the smart-fridge

Dorothy is an (alleged) 15-year-old who has attained Twitter fame by hopping from device to device as her mother finds and confiscates her tools: first her phone, then her Nintendo, then her Wii U, and finally, her family smart fridge. Read the rest

How facial recognition has turned summer camp into a dystopia for campers, parents, counsellors and photographers (but not facial recognition vendors)

The Washington Post's Drew Harwell takes a deep look at the the use of facial recognition products like Bunk1 at summer camps, in a deliciously terrible piece that alternates between Bunk1's president Rob Burns and Waldo Photos's founder Rodney Rice explaining that everyone loves this and it makes everyone happy, and counsellors, parents, campers and photographers (as well as child development experts and civil libertarians) explaining how it is just fucking terrible, which Rice dismisses as "privacy hysteria." Read the rest

How Quebec's health-care system uses "vaccine whisperers" to keep "vaccine hesitancy" from turning to anti-vax

A French neonatal specialist named Dr Arnaud Gagneur has created a "vaccine counselling" program within Quebec's health-care system that uses a non-judgmental technique called "motivational interviewing" with parents of newborns to allay their fears about vaccines. Read the rest

Affluent parents surrender custody of their kids to "scam" their way into needs-based college scholarships

Propublica Illinois has identified "dozens of suburban Chicago families" who surrendered custody of their children during the kids' junior and senior years of high-school, turning them over to aunts, grandparents, friends, and cousins, so that the kids claim to be independent and qualify for needs-based scholarships, crowding out the poor kids the scholarship was designed for. Read the rest

Crowdfunding a picture book about resisting surveillance

Murray Hunter writes, "I'm a digital rights activist in South Africa - I've written and illustrated a silly, subversive kid's book about the Big Data industry, and a squiggly, wiggly robot sent out to track and profile all the babies. It's not an 'eat your vegetables' kind of book: all I wanted to do was tell a story that could delight young kids (ages 3-5) while also inviting them to imagine for the first time a secret and hidden world of data collection. I don't think it's been done yet, and - well, why not? I've just launched a crowdfunding campaign to publish it in hardcover and thought it might pique the interest of a few happy mutants. Read the rest

App-based English-language tutors say they frequently witness their Chinese students suffering brutal physical abuse by their parents

There is a booming market for app-based English-language tutors, many in the USA, who serve Chinese families where the parents are eager to have their children acquire English proficiency; these tutors are often also moonlighting teachers, or former teachers, who have been trained to spot and report signs of abuse. Read the rest

Al Jaffee's MAD Life: how a traumatized kid from the shtetl became an American satire icon

Back in 2010, It Books published Mary-Lou Weisman's biography of MAD Magazine icon Al Jaffee: Al Jaffee's Mad Life: A Biography; I missed it then but happened upon Arie Kaplan's 2011 writeup in The Jewish Review of Books this morning and was charmed by the biographical sketch it lays out. Read the rest

Teens are filling Tiktok with memes deploring #Life360, a parenting app that tracks teens

Life360 is an app that lets you track a mobile phone user in fine-grained, realtime detail, with options to set alert for things like "is this person exceeding the speed limit?" It's widely used by parents to track their teens, and this seems to be the summer where it comes into its own, with millions of families around the world relying on it to act as a kind of remote leash for their kids. Read the rest

Philadelphians debate whether parks and rec centers should use anti-personnel weapons that indiscriminately target children

The "Mosquito" is a high-pitched tone generator designed only to be audible to children and teens, and not to adults, in whose ears the nerve cells that detect these high tones have died off. Read the rest

The nine rules of "Freddish": the positive, inclusive empathic language of Mr Rogers

From an excerpt from last year's The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, the rules of "Freddish" -- as Mr Rogers' crewmembers jokingly referred to the rigorous rules that Rogers used to revise his scripts to make them appropriate and useful for the preschoolers in his audience. Read the rest

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: a sweet, simple picture book about gender identity

Theresa Thorn (co-host of the excellent parenting podcast One Bad Mother and Jesse Thorn (proprietor of the excellent Maximum Fun podcasting network) have a transgender daughter; Theresa has written a beautiful, sweet picture book about gender identity based on her experiences with her trans kid: It Feels Good to Be Yourself. Read the rest

Amazon unveils a new Echo Dot surveillance device for children

The latest addition to Amazon's line of always-on, ever-listening, networked, insecure (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) snitchy smart speakers is the new rev of the Echo Dot Kids Edition, whose "kid-friendly" Alexa is like surveillance Barbie without the pretense of being a toy. Read the rest

Massive, careful study finds that social media use is generally neutral for kids' happiness, and sometimes positive

In Social media’s enduring effect on adolescent life satisfaction, a pair of Oxford psych researchers and a colleague from Stuttgart's University of Hohenheim review a large, long-running data-set (Understanding Society, the UK Household Longitudinal Study, 2009–2016) that surveyed 12,672 adolescents at eight points over seven years. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's bold, risky, well-intentioned plan to improve health outcomes for African-American mothers giving birth

African-American women suffer a much higher level of maternal mortality than the national average, and Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bold -- but high-risk -- plan to incentivize hospitals to root out the institutional, systemic racism that produces these terrible outcomes. Read the rest

A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

Thanks to the college admissions scandal the issue of inequality and access to postsecondary education is now in our national conversation, but despite the glitz of the bribery scandal, the real issue is a much more mundane form of reverse affirmative action that allows wealthy Americans to dominate college admissions, muscling out better candidates from poorer backgrounds, especially Black students. Read the rest

SO LATE SO SOON: fun, genre-celebrating SF for young readers (of all ages!)

[Harry Tynan posts on our forums as Moose Malloy. Earlier this week, he messaged me about his fun, self-published kid's book, written as a series of bedtime stories for his kid (a tradition I'm very fond of -- it's the origin story of The Borribles!). The book is so much fun that I invited him to write a short introduction and choose a excerpt for your edification. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! -Cory]

The great Umberto Eco once wrote, in a marvellous essay about Casablanca, that "Two clichés make us laugh. A hundred clichés move us. For we sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, and celebrating a reunion." Read the rest

Serpent profiteers: how a summer camp snakebite turned into a $142,938 medical bill

Last July, a nine year old child named Oakley Yoder got bitten on the toe by a venomous snake while at summer camp in Jackson Falls, Illinois: the initial bill for her treatment came out to $142,938. Read the rest

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