75% of Theresa May's £50m gift to grammar schools will go to Tory districts

The UK Conservative Party has "made Britain great again" by restoring systems that use tax money to subsidise the wealthy; for example, they have revived the "grammar school" system of publicly funded schools that get to turn away students based on their test scores. Since you can improve your test scores by paying expensive tutors, grammar schools are primarily a way of letting wealthy people enjoy a parallel, publicly funded educational system. Read the rest

Teens are cyberbullying themselves as a form of self-harm

Child psychologists have observed an increasing trend in which teens cyberbully themselves, creating anonymous accounts in which they post vicious insults and slurs that seem to be directed to them by strangers. Read the rest

Kickstarting "Drawn to Sex": Oh Joy Sex Toy's sex-ed book

A couple months back, I was delighted to learn that the good, good people at Oh Joy Sex Toy were launching a sex-ed book aimed at explaining the basics, ins, outs, whats and wherefores of sex "for those looking to learn about sex and wince at our bad dad jokes." Read the rest

Jeff Sessions tells border guards to separate children from their parents

Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- who identifies himself as a Christian -- addressed an Arizona law enforcement conference about an imaginary "massive influx of illegal aliens across our Southwest Border" (something that not even Trump believes in), and told border guards that they should disincentivize such crossings by separating undocumented children from their parents in border detention. Read the rest

Britain's Great Firewall blocks access to official Disney sites, internet safety guides, VPNs, and coding sites for kids

In the decade since the UK rolled out its Great Firewall, the project of somehow dividing the entire internet into "good" and "bad" (or even "all-ages" and "adult") has run into a series of embarrassing gaffes, blocking rape crisis sites while letting through all sorts of ghastly porn -- and at every turn, the Conservative government's response has been to double down on internet censorship, expanding it from a parental filter to an opt-out porn filter, whose biggest backers have repeatedly demonstrated their technical incompetence. Read the rest

Three artificial pancreases: a special trio of Catalog of Missing Devices entries

EFF has just published an update to its Catalog of Missing Devices (a catalog of things that don’t exist thanks to the chilling effects of Section 1201 of the DMCA): a trio of ads for future artificial pancreas firmwares that illustrate the way that control over devices can magnify or correct power imbalances.

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Mom rouses sleeping son on Easter morning by tazing him: "Get up! It's Jesus' day!"

Phoenix-area mom Sharron Dobbins felt like her her teenaged son wasn't getting up quickly enough on Easter Sunday, so she tazed him in the leg while shouting "Get up! It's Jesus' day!" Read the rest

Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths

Peter & Ernesto have a good life: the two sloths sit in their Amazon treetop and make up songs about the animal shapes they see in the clouds. But one day, Ernesto gets it into his head to see the whole sky, from every place on Earth, and sets out through the jungle.

Data Defenders, a media literacy game about data collection and targeting for kids in grades 4-6

Mediasmarts (previously), a Canadian media literacy nonprofit, has just released Data Defenders, a timely video game about data collection and targeting aimed at kids in grades 4-6. Read the rest

Machine learning projects for kids

Dale Lane's Machine Learning for Kids project uses extensions to the popular Scratch programming environment to teach the basics of machine learning to children. Read the rest

Utah passes America's first "free-range kids" law

After years of free-range kids campaigning, a state legislature has taken heed: Utah just passed the Child Neglect Amendments, affirming that common activities like letting your kid walk to school or leaving them in the car while you duck into a shop are not neglect or child abuse. Read the rest

Amazing Tales: a storytelling game with dice for kids and grownups

Tim Harford (previously) turned me on to Martin Lloyd's Amazing Tales, a storytelling RPG designed to be played between a grownup games-master and one or more kids. Read the rest

Stalkerware vendor Retina-X capitulates to vigilante hacker, shuts down "indefinitely"

Retina-X sold a bunch of spyware apps (PhoneSheriff, TeenShield, SniperSpy and Mobile Spy) that they advised parents to sneak onto their kids' devices, jealous men to sneak onto their girlfriends' devices, and bosses to sneak onto their employees' devices, in order to covertly track their location data, steal their photos and videos, and spy on calls, keystrokes and texts. Read the rest

The independent experts who favorably evaluated Facebook's "Messenger Kids" were funded by Facebook

When Facebook rolled out "Messenger Kids," an IM product aimed at the 6-and-up set, it trumpeted that during the product's 18-month development cycle, it had been evaluated by child development experts in order to "safeguard" the young children it was targeting from harm. Read the rest

All's Faire in Middle School, a wonderful graphic novel about misfits, middle school and the middle ages

In 2016, Victoria Jamieson won the prestigious Newberry Honor Award for Roller Girl, a beautiful, moving, hilarious middle-grades graphic novel about friendship, girlhood and roller-derby; her 2017 followup All's Faire in Middle School will delight everyone who loved Roller Girl with a tale of Ren Faire, misfits, forgiveness and resilience.

Today's scares over smartphones are largely indistinguishable from yesterday's technology-driven moral panics

The "addictiveness of smartphones" is the latest technology moral panic, sending parents off with furrowed brows over whether theire kids' "brains are being rewired" by their phones. Read the rest

Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. Read the rest

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