That Study Showing Kids Sprouting Horns is Probably Bogus

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Beth Mole reminds us that scientific studies are more nuanced than a sensationalized news story. The Washington Post wrote about a study showing kids sprouting horns because of bad posture, and phones were to blame. But it’s probably bogus.

Perhaps the most striking problems are that the study makes no mention of horns and does not include any data whatsoever on mobile devices usage by its participants who, according to the Post, are growing alleged horns. Also troubling is that the study authors don’t report much of the data, and some of the results blatantly conflict with each other.

YouTube Under Federal Investigation Over Children’s Privacy

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The U.S. government is investigating YouTube for allegedly violating children’s privacy.

The complaints contended that YouTube, which is owned by Google, failed to protect kids who used the streaming-video service and improperly collected their data in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a 1998 law known as COPPA that forbids the tracking and targeting of users younger than age 13.

Mattel’s New Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit in Apple Stores

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Mattel’s new Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit is available exclusively in Apple Stores. Vehicles cost US$6.99, the Race Portal is US$39.99, and the Smart Track Kit is US$179.99.

With the Hot Wheels Smart Track Kit, Hot Wheels id vehicles can be raced on a track that incorporates digital tracking elements through an app on the iPhone or iPad. The system allows users to keep track of speed, count laps, build a digital garage, and more, providing a mix of physical and digital play.

YouTube Bans Minors From Streaming Unless an Adult is Present

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In a blog post today, YouTube announced new policies when it comes to minors. YouTube bans minors from live streaming without an adult present, and comments on videos featuring minors have been disabled.

The vast majority of videos featuring minors on YouTube, including those referenced in recent news reports, do not violate our policies and are innocently posted — a family creator providing educational tips, or a parent sharing a proud moment. But when it comes to kids, we take an extra cautious approach towards our enforcement and we’re always making improvements to our protections.

Google Assistant Can Read Your Kids a Bedtime Story

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If you have Google Assistant and the latest version of Google Play Books on your iOS device, it can now read your kids a bedtime story.

Ahead of National Tell a Story Day taking place on Saturday, youngsters now have more ways to hear a bedtime tale. As of today, the feature will be available on iOS and Android phones in English in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and India.

Sounds like a great feature. When I asked Siri to read me a bedtime story, she said: “Next you’ll be asking me for a glass of milk. And a dark matter cookie.” Damnit Siri, that doesn’t even make sense.

TikTok Fined 5.7M Over Illegal Data Collection of Kids

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TikTok is being fined US$5.7 million over allegations that it “illegally collected images, voice recordings, and geolocation of children, some younger than 13.”

The amount, part of an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday, is the largest civil penalty ever issued by the agency in a child privacy case. FTC commissioners Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter also filed a separate statement calling for TikTok executives to be held accountable in any future cases. “In our view, these practices reflected the company’s willingness to pursue growth even at the expense of endangering children,” the statement read.

Pinna Gets Your Kids into Podcasts and Audiobooks

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Meghan Moravcik Walbert writes how she introduced her son to podcasts and audiobooks with a streaming service called Pinna.

I’ve been wanting to introduce him to podcasts for some time. He’s the sort of kid who plays while he watches TV, so he tends to listen to a show more than fully watch the show. Plus, he loves to read and create his own comic books, so storytelling in general is something that he, like most kids, is very much into.

Stephen Fry Voices Einstein in Human Heroes Game

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Stephen Fry voices Einstein in a game that launched on iOS recently. Einstein on Time is the first in a children’s educational app series—Human Heroes—centered on history’s greatest minds. From the philosophers of ancient Greece, to the giants of science, renowned artists, composers, mathematicians, authors and architects – these inspirational characters are brought back to life in a futuristic theatrical setting to perform a captivating live-show experience covering their life and their famous discoveries. In addition to the educational value of the subjects covered in each individual app, the series aims to develop a deep-lasting bond between the user and these intellectual champions so that they become life-long role models for children. Created by edtech startup KalamTech and in collaboration with education experts, the app blends computer generated animations, latest gamification techniques and interactive storytelling to bring a fresh kind of learning experience to the next generation. App StoreUS$3.99

Stephen Fry Voices Einstein in Human Heroes Game

This Smart Insect Farm Acts as a Composter

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Hive Explorer is a smart insect composter that empowers you to recycle your food waste into fertilizer and proteins with the superpower of mealworms. All while learning how you can help create a healthy planet. Bringing nature indoors in a safe, regulated way allows grown-ups and kids to start growing precious products on food waste and start exploring the fascinating life of the Hive inhabitants (mealworms) easily. The Hive holds open source technology that controls the climate and micro-ecosystem for the insects. All lifestages of the mealworm are grown in the Hive. It is a continuous loop system of efficient food and fertilizer production. Almost everything edible in your house can be converted by the Hive Explorer! Potato or carrot peels, apple cores, bread crumbs, you name it! Mealworms are ferocious eaters and you can see the process happening right before your eyes! Because they eat it right away, it won’t start smelling like your typical biowaste. This smart insect composter is available on Kickstarter at a pledge of US$136 or more.

This Smart Insect Farm Acts as a Composter

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures Updated Alongside Show

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An app called Barbie Dreamhouse adventures, named after a Netflix show of the same name, was updated to coincide with season 2 of the show that came out yesterday. Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures lets players create their very own Barbie Dreamhouse experience. Hang out with Barbie Roberts as she shares her tech-savvy home and real-time family life with viewers around the world. Rummage through her closet alongside her friends and help her get camera ready for her next vlog, and many more fun activities. You can help her design every room with wallpapers and decorations. Activities include dancing, music, pool parties, selfies, fashion parties, and a lot more. The popular iOS version, which debuted on the App Store last month, has already hit the #1 spot for Top iPad Kids App in 100+ countries.  App Store: Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures – Free

Plugo is an AR STEM Gaming System for Kids

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Plugo is an immersive AR STEM gaming system for kids, and right now it’s a Kickstarter project. Plugo comes with four gaming kits: Quest, Count, Link, and Steer. Designed for kids between the ages of 5 and 11 years, each kit comes with many exciting educational games that are conceptualized to make your child learn, play and have fun—all at the same time. The gamepad is compatible with multiple iOS and Android (Samsung) tablets and smartphones, iPad, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and more. No wires, no electronics or additional hardware; the gaming system requires minimum effort to set-up and play. The project has met its goal of US$25,000. Rewards start at US$35 and the estimated delivery is March 2019.

Plugo is an AR STEM Gaming System for Kids