Police warn parents of 14 apps that could be dangerous for kids

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) – Law enforcement agencies across the country are warning parents of 14 popular apps that could put kids in danger of predators.

Police are urging parents to check their children’s phones and the apps on their devices as this is the best way to defend against possible predators.

Some tips to protect children according to police are:

  • Approve every app on your kid’s phone
  • Check their privacy settings
  • Speak with your children about phone use, app use and social media

14 apps that police say could be dangerous for children. (Source:Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office’ Facebook)

Here are the 14 apps police say parents need to be aware of:

SNAPCHAT: allows users to take pictures and videos that disappear with new features like ‘stories’ that allow users to view content for 24 hours and see your location.

KIK: allows anyone to direct message instead of text messaging and gives unlimited access to anyone, anytime.

YELLOW: allows teens to flirt with one other similar to Tinder.

HOLLA: video chat app that allows users to meet through their phones across the world in seconds.

OMEGLE: allows users to chat for free and encourages anonymous chatting with strangers.

BUMBLE: similar to Tinder, a dating app that requires women to make first contact, though kids are known to create fake accounts and falsify their age.

WISHBONE: allows users to compare photos to each other and rate one another on a scale.

CALCULATOR%: secret app that allows users to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.

ASK.FM: notorious for cyberbullying, this app encourages to anonymously message others to ask questions.

WHISPER: anonymous social media app that allows users to share secrets with others and can share users’ locations so they can meet.

BURNBOOK: allows users to post anonymous rumors through text, audio and pictures.

HOT OR NOT: allows users to rate profiles and find people in their area and chat.

LIVE.ME: live streaming app that uses geolocation to share videos so users can see the broadcaster’s location.

INSTAGRAM: one of the most popular apps among children, kids are known to use this app for fake accounts and to text since the conversation is deleted when someone leaves the chat.

These are only examples of potentially dangerous apps, and parents should monitor all apps and note if they offer messaging features.

[“source=katv”]

Facebook, Google, Amazon’s Fixes for Kids’ Tech Seem Like Baby Steps

Facebook, Google, Amazon's Fixes for Kids' Tech Seem Like Baby Steps

Facebook is adding a Sleep Mode to its Messenger Kids service to let parents limit when their kids can use it. It’s the latest concession that tech companies are making as critics question whether they should be targeting kids at all. Among their chief concerns: The effects on kids are not yet known, and companies might not have children’s best interests at heart when tech for kids is such a lucrative market.
Rather than kill the services completely, as some critics want, Facebook, Amazon and Google are mostly tinkering at the edges. That leaves open the underlying questions of whether their products truly serve a need for the youngest set and if they are good for them.

Here’s a look at the changes announced this week:

Facebook Messenger Kids
In December, Facebook created a kids-friendly version of its Messenger app. It has no ads and gives parents plenty of controls over whom their children can chat with. The thinking was that while the regular apps are designed for people 13 or over, younger kids were on it anyway. Facebook saw Messenger Kids as a way to give the younger set a safer option.

The changes: Parents can now specify the times kids aren’t allowed on — either as a one-time restriction or something recurring, such as after 9 p.m. every school night. While the app is in Sleep Mode, kids will get a message when they open it telling them so, and they won’t be able to use it.

The shortcomings: Critics say that Messenger Kids isn’t responding to a need, but rather creating one. “It appeals primarily to children who otherwise would not have their own social media accounts,” states a letter signed by 100 child development experts and advocates. Merely offering time controls falls short of killing the app completely.

YouTube Kids
Since 2015, the Google-owned service has had a child-oriented app, YouTube Kids, described as a “safer” experience for finding “Peppa Pig” episodes or user-generated videos of people unboxing toys.
Nonetheless, the company has been under fire for not vetting out computer-generated, sometimes-disturbing video, such as your favorite cartoon characters having painful dental surgery — or worse.
The nonprofit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether YouTube’s data collection and advertising practices violate federal child privacy rules.

The changes: YouTube said this week that it is overhauling its kids app so parents can limit video to those vetted by humans, rather than computers. With this option, kids can watch only a selection of children’s programming such as “Sesame Street” and PBS Kids.

The shortcomings: The old automated system is on by default, meaning parents need to actively choose the human-only option. And YouTube is continuing to show ads on its kid-focused service.
It also doesn’t help that many kids (with or without their parents) use the main YouTube site for video, meaning they miss out on both human and automated controls for kids.

Amazon Alexa
Sure, it’s fun to ask Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to fart — as many kids have discovered after parents buy an Alexa-enabled Echo speaker. But parents and childhood experts have been wondering what effects smart speakers may have on young kids, who may not quite understand whether Alexa is human and maybe learn from barking orders at her that barking orders is OK.

The changes: Alexa will soon thank kids for shouting out questions “nicely” if they say “please,” the online retail giant announced Wednesday . The new response is part of a kid-friendly update that’s coming next month, giving parents more control over the voice assistant. Adults can also set Alexa to go silent at bedtime or block music with explicit lyrics.

The shortcoming: This may be appeasing parents just enough to buy more Amazon products. After all, the company did not get to where it is today by missing out on new business opportunities. Amazon said it will now sell an $80 Echo Dot aimed at children, complete with colorful cases and a two-year warranty (regular Echo Dots are $50).

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Facebook Announces a New Sleep Mode for Messenger Kids App

Facebook Announces a New Sleep Mode for Messenger Kids App

In an effort to give more control to parents, Facebookhas launched a Sleep Mode in its Messenger Kids that will allow parents to set predetermined “off times” for the app on a child’s device. When the app is in Sleep Mode, kids cannot send or receive messages or video calls, play with the creative camera or receive notifications. If they try to open the app, they’ll see a message telling them that it’s in sleep mode and to come back later.

“Parents told us they would like controls that make the app inaccessible at a certain time, like during dinner, homework time or bedtime. We took this feedback to heart and built a feature that gives that level of control to parents,” Tarunya Govindarajan, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a blog post.

With Sleep Mode, parents can set a designated off time and each day at the designated time, the app will “go to sleep” and not be accessible to kids during those hours. The mode is controlled from the Parent Control centre in the parent’s Facebook account and the “off times” can be changed at any time.

How Messenger Kids’ Sleep Mode works

Go to the Messenger Kids controls in the main Facebook app. Tap on the child’s name, and then on Sleep Mode in the App Controls’ section. Now, set the times you want the app to turn off for your child.

You can set different times for weekdays versus weekends. Once you set the limits, the child will not be able to use the app during those hours. Parents can access all of their controls from the Messenger Kids controls in the main Facebook app.

“In addition to Sleep Mode, parents can add and remove contacts, delete the child’s account, or create a new account right from the control panel,” the post added.

Since its launch in December 2017, Messenger Kids is facing widespread criticism for encouraging children to join social media. Child health experts the world over have written to Facebook to withdraw the app designed specifically for children under the age of 13.

British Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in December warned the social media giant to stay away from his children.

“Facebook told me they would come back with ideas to PREVENT underage use of their product, but instead they are actively targeting younger children. Stay away from my kids please Facebook and act responsibly!” Hunt had posted on Twitter.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

For 13 years, Texas has been secretly, illegally denying kids special education

In 2004, under then-governor Rick Perry, the Texas Education Agency secretly instituted a plan to cap the number of students receiving special education support at 8.5% — far less than the national average.

In order to achieve this goal, the state forced teachers to illegally, systematically deny care to children, including speech therapy, psychological counseling, physical therapy, and access to therapeutic tools (for example, at least one student who was born without functional hands was denied the laptop he needed to do his schoolwork).

Many of those kids went on to drop out, but Texas also leads the country in its pipeline for kids sent to mental institutions, and the Houston Chronicle’s six-part series on the policy also documents suicides and attempted suicides.

All along — and even now — the state and the local school districts deny that the policy exists, despite the testimonies of parents, students, and long-serving principals and teachers who quit rather than go along with orders. The state and local education authorities have also illegally refused to respond to public records requests.

Despite this stonewalling and lying, the Houston Chronicle has pieced together a damning, thorough documentation of the Rick Perry legacy: tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of children who were denied the education they were entitled to, who ended up uneducated, institutionalized, overmedicated, or dead — all to save the state more than a billion dollars it was required, by law, to spend on its children. As you might expect: this policy landed disproportionately on racialized brown and black children.

Rick Perry is no longer governor of Texas: now he’s America’s problem, as Trump’s pick for Secretary of Energy.

Soon, Alston’s grades plunged. In January 2014, when he was in eighth grade, the school told his parents he was failing and at risk of being held back.

His behavior worsened, too, records show. At the beginning of ninth grade, he got suspended for shoving another student, and at the end of the year, he was suspended for threatening to bring a gun to school.

His parents were worried, but they didn’t know what to do. His mother, a correctional officer, and his stepfather, a maintenance worker, could not afford a private psychiatrist. They had to trust the school to help their son.

Then, in October 2015, Alston’s girlfriend broke up with him.

That night, he tried to overdose on his ADHD medication.

His mom caught him and took him to a hospital, where he was stabilized and eventually released.

He begged his parents to let him go to school the next day so he could attend basketball practice. They agreed, thinking a return to normalcy would be good for him.

Despite the suicide attempt, the school still did not test him for special ed.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]