Apple Defends Its Smartphone Practices for Children

Apple Inc. defended its record of providing parental controls and other protections for children who use its iPhones and other devices, after a pair of prominent investors called on the tech giant to take more steps to curb the ill effects of smartphones. In a statement, Apple said that its mobile software includes extensive parental controls governing different types of content and applications, noting that it started offering some of them as early as 2008.

For more, check out this Wall Street Journal article.

A baby girl plays with a cellphone while riding on the New York subway. Two major Apple investors have urged the iPhone maker to take action to curb growing smartphone use among children, highlighting growing concern about the effects of gadgets and social media on youngsters.

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Why These Friendly Robots Can’t be Good Friends to our Kids

From the BostInno Beat newsletter:

Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor of social studies, wrote a piece for The Washington Post about why she has concerns about the impact friendly robots like Jibo, which is made by the Boston startup of the same name, could have on children. Turkle is uniquely qualified to talk on this subject, based on the research with social robots and children she conducted with Jibo founder Cynthia Breazeal in 2001: “The children took the robots’ behavior to signify feelings. When the robots interacted with them, the children took this as evidence that the robots liked them. And when the robots didn’t work on cue, the children likewise took it personally. Their relationships with the robots affected their state of mind and self-esteem.”

How to Choose the Best Apps for Your Kids

From the NY TImes post:

“Educational tech is still a new field, but parents don’t have to be lost when their kids come asking them to install something new.”

Few parents have the time to assess every app their child wants to download on these criteria, but they can follow some general guidelines. After skimming an app’s ratings and searching for reviews and forum discussions, consider these tips:

Who made the app?

Trust the Experts

Does the app have advertising or in-app purchases?

Does the app protect your child’s privacy?

Does the app seem right for your child in particular?

Does the app do something only an app can do?

Balance, balance, balance: everything in moderation

You can’t beat ’em, so join ’em

Facebook Rolls Out Messenger App for Kids Under 13

Facebook has launched its Messenger Kids app, geared toward children under 13. The messaging app allows parents to set up the account and approve their children’s contacts. The company says that the free app has no ads or in-app purchases. It was released as a preview on iOS devices and will be available to a larger audience at a future date. “We’re going to see how kids are using it, and that will allow us to add updates in future versions as necessary,” a Facebook spokeswoman said. Under current law, people under 13 cannot legally sign up for Facebook.

A Digital Whizz-Kid Asks ‘What’s a Computer?’ in Apple’s Spot for IPad Pro

From the Ad Age post with link to video –

The latest iPad film from Apple just about sums up how life is for kids today: their world is digital, but they don’t know what a “computer” is.

The beautifully shot ad follows a day in the life of a young independent girl who sets out to explore with only an iPad Pro and her bike. Along the way, she chats to a friend and virtually signs his plaster cast, uses Apple Pencil to turn a puddle into an aquatic scene, compiles a quick newsletter and flips through a comic strip.

At the end of the spot, her mom asks her “What are you doing on your computer?” “What’s a computer?” she asks innocently. It’s charming. And scary. What’s more, she’s lying on the grass next to an Apple logo.