Talking Toys Are Getting Smarter: Should We Be Worried?

From the Wall Street Journal article:

“Internet-connected talking dolls like Hello Barbie that can actually converse are bewitching kids but unsettling parents. Are they really the menace critics have made them out to be?”

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For Children, Dumbed-Down Phones May Be Smartest Option

From the NY Times post:

When children put a smartphone at the top of their wish list, remind them that they don’t need any such thing. Talking and texting may be necessary, but roving Internet access is not. So a dumbphone it is, with voice service and unlimited texting — just to show you care and are no Scrooge. Throw in a nice Qwerty keyboard as a sign of parental generosity, but no, repeat, no data plan at all.

If only it were that easy.

She Gave Her Students iPads — Then Wished She Could Take Them Back

From an eye-opening editorial by Launa Hall in the Washington Post:

“I placed an iPad into the outstretched hands of each of my third-grade students, and a reverent, tech-induced hush descended on our classroom. We were circled together on our gathering rug, just finished with a conversation about “digital citizenship” and “online safety” and “our school district bought us these iPads to help us learn, so we are using them for learning purposes.” They’d nodded vigorously, thrilled by the thought of their very own iPads to take home every night and bring to school every day. Some of them had never touched a tablet before, and I watched them cradle the sleek devices in their arms. They flashed their gap-toothed grins — not at each other but at their shining screens.

That was the first of many moments when I wished I could send the iPads back.”