Amazon’s Alexa: An Exasperated Parent’s Guide

From the Wall Street Journal post:

“When young children have free rein over Alexa, Amazon’s voice-enabled virtual assistant, high jinks inevitably ensue. Heed these tips on managing the mayhem.”

Keep Alexa Family-Friendly
Limit Her Power
Lay Down Ground Rules
Teach Respect for ‘Elders’
Strengthen Bonds



Get Qurious Maker Box Introduces Kids to Augmented Reality Play

The Get Qurious Maker Box is an interactive AR experience offering tactile game play for children ages 4 to 9. The game, from Los Gatos, California startup Get Qurious, uses physical game cards to trigger animated stories to run on the iPad. For instance, a kid holding up a card with a cartoon pig on it spurs the Maker Box app to spin an interactive version of “The Three Little Pigs.” The Maker Box also includes a Puzzle Builder activity and reusable stickers that can be applied to alter the course of the unfolding story.


Rules for Social Media, Created by Kids

From the NY Times:

“Parents often feel as if their children’s smartphones are portals to another world — one that they know little to nothing about. A study released last month found that fewer than half of the parents surveyed regularly discussed social media content with their tween and teenage children.

But parents need to know that their child’s peers have created their own set of rules for social media, and that they should ask their kids about them. What are you “allowed” to post, and what seems to be off-limits? Are the rules the same for boys and girls? Why or why not? Can you show me an example of a “good” post, or a “bad” one? Does social media ever stress you out (and can you give yourself a break)? How can kids in your group make group texts or social media nicer for everyone?”

This Education Startup is Teaching Kids How to Spot Fake News

From the Business Insider post:

Jennifer Coogan puts it bluntly: If adults can’t be trusted to spot fake news, how can we expect kids to know when they’re getting duped? Coogan, editor-in-chief of education startup Newsela, believes children need a middle man to show them the way.

Newsela’s primary focus is helping kids boost their literacy skills through online news articles, but in the months since the presidential election the company has taken on a more civic-minded role. Across its user base of more than one million American teachers — which represent roughly 75% of American K-12 schools — it wants to mold students into responsible consumers of news.

surprised kid girl

Amazon Alexa Hears TV Report, Orders Dollhouses For Owners

Tablettoddlers came across a story about a youngster who accidentally ordered a pricey toy through Amazon’s Alexa device. Now that story has prompted orders for unwanted dollhouses after a San Diego station repeated the story to their audience. Earlier this week the Amazon device made Dallas girl, 6-year-old Brooke Neitzel’s dollhouse dreams a reality. “Alexa ordered me a dollhouse and cookies,” Brooke explained to CBS 11. According to CW6 in that city, their morning show anchor Jim Patton commented on the story and said “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.’” The station reports that after Patton uttered those words “viewers all over San Diego started complaining their echo devices had tried to order doll houses.”

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