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.”

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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.