Should Children Form Emotional Bonds With Robots?

According to this article in The Atlantic, for better and worse, toys powered by AI are becoming an intimate part of kids’ lives.

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YouTube Revamps Its Kids App

Looks like Google has responded swiftly to the article from Sunday’s NY Times highlighted yesterday in Tablettoddlers.

From the MediaPost article: Google’s YouTube has released an updated version of YouTube Kids, a version of the video app that features age-appropriate content and more restricted advertising.

The revamped app allows users to create multiple profiles for their kids. The profiles will also change as the child ages, with younger users seeing more pictures and less text, while older users get more content on the homescreen.

The new profiles will work across all devices that have the app.

Kids will also be able to set their own passcode for their profile to keep their siblings out, though parents will be able to override it. Parents will also be able to select and tailor programming for their kids when they first set up the profiles in the app.

On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters

Here’s a story from the Sunday New York Times about YouTube Kids.  The app has more than 11 million weekly viewers. But some disturbing knockoff videos have reached children, upsetting parents.  The takeaway:

“Parents and children have flocked to Google-owned YouTube Kids since it was introduced in early 2015. The app’s more than 11 million weekly viewers are drawn in by its seemingly infinite supply of clips, including those from popular shows by Disney and Nickelodeon, and the knowledge that the app is supposed to contain only child-friendly content that has been automatically filtered from the main YouTube site.  But the app contains dark corners, too, as videos that are disturbing for children slip past its filters, either by mistake or because bad actors have found ways to fool the YouTube Kids algorithms.”

My own iPad? Yeah, I’ve got that, say 42 percent of American kids

Common Sense Media, a San Francisco nonprofit that studies children’s relationship with technology, just released a survey showing an enormous spike in mobile media use by children 8 and under: Mobile is having a big impact on the youngest members of society.

The study found that nearly half of kids 8 and younger — 42 percent — have a tablet of their own, up from less than 1 percent who owned their own tablets in 2011.

 

More Than Half of Parents Told By Kids to Put Away Phones During Dinner

Recently, Comcast took a survey showing parents across the country are almost unanimous in their belief that disconnecting from devices during mealtime improves family bonding (98 percent), with nearly half (42 percent) not able to remember the last time their family had a device-free meal and some going so far as to disconnect their modems to stop their children’s Wi-Fi usage.

If this hits too close to home, check out the xFi app from Comcast.  The xFi experience can be controlled via a mobile app (iOS and Android), website, and on the TV with the X1 voice remote.  Chances are you have it as xFi is now available to more than 10 million Xfinity Internet customers with a compatible Xfinity Wi-Fi device, and comes at no extra cost.

The Texts are Coming From Inside the House

“Some parents, spouses, teenagers … are finding that texting [each other inside the same house] can sometimes actually make a household run more smoothly,” according to a Boston Globe front-pager by Beth Teitell:

  • “Tired and hungry after a day of high school and sports, Isaiah Ramsey likes to collapse on his bed, grab his phone, and place a mobile dinner order. To his mom. In the next room.”
  • “Digital natives who are accustomed to summoning everything from their phones — restaurant meals, consumer goods, Uber — are lounging in their rooms and tapping out requests for service from their parents. ‘Can you bring my charger?'”
  • “Parents who were initially horrified at the seemingly impersonal communication mode have not only made their peace with it — they’re deploying it themselves. ‘It’s the only reliable way to reach them when they’re upstairs,’ said Remi Dansinger, a mother of three … They are always looking at their phones — at Snapchat or Instagram — so they can’t pretend they don’t see my messages.'”