COPPA, which became law in 1998, requires verifiable parental consent before a child under 13 can provide personally identifiable information to a Web site that caters to children. Expanding the law to cover teens till they're 18, according to the report, would "require Web sites to obtain more information about both minors and their parents, which runs … Read more
KidZui's closed-system browser for children upgrades to version 4, but fans of the program won't notice many changes initially. Available for Windows and Mac and as a Firefox extension, the update encompasses a range of changes, including optimization for Netbooks, client- and server-side caching, simplified animations, and a number of bug fixes. Most importantly, the program is supposed to run faster, although that was hard to judge from 10 minutes of use. It's not slower, though.
The big changes that kids and their parents will pick up on mainly involve smoother integration between the interface and the … Read more
Correction: This posting originally misstated the Internet youth growth rate and population. Internet usage among youth grew from 73 percent in 2000 to 93 percent in 2006.
The news from a new online predator study is mostly good. Researchers from the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) found only a modest increase in the number of adults arrested for solicitation of actual minors, which could be accounted for by the growth in the number of youth Internet users.
In 2006 there were 615 arrests for soliciting a real child, compared with 508 in 2000 and … Read more
There has been a dramatic growth in arrests of online predators who solicit undercover police officers, but--on a percentage basis--a significant decrease in arrests for soliciting actual kids, according to a study released Tuesday by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.
During a period where Internet use among youth increased from 73 percent to 93 percent, there was only a modest (21 percent) nationwide increase in the number of individuals arrested for soliciting real children from 508 arrests in 2000 to 615 in 2006.
To put this study into perspective and to help parents … Read more
SmartyCard, which launches at Demo 09 on Tuesday, is both compelling and disturbing. The well-crafted site, which is aimed mainly at third- to sixth-graders, is compelling because it not only engages children in fun and interesting learning activities, but it adds an element of incentive by rewarding success with points that they can use to purchase virtual or real merchandise.
That very incentive is what also makes SmartyCard disturbing.
I'm not saying that the carrot approach--giving kids rewards for doing well--can't be appropriate and effective. But I'm somehow bothered by the idea of an automated system that … Read more
Girl Ambition is a social-networking site on a mission. The site, which is aimed at 7- to 13-year-old girls, does more than provide communication tools. It also teaches values. Girl Ambition's CEO, Hilary DeCesare, says it's about boosting girls' self-esteem "to help promote positive female role models, going forward." In an interview, DeCesare says some activities focus on "liking yourself and your limitations." The site also teaches online safety, which makes it, in a sense, training wheels for teen social networks like Facebook and MySpace.
Even though we were disappointed by its brief 14-day trial period, we found this monitoring tool to be top-notch for blocking specific Internet access from children.
Right away, we were impressed by Hidetools Child Control's well-designed user interface. It's both professionally designed and very easy to navigate. Large command buttons represent different blocking options, such as Block Programs, Block Web sites, and Block Windows. Under the Block Programs option, it's easy to choose from a list of default applications. We were also able to manually add others to the list. Sure enough, all of the applications were … Read more
With so many czars running around trying to solve the nation's problems in tech, auto and drugs, perhaps Sony should consider hiring a common-sense czar.
Is there any major consumer company around that seems to understand basic customer relations less than Sony? Isn't rule No.1 in the CR manual, "Don't spy on customers?" If so, then rule 1-A must be: "Take extra care to avoid spying on customers' children."
The latest example of Sony's disconnect with the masses came this week when the company's music division was fined for surreptitiously … Read more
KidZui for Windows and Mac seems like a kid-ified browser with social networking rolled in. Children can find their favorite YouTube videos, rate content using tags, and share opinions with other KidZui friends, all from a colorful interface with big buttons and labels. KidZui is anything but a standard childrens' browser, though, and what makes it so unique is precisely why it's such a safe tool for children.
KidZui is a closed system, not filter-driven, so all content that's available has been approved by editors into a whitelist database. Children can explore the Internet by using the search/… Read more
Looking at the Alphabet Cake Pan, the first thing I think is that I would be able to bake two (or three, or four...) different cakes in one pan--at the same time. I have often wrestled with the age-old question, which type of cake should I make? Ultimately, as I wait for the whichever cake I chose, I realize I should have made both. Now, with the Alphabet Cake Pan, I can.
The pan measures 14 inches long by 8.5 inches wide and comes with 12 hollow blocks. An imprinted grid on the bottom of the pan serves as … Read more