November 4th, 2022

Is Messenger Kids OK for your kids? Sort of. Here’s what you should know. Messenger Kids is an app designed for children for messaging and video calls that runs on Fire tablets and iOS and Android phones and tablets. This free app is from Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), which designed Messenger Kids so parents can control its settings. The target audience is kids, which Meta wants to bring into its platform…... Continue reading >

October 21st, 2022

Video games can be fun, entertaining, and educational. But gaming also has its problems, exposing young players to health risks and introducing them to bad habits that can be difficult to break. Taken to excess, they can become the Danger Games. Parents of kids who like to play video games—either on a console or on their phones—should be aware of those risks. At the top of the list: addiction. The founder of a company…... Continue reading >

October 14th, 2022

Here’s one smart and easy move to bolster your privacy that you can make right now. On your phone, go into your settings and look for Privacy. On iPhones, you’ll find a Tracking button. Tap it. And then you’ll find a toggle and the phrase “Allow Apps to Request to Track.” Switch that toggle to the off position. As in “No.” Tracking doesn’t benefit you. On Android phones, you should find the option to “Delete advertising…... Continue reading >

October 7th, 2022

That headline says it all, really. The New York Times recently published an essay by William Siu, founder of company that develops online games, in which he says he won’t let his own children play the video games he helped create. Citing concerns about addiction, he writes, “as a gaming entrepreneur in the United States for 13 years and a father of two young daughters, I don’t think parents are doing enough to protect kids from the…... Continue reading >

September 28th, 2022

Be honest, parents. You’ve heard of Twitch, but you have no idea what it is. That’s OK. You’re hardly alone. Here’s a primer. The basics Put simply, Twitch is a gaming platform that allows users to livestream the video games they’re playing. According to Windstream, Twitch hosts at least 15 million visitors on average every day, with more than 3 million of those being creators sharing their gameplay. ... Continue reading >

August 18th, 2022

In a welcome bit of news, Snapchat is letting parents in the proverbial room. The company announced recently the launch of Family Center, an in-app tool that allows parents to see who their kids are chatting with and to more easily report suspicious accounts. In a statement, the company said, “Family Center is designed to reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world, where parents usually know who their teens are…... Continue reading >

August 4th, 2022

It isn’t your kid’s job to influence anyone but you. So think twice before making your kid the star of your social media feeds. This recent CNET piece points out the perils of turning your kid into an influencer. It sacrifices their privacy and it puts them at risk. “Sharents,” parents who regularly share information and images about their kids, need to be aware of those risks. As one expert cited in the piece put it, “When…... Continue reading >

July 28th, 2022

TikTok’s “Blackout Challenge” is the kind of trend you hope your kids steer well clear of. Dangerous and sometimes deadly, it’s the dark flipside to the comparatively innocent viral challenges—remember the ice buckets?—of years before. Unlike those video memes, often started as publicity-awareness campaigns, this one has nothing noble in its roots. It does, however, offer an important reminder: Social media can be as risky as it is engaging. TikTok, in case, somehow,…... Continue reading >

July 20th, 2022

To understand the Dark Web, understand this: The Internet can be a weird place. So weird, that it’s got a bizarro version where none of the normal rules apply. You can think of it as a parallel universe or an alternate dimension, but it has a name: The Dark Web. Here’s what you should know about it. The Dark Web is a shadow version of the Internet, where there are good actors and bad…... Continue reading >

June 19th, 2022

We aren’t the only ones trying to blow the whistle, raise the flag, and holler from the hilltops. NPR and the Washington Post are sounding the alarm, too: App-builders are finding ways to track your kids, even though they know they’re not supposed to. On a recent episode of NPR’s Fresh Air, Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler explained just how tech companies exploit loopholes in privacy laws to gather data on kids. ... Continue reading >