Your Kids & the Internet

The latest news & views about your kids online. What's good, what's bad, and what you can do about it

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Although nearly one in two Swiss primary school kids owns a smartphone, their favourite activities remain playing outside, sports and meeting friends, says a nationwide survey. They also spend half the time on gaming and watching television as their counterparts in the United Kingdom.
Isobel Leybold-Johnson / SWI
At eleven years-old, Zach Marks wasn't allowed to go on Facebook due to the dangerous nature of predators, trolling, and cyberbullying. His solution? A social media platform "created for kids, by kids." Now at 17 years-old, Zach Marks, with the help of his entire family, have created GromSocial, a social media network comprising of over 15 million users, all in a safe, G-rated online atmosphere.
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Privacy activists have called for more transparency and parental control over web monitoring in British schools after a survey indicated that almost half track their students online. Defend Digital Me, a children's privacy campaign group, teased (PDF) the survey's findings - which will be published in full in its State of Data 2018 report later this month - at an event in Parliament last night.
The internet age may be taking over but books are still a hit with Southland's kids. This was illustrated when more than 40 Year 4 students from St Patrick's School in Invercargill received tailor-made children's dictionaries, complete with pictures, from the Rotary Club of Invercargill North on Tuesday.
"Initially, helicopter parenting appears to work," says Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult. "As a kid, you're kept safe, you're given direction, and you might get a better grade because the parent is arguing with the teacher." But, ultimately, parents end up getting in the child's way.
What's the best way to keep adults from questioning the use of a deeply problematic product? Get them started when they're too young to question anything. Amazon has a new addition to its line of voice-commanded artificial intelligence Alexa assistants, marketed for use by children as young as 5 years old, who can barely grasp a box of juice, let alone digital privacy.