Category Archives: tech

Mom gamers

Moms who are gamers is a new initiative on the diversity front.

Networks that encourage women in the gaming industry to share their experiences are helping to even the playing field among parents.

Girls and boys who grow up as gamers might not understand that a concerted effort has been needed to insure gender diversity for their moms.

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Linking to wish lists

Did your child forward a holiday wish list to your phone?

Sending links to coveted Christmas gifts is coming naturally to the current generation of digi-kids. And marketers are responding.

Holiday ad budgets are being spent on Snapchat, YouTube Kids and other mobile apps targeted to kids. Many of the ads are personalized with customized messages.

The shift to digital ads makes sense: nearly half of 10-12 year olds have their own smartphones.

The big “t” in STEM

Holiday shoppers looking for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) toys will discover interactive playthings have shifted in a couple of ways.

As the STEM market has matured and competition has increased, prices have gone up. Buyers will spend more, because many view STEM products as more than a toy. Developing core skills is seen as an investment in a child’s future.

Second, there’s a stronger overlay of technology. Science and math are still primary. However, because many parents anticipate that future jobs will require some tech aptitude, look for a stronger emphasis on games and toys to enhance technological skills.

Growing up with Alexa

How would you describe your child’s relationship with Alexa?

That will be a key question as today’s children are the first to grow up with artificial intelligence (AI). Whether it’s Siri, Alexa or others, educators are beginning to gather data on how AI is impacting infant language development and patterns, plus relationships with personified technology and humans. Heavy stuff.

The future has arrived.

Silent cells

“No cell from bell to bell” has become far more prevalent at high schools this year.

Students are typically told to put cells on silent and store in backpacks during the day, although some schools are allowing phone use during lunch. Parent messages come through the school office.

At least one reputable study concluded that banning phone usage in schools leads to higher test scores for multiple reasons, including the fact that students are less distracted. I’m wondering if we’ll see a decrease in cyber bullying, too.

Safety nets?

After each big data breach or hack, concerns are naturally raised about safety.

But one area that rarely receives a shout-out are the apps parents use to track kids. Yes, the apps help parents, but also give access to children’s phones.

Are there any foolproof ways to keep kids safe?

Smart speaker interpretations

Can Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s Siri understand your child?

Young children, who are just learning to articulate, often end up laughing at the way smart speakers interpret their language.

Reviewers indicate that Amazon’s Echo Dot might be better at responding correctly through accents and mis-pronunciations.