Apps

You are here

Apps Used in Schools Cause Some Debate

School use of technology and applications that track student data, such as electronic hall passes and education software, has been raising privacy concerns from parents and other education experts . While privacy has been improving in some of these programs and applications, anonymous information may still be sold. Heather Kelly, counsel and director of privacy review at Common Sense Media in The Washington Post says that it is important parents are aware of the policies that deal with their childrens’ data.

“Grandkids on Demand”

A number of tech startup companies are using social media to foster face-to-face connections and combat loneliness and social isolation among seniors. One example is Papa, a Miami-based health care firm that connects aging seniors with college students through a mobile app and other digital tools. Papa has partnered with health insurers such as Aetna, Alignment Healthcare and Priority Health to offer its "grandkids on demand" service to some Medicare Advantage members. “Papa Pals,” as the 3,500 college, nursing and pre-med students who have become part of the program are called, pair up with older adults who need assistance with transportation, house chores, technology lessons, and other services. Papa Pals have to submit to a stringent background check, a personality test, a virtual interview, a motor vehicle inspection and even a test of the tonality of their voice to ensure they have the kind of personality the service is looking for with a Papa Pal. With the strict guidelines, only 15% of applicants actually make it into the program.

FTC Sets Sights Set On Updating Children’s Online Privacy

Following its $170 million settlement with YouTube for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations, the Federal Trade Commission has its sights set on updating the law meant to safeguard children’s online privacy. A recently hosted public workshop explored necessary revisions, and Isaac Mamaysky of the Potomac Law Group writes that educational technology companies and parents will need to pay close attention to changes. Parents should also read the public service announcement issued by the FBI regarding the risks of kids’ personal data being improperly or insecurely stored by companies that develop and host apps for children.

TikTok Safety Tips

TikTok, the app for short form videos that tweens are flocking to, has had some issues parents should be aware of, including leaky privacy settings and inappropriate comments. If your tween is active on the app you may want to take at look at these TikTok safety tips that appear on the Common Sense Media site. One thing to especially be aware of - unlike other apps, TikTok requires a special code to delete the app so don’t think it is gone until you check.

Physician Uses Social Media to Fight Vaping

According to ABC News, family medicine resident Rose Marie Leslie is spreading the word about the dangers of vaping by sharing short videos on TikTok, a social media platform popular with adolescents and young adults. Leslie shares side-by-side X-ray images from patients with healthy and vaping-damaged lungs, and although she has received some criticism, Leslie has also fielded requests for more information.

App Expands Reach of Books to Kids Everywhere

Students in developing countries can use a free app called Library for All to access books and other resources that would otherwise not be available to them. Rebecca McDonald of Australia created the app after volunteering for hurricane relief work in Haiti in 2010. She says the books, available through the app, are authored by local writers and illustrators, allowing students to read books in their own languages. The books and educational resources can be used on a mobile phone or e-reader.

Useful Chrome Extensions for School

Does your child use Chrome as their browser for school? In a recent article from Edutopia, special education teacher Kathryn Nieves shares a list of 10 free extensions for Google Chrome browsers that her students use most often at school. The list includes extensions such as Noisli, which provides customizable mixes of ambient sounds to aid concentration, and AlphaText, which lets users customize their browsers for accessibility. Others on the list are VoiceIn Voice Typing, which provides speech-to-text functions for dictating notes, and Dualless which gives the capability to split the screen so you can work in two tabs simultaneously. Nieves suggests trying these extensions out in the summer before the school year starts and schedules get hectic.

Flaw in “Messenger Kids” Fixed By Facebook

Facebook has notified parents and corrected a technical error that permitted thousands of children using the Messenger Kids app to join group chats not approved by their parents. The app lets children between 6 and 12 years old message and video chat with family and friends who their parents approve. It's unclear how long the flaw existed. The app has been controversial since its launch in December 2017, and child advocacy groups have repeatedly urged Facebook to shut down the app, arguing it violates a federal law aimed at protecting a child's online privacy.

Avoiding Issues on LinkedIn

Writing in Forbes, Adrian Dayton discusses the seven “dumbest” things people do on social media/business recruiting site LinkedIn. The unprofessionalism Dayton outlines includes filling a bio with overblown adjectives, adding nonsensical hashtags to posts, and making romantic overtures, which is reportedly an increasing problem. Creating more than one profile confuses potential connections, and abandoning a profile signals a lack of seriousness. These are all good tips on what to avoid for both adults and high school students, as many are beginning to use the platform as part of the college application process.

Chimpstagram?

A video of a chimpanzee scrolling through an Instagram feed on a smartphone has attracted more than 1.6 million views, but has also drawn criticism from animal welfare experts. Primatologist Jane Goodall said she was "very disappointed to see the inappropriate portrayal of a juvenile chimpanzee," and commented that such viral videos encourage illegal chimpanzee trading.

Pages