Archive for the ‘children’ Category

YouTube unlawfully violates kids’ privacy, new $3.2B lawsuit claims

September 14th, 2020
A sign featuring the YouTube logo, outside the YouTube Space studios in London on June 4, 2019.

Enlarge / A sign featuring the YouTube logo, outside the YouTube Space studios in London on June 4, 2019. (credit: Olly Curtis | Future | Getty Images)

A new lawsuit filed in a United Kingdom court alleges that YouTube knowingly violated children's privacy laws in that country and seeks damages in excess of £2.5 billion (about $3.2 billion).

A tech researcher named Duncan McCann filed the lawsuit in the UK's High Court and is serving as representative claimant in the case—a similar, though not identical, process to a US class-action suit. Foxglove, a UK tech advocacy group, is backing the claim, it said today.

"YouTube, and its parent company Google, are ignoring laws designed to protect children," Foxglove wrote in a press release. "They know full well that millions of children watch YouTube. They’re making money from unlawfully harvesting data about these young children as they watch YouTube videos—and then running highly targeted adverts, designed to influence vulnerable young minds."

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Posted in Alphabet, children, children's online privacy, children's privacy, foxglove, google, lawsuits, Policy, Privacy, uk, YouTube | Comments (0)

Coronavirus-exposed teachers could stay in classrooms under new fed. guidance

August 20th, 2020
Teacher in school classroom.

Enlarge / Teacher in school classroom. (credit: Getty | Arne Dedert)

An updated guidance document from the Trump Administration now designates teachers and school staff as “essential critical infrastructure” workers, which would allow them to remain in classrooms and schools after being exposed to the pandemic coronavirus, rather than going into quarantine.

The guidance is not a directive—school districts can still decline to include educators in the designation. But some school districts have already made the designation and have signaled that they will keep teachers out of quarantines after exposures, as long as they remain symptom free. That includes school districts in Tennessee and Georgia, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Keeping exposed teachers in schools raises the risks that they could spread the infection to students and coworkers while showing no symptoms. Studies so far have suggested that infected people may be most infectious around the time they first develop symptoms. Researches have repeatedly found that levels of viral material in the upper respiratory tract are at their highest right around the time when people first notice symptoms. Additionally, some infected people do not develop symptoms but can still harbor similar levels of the virus as symptomatic people, according to several studies.

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Posted in children, COVID-19, Exposure, Infectious disease, public health, quarantine, SARS-CoV-2, school, science, students, teacher | Comments (0)

CDC delays new school-reopening guidance prompted by flak from Trump

July 17th, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education July 8, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 08: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing at the U.S. Department of Education July 8, 2020 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Alex Wong)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not release new guidance documents on school reopening this week, contrary to recent comments from officials in the Trump Administration.

A CDC spokesperson told NPR in an exclusive that new documents would instead be published sometime before the end of the month. The delay comes amid fierce nationwide debate about schools reopening and how it can be done safely.

President Mike Pence announced July 8 that the agency would release new documents this week that would better guide schools in their efforts to safely reopen classrooms shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic—which is still engulfing much of the US. That announcement came just hours after President Trump blasted the CDC’s current recommendations in a series of tweets, calling them “very tough & expensive.” He also threatened to cut funding from schools that do not open before the November election.

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Posted in CDC, children, COVID-19, education, Infectious disease, pence, public health, redfield, SARS-CoV-2, school reopening, schools, science, trump administration | Comments (0)

COVID-19 linked to 30-fold increase in rare childhood inflammatory disease

May 15th, 2020
A woman in protective gear leans over a toddler in a bed.

Enlarge / Boston Medical Center Child Life Specialist Karlie Bittrich sees to a baby while in a pediatrics tent set up outside of Boston Medical Center in Boston on April 29, 2020. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

Evidence is stacking up to support a link between COVID-19 and a rare, mysterious inflammatory disease in children, which can be life-threatening.

Though reports of the new disease have trickled in from several countries, many of them have been anecdotal to this point. Now, doctors in an area of Italy hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic have published detailed data on a cluster of 10 children who experienced an unusual inflammatory disease amid the outbreak, lending solid support for the link. Their report appeared Wednesday in The Lancet.

The doctors describe the condition they saw as “Kawasaki-like,” referring to a rare disease in children that causes inflammation of blood vessels. Kawasaki disease—identified in Japan in 1967 by Tomisaku Kawasaki—is typically marked by sustained fever, rash, swelling of hands and feet, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. In the worst cases, it can lead to heart problems and aneurisms.

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Posted in children, coronavirus, COVID-19, Italy, Kawasaki disease, outbreak, pediatric, public health, SARS-CoV-2, science | Comments (0)

CDC releases first US data on COVID-19 cases in children

April 7th, 2020
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 24:  A child with a pacifier looks out a window as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 24, 2020 in New York City. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Enlarge / NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 24: A child with a pacifier looks out a window as the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States on March 24, 2020 in New York City. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images) (credit: Getty | Cindy Ord)

In all of the grim statistics of COVID-19’s devastation, one seemingly bright spot has been that children seem to be largely unaffected. They consistently make up small percentages of confirmed cases and nearly all have a mild form of the disease. But as more data accumulates, we’re getting a clearer picture of what COVID-19 looks like in children—and when its youngest victims are not spared from the worst.

On Monday, April 6, public health researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the first data set on pediatric COVID-19 cases in the United States. The report looked at more than 2,500 cases in infants, children, and adolescents under age 18, collectively referred to as “children” in the study. The data was published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The data largely echoes that of pediatric cases seen in China and elsewhere. Children made up a sliver of COVID-19 cases overall and their symptoms appeared largely mild.

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Posted in baby, children, coronavirus, COVID-19, disease severity, emerging infectious disease, Infants, Infectious disease, pandemic, pediatric, public health, SARS-CoV-2, science | Comments (0)

Google faces state lawsuit alleging misuse of schoolkids’ private data

February 21st, 2020
Students use Google Suite apps on computers in a classroom in Groton, Mass. on May 11, 2016.

Enlarge / Students use Google Suite apps on computers in a classroom in Groton, Mass. on May 11, 2016. (credit: David L. Ryan | The Boston Globe | Getty Images)

Adults who use Google products and services tend to know, at least on some background level, that the cost for access to "free" tools is paid in data. Google also provides low- and no-cost hardware and software tools to students and educators in school districts nationwide, and one state now says that children are also paying that privacy price, in violation of the law.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit (PDF) alleging Google's collection and use of data from schoolchildren in his state is in violation violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and New Mexico's Unfair Practices Act.

COPPA, one of the few US federal laws protecting data privacy, imposes certain restrictions on the collection and use of personal data associated with children under age 13. Under the law, websites, apps, and digital platforms that collect data from young users are required to post a privacy policy and have parents consent to it, to give parents the option to opt out of having their children's information shared with third parties, to let parents review their children's data, and to follow sound data storage and retention policies. The suit accuses Google of deliberately deceiving school districts and parents with regards to its data policies. A platform explicitly designed for use in elementary and middle schools, by schoolchildren, is by definition going to be associated with children under age 13.

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Posted in Alphabet, children, Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, COPPA, education, google, google education, New Mexico, Policy | Comments (0)

Forget poisoned candy and razor blades. Here’s the real Halloween horror

October 28th, 2019
Trick-or-treaters set out at sundown.

Enlarge / Dun-dun-duun. (credit: Getty | Los Angeles Times)

You've likely heard the spooky stories: adorable, sugar-crazed kids gleefully toddle from door to door in their homemade costumes and festive masks—only to be handed razor-blade-stuffed apples or cyanide-laced pixie sticks by wicked, faceless strangers.

As such, many a trick-or-treater has hauled their cloying bounties home over the decades only to surrender them to parental authorities for thorough inspection. At some points, hospitals even offered free X-ray screenings for candy to make sure that the sweet loot was safe. Subsequent research found that this costly endeavor failed to turn up any threats. But, still, it seemed worthwhile.

Through the years, media reports continued to gather terrifying tales of deadly Halloween candy handed out be evildoers—a phenomenon dubbed "Halloween sadism" in the press. There was little 5-year-old Kevin Toston of Detroit, who died from heroin-laden Halloween candy in 1970. And 8-year-old Timothy O'Bryan of Pasadena, Texas, who died from cyanide poisoning after eating tainted Halloween candy in 1976.

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Posted in children, cyanide, halloween, heroin, medical case study, poisoning, public health, public safety, razor blades, sadism, science | Comments (0)

Hairy “werewolf syndrome” in babies and kids caused by pharmacy accident

August 29th, 2019
Hairy “werewolf syndrome” in babies and kids caused by pharmacy accident

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

At least 17 babies and children in Spain began growing hair all over their faces and bodies after they were accidentally given the hair-loss drug, minoxidil, which a Spanish pharmaceutical company had mislabeled as a medication to treat acid reflux.

The error lead the children to develop a form of the rare condition, hypertrichosis, aka “werewolf syndrome,” Spanish authorities reported.

One mother told Spanish news outlet El País how the drug affected her baby boy, who was just six months old when his began growing excess hair: “My son’s forehead, cheeks, arms and legs, hands became covered in hair … He had the eyebrows of an adult. It was very scary because we didn’t know what was happening to him.”

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Posted in babies, children, compound pharmaceuticals, hair loss, minoxidil, Pharmaceutical industry, rogaine, science, werewolf syndrome | Comments (0)

Without question, these are 2018’s best space books for kids

December 29th, 2018
Computers, they're just like us!

Enlarge / Computers, they're just like us! (credit: Cyrus Farivar)

Every time I take my kids to the library, I always gravitate toward the non-fiction section and, in particular, the space books. (Hey, it's a good primer for Star Trek!)

This year, there's been some amazing new children's books that I've loved reading and have read repeatedly in recent months.

Here are my four favorites, in no order:

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Posted in books, children, Gaming & Culture, science, space | Comments (0)

My Talking Tom offers up naked selfie ads to kids

December 11th, 2015

ASA, the advertising watchdog, said the ads weren’t exactly what you’d call appropriate for a children’s app.

Posted in Advertising, children, Law & order, lews ads, My Talking Tom, Talking Angela | Comments (0)