Modders Recreate Teletubbies Intro in GTA V

GTA V’s modding community have already created a huge array of hilarious, yet terrifying mods including Evil Mario, Cristiano Ronaldo, Pokemon and a deadly UFO attack! However, in retrospect, I highly doubt any of these come close to the latest and arguably, greatest Teletubbies mod. Everyone’s favourite kids TV show, barring Arthur and Rugrats, is now available in GTA V and provides hours of entertainment! The mod’s creator captured the original show’s intro and recreated it in GTA V.

Once compared side-by-side, the end result is astonishing and Trevor certainly has the personality to play Tinky Winky. Although, after watching the video, my brain is now sozzled by the annoying TV theme tune. As an adult, I find the Teletubbies disturbing and they could easily play the lead role in a horror movie. There’s just something about their judging eyes which makes me feel uneasy. I mean who knows what really transpired behind the hidden grassy ridge.

Clearly, I’m getting distracted here but this is definitely one of my favourite GTA V mods and worth a watch. The video is hilarious, and throwback to my childhood. I cannot wait to see what the next mod project is, but it’s going to be a difficult task to beat the Teletubbies! That’s not a phrase I ever expected to use.

Who is your favourite Teletubby and why? I always had a soft spot for Po.

Windows 10 is Spying on Kids and Not Everyone is Happy About it

Windows 10 spies on its users. This is no secret. But did you know that it specifically spies on kids and sends weekly reports of children’s computer history and internet browsing details to parents in a weekly report? It’s one of the best-kept secrets contained within Microsoft’s new operating system, and that lack of disclosure alone is potentially damaging to vulnerable adolescents. In an ideal world, these weekly reports could be seen as a healthy precaution to monitor kids’ visits to potentially inappropriate sites. But we don’t live in an ideal world. We inhabit a planet in which bigots, bullies, and abusers punish children for being themselves.

Revealing the internet habits of a child to the wrong kind of parent could put that child at risk. That’s the argument put forward by members of the LGBTQ community, who are worried that confused kids looking for answers regarding their sexuality could have their support systems stripped away from them, and could be victimised if their search histories are revealed to unsympathetic parents.

The feature that sends reports on children’s computer history to parents was revealed anecdotally following reports from adult users surprised to see an itemised list of their kids’ browsing and activity.

Kirk sent the following e-mail to BoingBoing, expressing his surprise and concern over the Windows 10 spying feature:

“This weekend we upgraded my 14-year-old son’s laptop from Windows 8 to Windows 10. Today I got a creepy-ass email from Microsoft titled ‘Weekly activity report for [my kid]’, including which websites he’s visited, how many hours per day he’s used it, and how many minutes he used each of his favorite apps.

I don’t want this. I have no desire to spy on my boy. I fixed it by going into my Microsoft account’s website, hitting the “Family” section, then turning off “Email weekly reports to me” and “Activity reporting”.

OK, I admit that the timing might be coincidental but that would be one hell of a coincidence. I’ve never seen anything like this until we upgraded to Windows 10, and then I got the spy report the following business day.

A message to young readers: if you have Windows 10 now, your parents might be getting the same kind of report I did. Don’t assume your own computer has your back.”

Though Windows 8.1 has a similar feature, it is opt-in. It would be interesting to hear from Microsoft regarding its reasoning for changing permissions for Windows 10’s child monitoring feature to opt-out.

Thank you WCCF Tech for providing us with this information.

Scientists Claim the Internet Isn’t Rotting Kid’s Brains

Just like TV and video games, the internet does not “rot kid’s brains”, scientists have decided. Or, at least, there’s in no evidence that using the internet has any detrimental effect on the development of a child’s brain, according to a new editorial in the British Medical Journal.

The article, written by scientists from University College London and the University of Oxford, disputes claims by Susan Greenfield from Lincoln College Oxford that prolonged computer use can trigger “autistic-like traits” and aggression in youngsters. “Despite calls for her to publish these claims in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, where clinical researchers can check how well they are supported by evidence, this has not happened, and the claims have largely been aired in the media,” the editorial reads.

Greenfield, seemingly positioning herself as a 21st Century Mary Whitehouse, has a history of attacking internet use and social media. She holds the unsupported belief that social networks are a misnomer – much in the same way as a scientist making claims without evidence, one presumes – as they induce poor social skills, low empathy, and low personal identity in kids, while she thinks that video games cause autism, shorten attention spans, and encourage aggression.

The BMJ editorial rightly points out that Greenfield’s assertions are directly contradicted by a number of scientific studies in the field. It specifically cites research into social networking, which “has been found to enhance existing friendships and the quality of relationships, although some individuals benefit more than others.”

Science 1, unfounded personal bias 0.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

BBC Micro Bit Computer’s Finalized Design Revealed

The BBC has revealed the final design of the Micro Bit computer and it brings along a few changes over the earlier shown prototypes. The Micro Bit is a pocket-sized computer and that even goes for child-sized pockets and there is a reason for that.

The Micro Bit is not only designed for children, it will also be given away for free to them. It will be given away to every 11 and 12-year-old child in Year 7 or equivalent at school. This isn’t the first time BBC dipped their feet into the hardware learning pool, but the BBC Microcomputer System released in the 80s costs hundreds of pounds.

The Micro Bit features a programmable array of 25 LEDs, has two buttons and a variety of sensors and connection options. It has a built-in motion sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity. Earlier models had a thin battery attached, but this one will require an add-on power pack fitted with AA batteries to be mobile.

You can program the Micro Bit from any system you’ll want, may it be Android, iOS, or PC based. It is also compatible with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and Galileo to carry out more complex tasks.

The idea is to teach children at an early age what technology can do and get them started on the right path for a technological future. The possibilities are almost endless.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Kids Do a Lot Better When Schools Ban Smartphone usage

Tap, Tap, Tap. Smartphones are rapidly taking over children’s free time and social life, but is it affecting them at school?

A recent study undertaken by the London School of Economics showed some very interesting results. Students that were banned from carrying phones showed a clear improvement in their test scores.

“We found the impact of banning phones for these students equivalent to an additional hour a week in school, or to increasing the school year by five days,” researchers Richard Murphy and Louis-Philippe Beland said. That is quite a substantial figure, especially with the curriculum as vast as it currently is.

91 policies in regards to mobile phones have changed since 2001 and that data has been compared to exam results from national exams that students sat at the age of 16. In total, the study covered 130,000 pupils across the UK. It showed that after a ban was put in place, the students average test scores rose by 6.4%. It also showed that the impact on underachieving students was even more significant, a whopping 14% rise.

“There are, however, potential drawbacks to new technologies,” Murphy and Beland said, citing the temptation to text, play games or chat on social media.“Schools could significantly reduce the education achievement gap by prohibiting mobile phone use in schools, and so by allowing phones in schools, New York may unintentionally increase the inequalities of outcomes.”

Thank you to CNN for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Aol

YouTube’s Toddler App Full of Disturbing Videos

Looking for videos on how to juggle chainsaws? Drink battery acid? How about My little Pony peadophilia jokes, or Bert and Ernie overdubbed with  foul language?

You can see all of these on the brand new YouTube kids, the new application that google have released, stating it is perfectly safe for young children.

Consumer groups were set to ask the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to investigate the new application on the grounds of unfair and deceptive business practices, the second official complaint since the kid “safe” service launched last month.

Dale Kunkel stated ““The deeper you get into this, the scarier it is in placing children at risk”. Dale is a communications officer for the University of Arizona “I’m astonished at the volume of inappropriate material, much of which will be harmful for kids if they see it.”

Google posted a statement on monday that it plans to work to make the applications videos as family friendly as possible. They said they take feedback very seriously, removing offensive content that has been flagged by users.

“The first step is to “algorithmically narrow it down to family-friendly content,”  Shimrit Ben-Yair  told the San Jose Mercury News. However that filter is not working according to advocates and some parents who wrote on the Google Play and itunes stores.

Do you think the application is safe for kids to use? let us know in the comments.

Thank you to Phys for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Google

Google Launches Family Friendly Store

Worried about your child getting a copy of Call Of Duty: Black Ops Zombies for their Android device? Our Advice, don’t be.

The reason we say this is because Google are launching their family friendly version of the Play Store in a few weeks. To fill the freshly available section, Google are inviting current application developers to join the program and create apps to meet Google’s idea of Child safe experiences.

Google have released a list of requirements and advert policies that you need to comply to as a developer before they will allow you to publish the app in the new store.

These rules include:

  • Apps must be rated ESRB for everyone over 10 years of age
  • Apps must comply with laws concerning advertising to children
  • No violent content for children under 13

Sounds like Google are getting pretty serious about making the Play store and phones a safe place for children. You can see all their rules and guidelines here

The launch of the new store will go well with the new user profiles feature in Android Lollipop. You’ll be able to create a profile for your child so you can stop them seeing your information, yet allow them to have a child safe experience with Apps and adverts whilst using the device.

Thanks to Engadget for this information

Images Courtesy of whereverwriter

Indiegogo Toy Aims to Help Teach Children How to Code

A lot of companies have been struggling to release something that will help children how to code. The use of apps and toys have been the most obvious choice for them in order to make coding a lot more fun.

The latest initiative comes from an Indiegogo startup and its Codie toy, which is a wheeled gadget that comes with an app to let the user control and program it at the same time.

Codie appears to be using a visual drag and drop blocks approach rather than having kids program by typing a bunch of lines of code. While the concept is not new, Codie’s developers state that it will stand out with the help of its programming language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj5GKCavdeM

Codie’s programming language will not require any compiling time and will react in real-time, which means that any changes made by kids will make Codie react instantly, granting a more interactive experience.

The company looks like it is trying to raise $70,000 on Indiegogo, having it already raised half the sum. If you are interested about the project and want to learn more, or even contribute to its creation, you can visit its Indiegogo page here.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Google Launches YouTube Kids App on Android

Google has launched a dedicated YouTube kids app for Android. The app, to be released on Monday, features specially selected TV shows and videos from kid-centric YouTube channels. The app will only be available on Android at first.

Google is set to announce the app at the Kidscreen Summit, an event with a focus on children’s television, making this a symbolic move by the company into the world of content crafted specifically for children. The app will feature a timer that is set to allow parents to limit their child’s viewing.

As you can see by the images, this app has been carefully designed for kids, with its large and colourful icons. There’s also something else quite kid-specific too – no ads. Yes, thanks to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, barring companies from collecting data from kids under-13,  meaning YouTube can’t show up targeted ads. This has obviously raised a few questions, with many wondering how the company will make any money from the app.

Source: The Verge

BS Toy: the Kid-Friendly 3D Printer

Most 3D printers rely on superheating filaments to over 200oC to print objects, making them unsafe for use by children, but Bonsai Labs of Japan has developed a 3D printer, made with kids in mind, that only heats to 80oC.

The printer, called BS Toy, was revealed at the recent Nuremberg Toy Fair, and employs LT80 (Low Temperature), flexible filament developed by Polymakr LLC, to produce items. The diminutive printer measures 200 (W) x 200 (D) x 200mm (H), weighing 2kg, and can print objects of up to 130 (W) x 125 (D) x 100mm (H).

Bonsai Labs hope to release the BS Toy later this year.

Source: Nikkei Technology

Meet The Electric Supercar – For Kids

Want your little boy or girl to be the coolest kid in the neighbourhood? South Korean company Henes has announced the F870 – the electric supercar for kids.

This thing really is a miniature supercar, including shock absorbers, coil-spring suspension, differential steering, a leather racing-style seat and a and a 7-inch Android tablet entertainment system. It also has something a real supercar doesn’t have – remote control. Yes, while you may be to old to fit in this thing, you can control it via a dedicated Bluetooth Controller.

The currently yet-to-be released F870 will set parents back anything between $895 and $1,000, perhaps a reasonable price considering the usual cost of similar yet low-tech electric ride-ons. Still, it is rather garish isn’t it?

Source: The Verge

NYE too Late For Your Kids? Stream New Year’s Eve Anytime With Netflix

Those of you with young children will know that it’s nice for them to experience festivals, occasions and events with the rest of their family. However, in the case of New Year’s Eve, midnight can just be a bit too out of reach for the little ones.

That’s why Netflix has created a kid friendly New Year’s Eve celebration that can be streamed anytime – just before they go to bed for instance. The three-minute New Year’s Eve countdown is hosted by King Julien from Netflix’s original kids series All Hail King Julien and a series of Madagascar characters.

“Move over, Ryan Seacrest, I’ve got my very own on-demand countdown party on Netflix,” King Julien “said” in a statement.

The clip can be streamed anytime, allowing kids to experience something they might be too tired for otherwise.

Source: CNNMoney

 

GCHQ Launches Kids Cryptography App

GCHQ, the Government Communications Headquarters of the UK, otherwise known as Britain’s NSA, has launched a an app targeted at kids with the intention of teaching them about cryptography.

The organisation that spends most of its time circumventing encryption has decided to teach kids the basics of scrambling data from prying eyes. Cryptoy, as it’s called, is an app for Android tablets (no iOS or Android phone support yet) that allows you to learn the basics of encryption, the history of cryptography and gives you the chance to encrypt your own messages with which your friends can then decrypt.

The Next Web points out that the app stems from a project created for Cheltenham Science Festival that had the intention of teaching school kids about encryption. This new app is meant for students at Key Stage 4 of the national curriculum and is to supplement their school studies on the subject.

Read more at GCHQ’s website.

Source: The Next Web

President Obama Writes His First Ever Line of Code

Barack Obama just finished his first ever line of code. The “Coder-in-Chief” wrote a line of Javascript with 20 middle school students as part of the Hour Of Code programme by Code.org.

Code.org and The Hour of Code was set up with the intention of teaching as many people as possible, especially children, how to write code. Code.org has the backing of a host of Silicon Valley luminaries, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. The website features game-like apps that allow kids (and adults) to experience coding visually, before moving onto more challenging tasks.

The site and project is certainly a great initiative – it’s terrible how the use of computers and technology has grown so rapidly, but that so few of us know how to write software. It’s bizarre how computers and computer education was focused more on programming in the 70s and 80s, while today ICT lessons consist of how to use Microsoft Office and little else.

Source: readwrite 

Harvard Academics Build Robot That Teaches Kids How to Write Code

Harvard researchers have built a $10 robot that has been designed to teach children how to write code.

The small AERobot can be connected to a computer via USB and programmed in a specially modified language called minibloqs. The language is similar to Scratch, which allows kids to learn programming by dragging and dropping pictures into a sequence. The robot has been designed with school’s tight budgets in mind, as it uses simple manufacturing techniques and materials to keep costs down. Using its vibration motors, LEDs, sensors and actuators, the bot can be programmed to move along a particular course, switch lights on and off or avoid objects and obstacles.

The robot won the top prize in the software category at the 2014 AFRON Challenge – a competition held to help researchers develop low-cost robots to be used in education.

Source: Wired

Dad Builds Gloves to Teach His Kids Proper Typing Skills

David Schneider was a bit bothered by his kids typing skills and decided to do something against it. Not that they couldn’t type fast, but it was hectic and inefficient. He decided to fix this himself and did so by building haptic gloves to teach them.

David got the inspiration for his gloves from Thad Starner’s gloves that could teach the wearer to play Beethoven. These might not be as fascinating as his model, but the results still speak for themselves. The gloves were created by sewing miniature vibrating motors into a pair of cycling gloves, one for each finger and then controlling them with an Arduino nano.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”500″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZKo2RqXKr4[/youtube]

The Arduino nano (ATmega168) controls the eight vibrating motors and each one has the corresponding letters assigned. For example if an A was required, the motor for the left pinky would be activated. The software part is combination of Tkinter to make the interface and python fr the rest of the code. So far his software is fairly simple and just uses the 100 most common words form the English language.

He also got his wife to record the words as audio and that is played along with a show of the word to type in 64 point red typeface, one letter at a time. At the same time the Arduino board activates the corresponding motor and the user learns what finger to use for what key. The application has the option for variable speed, can skip words and also gives feedback on the entered letters in 64 point red typeface.

David reveals that the tool works very well to help teach his children, but will look to install a game of sorts in the future. “I’ve not yet figured out the particulars, but somehow I’ll have to add motivational timers, badges, health points, and bright, flashing ‘game over’ blinkers if I want my 11-year-old to benefit from my high-tech typing tutor.”

It doesn’t take much besides some ingenuity any more, and of curse an Arduino board, to create some relative simple and useful toys as well as learning tools. The more of these simple things I see, the more I need to get myself a couple of these to play around with.

Thank you ieee.org for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ieee.org.

Robots Being Taught to Play Angry Birds by Kids… And Dance if They Beat the High Score!

While technology advances, we see it being used in all sorts of situations. However, researchers from Georgia Tech appear to have used the innovation in a new and unique way of helping out kids. They apparently have built a robot which kids can teach to play the popular mobile game, Angry Birds, and in the process help the kids regain muscle movement and control.

The activity is described as being fairly simple. The robot is said to sit and watch the kids play, keeping its focus on the score and even recreating when the kids do. After that, the robot is said to start and get the same score as the kids do, following their example. The robot is said to be interactive as well, having it be sad and upset when they do not beat the score, or do a little dance when they succeed in passing the high-score.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNrHwSfA_lo[/youtube]

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAyvBK3-lNE[/youtube]

The main value from all of this is the ability for therapists to use the robots to rain and help kids cope with their disabilities. The robots are not just some toys playing around with the kids, they are said to be able to give cues and make requests as well. It is said that the therapist can then tell the robot to ask the child to play a variety of games and watch them improve. The kids even have the possibility of taking the robots home and maintain their training out of the office. This might sound childish and useless to some, but it is said to really help kids combine fun with actual proven treatment.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Videos courtesy of TechCrunch and image courtesy of BBC

Supermarket Chain Aldi Releases A Sub-$100 Kids 7-inch Tablet

It seems just about everyone and their dog makes a tablet these days and the latest to join in the tablet craze is UK budget supermarket chain ALDI. Following the lead of Tesco ALDI already announced its first tablet a while back but now it is targeting the “kids” market segment with its latest release. A 7 inch tablet with a colourful rubberised case should be enough to make most kids interested, and the price point of $99/€72 should appeal to most parents. The budget price point is helped by the budget specifications: a 1024 x 600 display, 1.5GHz dual core and 4GB of storage with optional microSD expansion. More importantly for parents the tablet will come pre-bundled with child-safe software. The most interesting point to note is that the tablet ships with the latest version of Android, 4.4 Kit Kat, out of the box. The OEM producer is not specified but is expected to be either Bauhn or Medion.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of ALDI

Hulu Plus Available On The Nintendo 3DS

Hulu has today announced that it will provide access to its library of streamable TV shows and movies to Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, and Nintendo 2DS owners. Will this app kill your cable subscription in the future? Who knows.

According to the official blog post, Hulu and Nintendo worked together to provide a solid experience across the various handheld gaming devices, one that “takes advantage of the systems’ dual screen option. This means that users can be viewing Hulu content on the top screen while browsing through content options on the bottom screen. And where browsing is concerned, Hulu ensures that it’s the same user experience Huluers have grown accustomed to, with trays for each category of content including recommendations.

In addition to the above, Hulu users who have both the Nintendo 3DS and a Nintendo Wii or Wii U are in luck. Hulu has built out the 3DS app to automatically swap a show from the Wii to the Nintendo 3DS as you leave the house. Clever. The Hulu app on 3DS also comes with a feature called Smart Play, which lets you instantly resume the last episode you were watching on any device from a single button.

Finally, Hulu has implemented a Kids Lock on the 3DS app that only lets users surf content from Hulu’s kid’s section, which is pretty important considering the demographic of Nintendo 3DS and 2DS users. As with any new sign-up on Hulu, you’ll get a one-week free trial here.

Thank you TechChurch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechChurch.

Programmable Message Go Go Cheer Bar Review

Taking some time away from the serious world of computer components and having a bit of a joke is where we find ourselves today. I mean we all like a good gadget at the end of the day and today shows us looking at exactly that; a gadget, a gimmick, a novelty item that even the most serious user would find amusing and quite fun.

A brand by the name of Navitas are keen on developing some strange lighting products and with the particular product that we’re looking at today, it can only be described as a stocking filler. That type of device that is perfect for Christmas, clubs, raves and general events and will leave you amazed for quite some time.

From a first glance however we’re not quite sure what it’s all about, but that’s where sites like us come in handy by breaking it down and taking a good look at exactly what is on offer. Due to that, we’re ready and waiting to get straight into this review, so that we can sit back, relax and take things a little bit less seriously for once in a while.