Wesal Sheikh Khalil was 14 and had already planned her own funeral
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Wesal Sheikh Khalil was 14 and had already planned her own funeral
Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com
The censorship of childrens amusement for adult aims is an old story, and everyone is at it including us, says freelance journalist Phoebe-Jane Boyd
A girl-piglet and a boy-piglet, a mummy and daddy swine , no LGBTQ characters or focus on race or religion; Peppa Pig isn’t an obvious target for controversy or counterculture adore. At first glance, it could be a pretty solid adult selection for boredom or sleep. Yet the Douyin video platform in China deems its influence to be a potentially harmful one, due to its growing popularity among the country’s shehuiren . That’s anti-establishment” gangster” internet users to some, or people who like memes and get tattoos of asinine cartoon characters because it’s a bit funny to others.
Like people who expend a lot of day on Tumblr, Reddit, or 4chan, ironic Peppa Pig fans likely aren’t a danger to the continuation of humanity as we know it. They might need tattoo-removal services at some phase, but a government forbid on the cartoons they like, as well as their associated hashtags, is a bit much. For many here in the UK, the ban in China has been taken as bizarre and hilarious. Peppa as a figurehead for” unruly slackers”, a cult-like hero calling society’s disaffected to rebel? The cartoon ? It’s always been a pedestrian watch, probably even for the generation of children it was designed for. To kids watching who come from single-parent households, have two mums, or are living in foster homes, Peppa Pig’s cosily conservative household set-up may be as otherworldly as talking animals and rabbits.
But despite Peppa being so safe- almost antiquated, even- all the sniggering about its ban from China’s media platforms is what’s truly bizarre. Because it shouldn’t be surprising at all. A group of adults use the establishment or censorship of children’s entertainment to further their own political and moral values isn’t unheard of; it’s almost de rigueur, everywhere.
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A study conducted on child-directed Android apps from Google Play Store saw over half may transgress US privacy law for under 13 s
Thousands of child-directed Android apps and games are potentially violating US law on the collection and sharing of data on those under 13, research has revealed.
A study conducted on 5,885 child-directed Android apps from the US Play Store, which are included in Google’s Designed for Families programme, found that well over half of the apps potentially contravened the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act( Coppa ).
” We identified several concerning violations and trends ,” wrote the authors of the Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, led by researchers at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.” Overall, roughly 57% of the 5,855 child-directed apps that we analysed are potentially infringing Coppa .”
Among the apps, 4.8% had” are violations when apps share location or contact information without consent”, 40% shared personal information without applying reasonable security measures, 18% shared persistent identifiers with their parties for prohibited purposes such as ad targeting, and 39% showed” ignorance or neglect for contractual obligations aimed at protecting children’s privacy “.
The researchers found that 28% of the apps accessed sensitive data protected by Android permissions and that 73% of the tested apps transmitted sensitive data over the internet.
” While accessing a sensitive resource or sharing it over the internet does not necessarily mean that an app is in violation of Coppa , none of these apps attained verifiable parental permission: if the[ automated testing] was able to trigger the functionality, then a child would as well ,” the researchers wrote.
” This is an incredibly important examine that clears demonstrates that many apps for children are transgressing Coppa at a massive scale ,” told Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood.” Many kids’ apps are sharing personal information with third party who do data-driven personalised marketing, the very thing Coppa “re supposed to” guard against .”
The researchers said that Google had taken steps to help enforce Coppa compliance, with the Designed for Families programme that offer developers of children’s apps with information on the law and involves certification that apps comply. But “theyre saying” ” as our results show, there appears to not be any( or only limited) enforcement “.
While the researchers surmised that it is likely that” many privacy violations are unintentional and caused by misunderstandings of third-party Software Development Kitss” that are used to build the apps, they recommended Google to do more active vetting process of apps for Coppa compliance.
The researchers also analysed whether apps with potential Coppa violations were part of the US Federal Trade Commission’s( FTC) Safe Harbor programme, under which developers submit their apps for certification that they are Coppa-compliant. They found that few apps are actually certified under Safe Harbor and of those that are” possible violation are prevalent “.
” Based on our data, it is not clear that industry self-regulation has resulted in higher privacy criteria; some of our data suggest the opposite. Thus, industry self-regulation appears to be ineffective ,” the researchers wrote.
Golin told:” It’s also clear that self-regulation endeavors- both Google’s attempts to ensure Coppa compliance at the app store level and the Safe Harbor certification programme- are failing families. As has been demonstrated time and time again, self-regulation is no substitute for sustained government enforcement .”
Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, told:” For years, the FTC has failed to address how both Google and Facebook routinely undermine customer privacy .”
” However, the FTC has just been through[ an] earthquake-like wake up call, given the revelations that Facebook allowed companies like Cambridge Analytica to seize data on 87 million people … Parents are confronted with a nearly impossible task. Dedicated the predominance of the Google App platform and the best interest young children have in apps, it’s not practical for a mother to have to spend time trying to decipher the complex connects that drive the ad supported App industry.
” That’s why we hope the FTC has finally awoken from its long digital privacy slumber .”
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The long read: If we could understand how the newborn intellect develops, it might help every child reach their full potential. But ensure them as learning machines is not the answer
Deb Roy and Rupal Patel pulled into their driveway on a fine July day in 2005 with the beaming smiles and sleep-deprived glow common to all first-time parents. Pausing in the hallway of their Boston home for Grandpa to snap a photo, they chattered blithely over the precious newborn son swaddled between them.
This normal-looking suburban couple weren’t exactly like other parents. Roy was an AI and robotics expert at MIT, Patel an eminent speech and speech expert at nearby Northeastern University. For years, they had been planning to amass the most extensive home-video collect ever.
From the ceiling in the hallway blinked two discreet black dots, each the size of a coin. Further dots were located over the open-plan living area and the dining room. There were 25 in total throughout the house- 14 microphones and 11 fish-eye cameras, part of a system primed to launch on their return from hospital, intended to record the newborn’s every move.
It had begun a decade earlier in Canada- but in fact Roy had built his first robots when he was just was six years old, back in Winnipeg in the 1970 s, and he’d never really stopped. As his interest turned into a career, he wondered about android brains. What would it take for the machines he made to think and talk?” I guessed I could just read the literature on how kids do it, and that would give me a blueprint for house my language and learning robots ,” Roy told me.
Over dinner one night, he boasted to Patel, who was then completing her PhD in human speech pathology, that he had already made a robot that was learning the same route kids learn. He was convinced that if it got the sort of input children get, the robot could learn from it.
Toco was little more than a camera and microphone mounted on a Meccano frame, and dedicated character with ping-pong-ball eyes, a red feather quiff and crooked yellow bill. But it was smart. Use voice recognition and pattern-analysing algorithms, Roy had painstakingly taught Toco to distinguish words and concepts within the maelstrom of everyday speech. Where previously computers learned speech digitally, understanding terms in relation to other words, Roy’s breakthrough was to create a machine that understood their relationship to objects. Asked to pick out the red ball among a range of physical items, Toco could do it.
Patel operated an newborn laboratory in Toronto and Roy flew up there to watch what he could learn. Observing the mothers and babies at play, he realised he’d been teaching Toco seriously.” I hadn’t structured my learning algorithm correctly ,” he explained to Wired magazine in 2007.” Every parent knows that when you’re talking to an 11 -month-old, you stay on a very tight topic. If you’re talking about a beaker, you stick to a beaker and you interact with the cup until the baby get bored and then the cup going on around here .”
His robot had been searching through every phoneme it had ever heard when it was learning a new object, but Roy tweaked its algorithm to give extra weight to its most recent experiences, and began to feed it audio from Patel’s baby lab records. Suddenly Toco began to build a basic vocabulary at a rate never seen before in AI research. His dream of” a robot that can learn by listening and ensure objects” felt closer than ever. But it needed to feed upon records, and these were hard to find.
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Scores of alleged victims come forward and describe culture of cover-up in religious group in UK
More than 100 people have contacted the Guardian with allegations of child sexual abuse and other mistreatment in Jehovah’s Witness communities across the UK.
Former and current members, including 41 alleged victims of child sexual abuse, described a culture of cover-ups and lies, with senior members of the organisation, known as elders, deterring victims from coming forward for fear of bringing” rebuke on Jehovah” and being exiled from the congregation and their families.
A Guardian investigation also heard from 48 people who experienced other forms of abuse, including physical violence when they were children, and 35 who witnessed or heard about others who were victims of child grooming and abuse.
The stories told to the Guardian ranged from events decades ago to more recent, and many of the individuals who came forward have now contacted the police.
They told the Guardian about:
An organisation that polices itself and teaches members to avoid interaction with outside authorities.
A regulation set by the main governing body of the religion that means for child sexual abuse to be taken seriously there must be two witness to it.
Alleged child sex abuse victims claiming they were forced to recount allegations in front of their abuser.
Young girls who engage in sexual activity before matrimony being forced to describe it in detail in front of male elders.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of a Christian religion movement. In 2017, different groups reported an average global monthly membership of approximately 8.2 million people, about 137,000 of whom are in the UK.
The organisation is governed by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania corporation, which has its headquarters in New York. It is the primary legal entity use worldwide to direct, administer and disseminate doctrines.
Jehovah’s Witnesses base their beliefs merely on the text of the Bible and ignore” mere human suppositions or religious creeds “. Members reject what they see as the sinful values of the secular world and preserve a degree of separation from non-believers, whom they call” worldly people “.
The congregation is served by overseers, or elders. Only humen can serve in these positions and they are responsible for congregational governance, pastoral run and forming judicial committees to analyse serious sins.
If a Jehovah’s Witness experiences sexual abuse, they are advised to report it to the elders, who will take farther action if there is a second witness to the offence or if the accused acknowledges the abuse. The perpetrator will then be called before a judicial committee.
Someone who commits a serious sin can be “disfellowshipped”. This involves being shunned by the congregation, which for most members includes their immediate family.
Report advises generation faces psychological wrecking, with most vulnerable the hardest hit
A generation of Syrian children face psychological ruin and ever increasing peril, with child deaths rising by 50% last year and the number of young soldiers tripling since 2015.
A report by Unicef saw 2017 was the worst year of the war for young Syrians, with 910 killed in a conflict that has spared them no mercy and has taken a vastly disproportionate toll on the country’s most vulnerable people.
The figures undermine claims that the war, which will soon enter its eighth year, is losing steam. Those most at risk face escalating menaces of being permanently maimed by opposing, or emotionally scarred by a litany of abuses including forced labor, matrimonies, food scarcity and minimal access to health or education.
” There are scars in children and there are scars on children that will never be erased ,” said Geert Cappelaere, Unicef’s director for the Middle East and north Africa.” The protection of children in all circumstances that was once universally embraced- at no moment have any of the parties accepted .”
More than 13 million people inside Syria need humanitarian assistance, more than half of whom are children, the UN says. Of the 6.1 million internally displaced, roughly half( 2.8 million) are children. Figures for last year depict an average of 6,550 people were displaced each day in Syria.
During the first months of 2018 there has been a sharp escalation in violence in Idlib, eastern Ghouta on the suburbs of Damascus and in Afrin on the Turkish perimeter. The Syrian regime and Russia have been besieging Idlib and east Ghouta, while Turkey and a proxy Arab force launched an offensive against the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in January. There also remains a lethal threat from mines and unexploded bombs left over from opposing in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.
In eastern Ghouta a besieged population of nearly 420,000 people, half of whom are children, are suffering a month of airstrikes from Russian and Syrian jets, which are attempting to oust opponent fighters and the communities that support them from Damascus’s doorstep. Calculated death tolls in Ghouta range from 1,000 to 1,300 people. Children are thought to account for at least several hundred casualties.
Reaching children in need has been relentlessly difficult, the UN has said, with requests to deliver aid to opponent communities routinely denied and convoys allowed to enter often stripped of essential medicines. Humanitarian access was denied 105 times in 2017 alone- a year marked by sieges of east Aleppo and east Ghouta, which had both been strongholds of the anti-Assad opposition throughout the war.
Healthcare facilities, including hospitals and ambulance basis, have been repeatedly targeted in eastern Ghouta, recurring a pattern set elsewhere in Syria. In opposition-held east Aleppo, the healthcare network was destroyed before the area was overrun by pro-regime forces-out in late 2016. Last year alone, there were 175 assaults on health and education centres, the Unicef report says.
Medecins Sans Frontieres tells 15 of the 20 hospitals and clinics it supports in eastern Ghouta have been hit by airstrikes or shelling. Local authorities inside the enclave say the healthcare system is being systematically targeted and the capacity to care for high numbers of wounded has shrunk tremendously as a result.
” Their[ Assad regime’s] strategy is brutally clear ,” said Ghassan Chamsi, a resident in the Douma neighbourhood of eastern Ghouta.” They want to terrorise everyone into running for the borders. Either submit, or die. But don’t expect to be treated by our own .”
On almost every economic indicator, children in Syria experienced worse conditions last year than in 2016. The scarcity of food has soared across the country, with the young again suffering most for the absence of adequate nutrition. Up to 12% of young Syrians are considered to be acutely malnourished, the report says.
The psychological impact on young generations who have spent at the least half their lives in conflict, deprived of adequate food, education and healthcare, is among the most difficult risk categories to gauge.
” Their conditions require specialised therapy and services ,’ said Cappelaere.” As children, their needs differ from those of adults: as their bodies and abilities change, so must their care. These children face a very real risk of being forgotten and stigmatised as the unrelenting conflict continues .”
With opposing raging in north and central Syria, the majority of the population displaced and regional powers now more deep invested in the war than before, there appears to be little hope of the humanitarian situation easing anytime soon.
Russia and Iran have both strengthened their support for Bashar al-Assad, who was losing on the battlefield until Vladimir Putin sent the Russian us air force to prop up the Syrian leader in September 2015. Iranian-led ground troops have been central to clawing back lost ground, while opposition groups, splintered and divided , no longer pose a sustained menace to the regime.
However, Idlib and east Idlib, despite sustained assaults, remain formidable obstacles to a leadership that has pledged to return all of Syria to central control. As yet, there is no plan for what to do with eastern Ghouta’s population if they are forced to flee. In Idlib, more than 2.5 million people, many of them displaced from elsewhere in the country, are crammed into a small province faced with ever increasing humanitarian needs.
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Technology companies like Facebook and Google are scrambling to catch up to the fact that children have joined a web originally built for adults, and are employing it the style adults do — by liking and commenting, sharing, clicking through on personalized recommendations and viewing ads. But the technology underpinning apps and sites built for children can’t operate the same route it does for the grown-ups. That’s where the company SuperAwesome comes in.
SuperAwesome, only less than five years old, has been tapping into the growing need for kid-friendly technology, including kid-safe ad, social participation tools, authentication and parental controls. Its clients include some of the biggest names in the children’s market, including Activision, Hasbro, Mattel, Cartoon Network, Spin Master, Nintendo, Bandai, WB, Shopkins maker Moose Toys and hundreds of others — many of which it can’t name for legal reasons.
Now, the company is turning a profit.
SuperAwesome says it reached profitability for the first time in Q4 2017, and has reached a booked revenue run-rate of $28 million, after seeing 70 percent growth year-over-year.
This year, it expects to grow 100 percentage, with a revenue operate rate of $50 million.
Sources close to the company set its valuation at north of $100 million, as a result.
The company says the transformation to digital is driving its growth, as Tv viewing is dropping at 10 to 20 percent per year, while kids’ digital budgets are growing at 25 percentage year over year. At the same time, the kids brands and content owners are realizing that safety and privacy have to be a part of their web and mobile experiences.
SuperAwesome has flown under the radar a bit, and isn’t what you’d call a household name. That’s because its technology isn’t generally consumer-facing — it’s what’s powering the apps and websites that today’s kids are use, whether that’s a game like Mattel’s Barbie Fashion Closet or Monster High, Hasbro’s My Little Pony Friendship Club or a website from kids’ writer Roald Dahl , to name a few.
Key to all these experiences is a technology platform that allows developers to construct kid-safe apps and sites. That includes products like AwesomeAds, which ensures ads in the kids space aren’t tracking personal data and the ads are kid-appropriate; PopJam, a kid-safe social participation platform that lets developers construct experiences where kids can like, remark, share and remix online content; and Kids Web Service, tools that simplify build apps that require parental permission and oversight.
These kinds of tools are increasingly becoming critical to a web that’s waking up to the fact that the largest tech companies didn’t consider how many kids would be using their products. YouTube, for example, has been scrambling in recent months to combat the threats to children on its video-sharing site, like inappropriate content targeted toward children, exploitive videos, haywire algorithms, dangerous memes, hate speech and more.
Meanwhile, children are lying about their ages — sometimes with parental permission — to join social platforms originally built for the 13 -and-up crowd, like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Musical.ly.
“It’s very easy to come out and beat up Facebook and Google for some of this stuff, but the reality is that there’s no ecosystem there for developers who are creating content or build services specifically for kids. That’s why we started SuperAwesome, ” says SuperAwesome’s CEO Dylan Collins.