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Know What’s Inside Your Kids’ Apps

We all know that kids love apps. From a parent’s perspective, apps can provide a much more interactive, and educational experience than TV. But with over one million apps in the stores, it can be difficult to find just the right app for your kids. And it’s even more difficult to find apps you can trust.

With an increasing focus on online privacy and the sheer number of apps, parents are keen to avoid apps that do things that may take them by surprise like collecting personal information about their children or pop up advertising asking your child to join the latest dating site. But what can parents do, and who’s watching out for our kids?

Since 2000, the first stop has been the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is charged with monitoring businesses that may be collecting personal information from children. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a law passed over a decade ago that was intended to give parents control over how their child’s personally identifiable information is collected online. Just this week, the FTC found that two companies, Yelp and Tiny Co., were violating COPPA, collecting children’s information without parents’ permission. But in the 14 years since COPPA went into effect, only about two dozen companies have faced penalties from the FTC. With thousands of companies online, and over 1 million apps available, it’s almost impossible for the FTC to find all of the violators.

Parents don’t want to mistakenly download one of those apps that blatantly break the law. Parents want to protect their kids, but it can be stressful and time consuming to research apps to make sure they’re safe. Just like nutrition labels help parents decide which snack is right for their kids, Moms With Apps provides parents with information — in plain English — to help them decide which app is right for their kids.

If you’re a parent looking to download a new app for your child, here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • Will the app work without an internet connection?
  • Does the app collect information about kids?
  • Does the app include advertising or in-app purchases?

Many developers, including all those we work with at Moms With Apps, are transparent about these things and many of the developers are parents themselves. In fact, many of them started making apps because they were frustrated with the lack of quality apps for their own children.

Only parents — not legislators and not Moms With Apps — can decide what apps are best for your kids and we know not every app is right for every child. Parents have enough worries about limiting screen time and wondering if apps are right for kids without considering privacy implications. But it’s important that parents know what’s inside their kids apps, both to make sure their privacy is protected and that the apps are of the highest quality.

 

By Sara Kloek

Originally posted on Huffington Post

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5 Things Moms Need to Know about Apps

With Mothers Day approaching, the team at ACT | The App Association has outlined Five Things moms should know about children’s apps. With so many choices in the app store, it can be hard to find what works best. Kids love our phones and tablets, but we want them to be used for more than just games and videos. And we are very protective of our childrens’ privacy and safety. That’s why you should know about these Five Things:

Moms-Need-to-Know-Web-1000

By Melissa Lee

Originally posted on ACT | The App Association blog

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Who’s Headed to Vegas? The DC Week Hackathon Winners

We were proud to sponsor, with AT&T, the DCWeek Hackathon earlier this month. For two days, it brought together some of the area’s best devs, entrepreneurs, designers, and marketers to build something amazing.

The hackathon was part of Digital Capital Week, “DC Week,” an annual week-long festival that brings together thousands of entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and digital communications experts. We hosted more than 200 participants who formed teams and worked through the night to build new apps, new web services, and new businesses… And win some sweet prizes.

IN Executive Director Mark Blafkin was on the judging panel that reviewed more than 20 team submissions and presentations. We offered the winning team a trip to Vegas in January to attend the AT&T Developers Summit and CES.

Who’s headed to Vegas? Kyle Hill and Laura McGuigan, who created GoDC.me. Their creation is a local transit web app that integrates information like schedules and bike availability for Metro, buses, and Capital Bikeshare. (Zipcar, Über, and Car2Go are coming soon!) It’s designed and developed from the ground up to be both more useful and faster than existing native iOS and Android apps, and is provided as a free public service to make transit more useful for everyone in the D.C metro area.

What’s it look like?  Using your location data, it shows you…

Nearest Metro stations, which lines go there, and when trains are coming

Nearest Capital Bikeshare stations, and how many bikes and docks are available there:

Plus Metrobus stops nearby, which buses are coming, and when.

 

 

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We’re Looking for DC’s Best Devs, Designers, and Entrepreneurs

Join the best devs, entrepreneurs, designers, and marketers in the DC area for a chance to build something amazing. 

This year the Innovators Network and AT&T are sponsoring the official DC Week Hackathon November 3rd-4th in Chevy Chase, MD.

Once a year, the DC area tech and entrepreneurial communities present Digital Capital Week, “DC Week,” a week-long festival that brings together entrepreneurs, developers, designers, and digital communications experts. In 2011, there were more than 10,000 participants throughout the week’s various festivities.  This year, the Innovators Network is joining with AT&T to sponsor the official DC Week Hackathon and we’re expecting around 300 participants for a weekend of building new apps, new web services, and new businesses.

The two day event will take place November 3rd-4th at the Microsoft Campus in Chevy Chase, MD. Developers will work through the night to develop the best apps to present to the judges, and winning teams will have access to a prize pool worth over $5,000, including a paid trip to CES.

Register for free here!

 

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5/17 Event in DC: Intel’s Genevieve Bell Discusses Secrets to UX Design

It’s been a long time since our last DC-based event, but this one was worth the wait. On May 17, Innovators Network will be hosting a discussion with Intel’s Genevieve Bell, their in-house anthropologist and one of the world’s foremost experts on user experience design. Dr. Bell will cover the basics of user experience design and how technology companies of any size can employ them to improve the value of their products to users.

Building on her article in the Wall Street Journal Europe, she will also discuss the evolving role of 2nd screens (mobile phones and tablets) and how they will change the future of television and story telling.

TO SIGN UP, CLICK HERE.

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Happy World Intellectual Property Day!

National Journal.com – Tech Daily Dose: Juliana Gruenwald highlights two recent and conflicting reports on the impact intellectual property has on American businesses and learns that varying parties have various views on the matter. In her related piece, Dueling Studies On World IP Day, Gruenwald writes:

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Ryobi Pays Price For Not Licensing Saw Safety IP

Bloomberg – BusinessWeek.com: Victoria Slind-Flor reports on a week’s worth of worthy intellectual property news in her topical piece, Ryobi, Apple, Rio Tinto: Intellectual Property (Update1). Here’s her take on one case of a company *not* licensing potentially finger-saving technology and paying the price anyway after the fact:

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USPTO Examiners Denying Patents At An Alarming Rate

The Patent Prospector: Looks like Stephen Albainy-Jenei over at PatentBaristas.com isn’t the only one enlisting the aid of guest authors to pad the size of their blog. The Patent Hawk recently invited a fellow sharp wit to examine the trend of increased patent allowances by the USPTO and there’s plenty of evidence to support John M. DeBoer’s assertions that stinginess is the new name of the patent game. From DeBoer’s guest author post, Debunking In Re Keller, we learn more about the new-found examiners’ penurious behavior:

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Software Pirates Revel In Notoriety: Software Manufacturers Not So Much Anymore

ArsTechnica.com: What’s in a word? Well, if the word in question is “piracy” as it relates to copyrighted files and those that use them in unlawful ways, plenty. In a recent piece, Nate Anderson takes a look at the vilification of file copying by rights owners and the strong identification with the term “pirate” by those who believe they have every right to copy their files, such as music, in any way they see fit. From Anderson’s “Piracy” sounds too sexy, say rightsholders we learn how sailing the seven seas of the Internet while flying the Jolly Roger is changing:

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Why Aren’t Genetic Sequences Protected Like Radio Frequency Bandwaves?

CNN Money – Fortune: While doing his best to harvest traffic via Google by mentioning a superstar pop figure, David Ewing Duncan also manages to address an item of greater importance: patenting human genetic sequences. In his catchily titled piece, What DNA, Patents and Lady Gaga have in common, Ewing Duncan writes on why genetics should be treated more like radio frequencies than better mousetraps:

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