Quick Bits & Bytes

KAOL and Red now free (AOL’s kids and teen services are now free for anyone to use as are their parental controls)

– Where do you not want your kids to go today? (Microsoft’s new Vista operating system, set to launch next year, will have a big emphasis on parental controls) (San Diego Union-Tribune)

– Cellphones give UK parents peace of mind (a new study says parents reassured, like to call teens. Teens, of course, prefer to text their parents) (BBC)

– This might destroy that peace of mind (“Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety surveyed teens on their biggest distractions while driving and found cellphone texting at the top of the list.”) (COX News Service)

– Reading a bedtime story (from your laptop…The International Children’s Digital Library is working to create a digital library of children’s books that will surpass 10,000 volumes by 2008.) (via Cool Hunting)

– Using the Web to create social change (teens are connecting with other teens around issues they care about online, and now there are sites devoted to helping them do just that) (USA Today)

The Associated Press has been busy playing catch up on what’s happening with teens and tweens online. Two recent stories do have some useful info for parents:

– Kid networking sites force parents to act early (info and tips about the “Club Penguin” set and how kids are using social networks as early as 6 — common sense stuff like setting limits, don’t forget to make them play outside, too, etc.) (AP via MSNBC)

– The real deal on predators (please read this important story on what really puts teens at risk – [hint: it’s not just posting a little too much personal info]. See also: my similar piece on PBS’s Mediashift) (AP via Forbes, you have to click through the annoying welcome screen ad)

Finally — I mentioned in my earlier post this week that teens should not be texting when they’re driving (and neither should you!). Seventeen’s new study says they are, which means it’s time to talk to your teen about what they’re doing behind the wheel.

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