Weekly Roundup

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The newest video game sensation is Fortnite. It’s appealing to people of all ages, making it the biggest smash outside of the typical gaming world since Minecraft. Even Houston Astros are showing off their Fortnite moves—check it out here. Part of the game’s appeal is that it is free to download and can be played on smart phones. However, this popularity has led to school-age kids playing it on their smartphones while in class. Read here to see how some school districts have even gone out of their way to block access to the game on their Wi-Fi connections, so kids won’t be playing it during class. This article contains some good tips for parents to monitor their children’s playing time, and here is a parent’s guide to Fortnite.

YouTube Privacy Concerns for Kids

It seems like every day brings another news story of a website illegally collecting data. The latest claim is that YouTube is illegally collecting data from kids. Despite needing to be 13 to sign up for a YouTube account, channels that market to kids are a big industry on the site. According to this article, “In a complaint filed Monday, more than 20 advocacy groups asked the FTC to investigate the Google subsidiary for violating the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which limits how a company can collect data about kids under 13. Under the law, companies have to notify parents and get their consent before collecting data on children.”

STAAR Testing in Texas

April and May in Texas bring STAAR tests for school-aged kids. Hate them or tolerate them, these high-stakes tests are part of life for kids in public school in Texas. Here’s the calendar for this year’s tests. The Texas Education Association does not provide a way for parents to opt their children out, as this article points out: “Section 26.010 of the Texas Education Code says, ‘A parent is not entitled to remove the parent’s child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test.’” But, the article also mentions that some school districts, including the Houston Independent School District, have created policies for parents to opt out their children.

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