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How to Get Easter Egg Dye off Your Hands

(Image is in the Public Domain)

Why are there so many top ranked answers for how to get the dye out of your or your kids' hands that just don't help? Dishsoap? Baking soda or toothpaste plus lots of scrubbing? Feh. Well, consider that baking soda does provide great cleaning power and abasion, but vinegar is what they use to disolve the dye packs in the first place. I figured, why not use both?

I put a small pile of baking soda into my daughter's hand then sprayed some vinegar on it (I had some in a spray bottle, but you can just pour it). It started bubbling as they do when combined and I helped her rub it semi-vigerously over her hand for a few seconds. A good rinse and pop; there you go!

Left hand clean, right hand still green.
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Man Hunts and Beats Teen for Mocking Him Online

(Image is in the Public Domain)

For anyone who's participated in forums, online games, or any other system where you can communicate with random strangers, you've probably encountered people who make you angry. Some are just people who you don't get along with legitimately, and some are "trolls"; people who toy with others for their amusement.

What makes people trolls is generally the anonymous nature of the Internet. Sadly, this is often a perceived anonymity only. Just yesterday, I found a post I didn't agree with and wanted to comment on it. Since the author had locked comments, I did a little web research and found her real name, school, e-mail address, and other sites she posted to. I was only looking for some means to contact her, but the information was fully filled out on these sites with no protection at all.

Imagine her shock to find out how easily she was found (and to be honest she called me quite a few names at first though we did have a good conversation after that).

Sadly, most people don't realize how difficult it is to be truly anonymous. The only things keeping you safe in many cases is that you've never given anyone enough reason to look you up. And now we get to the real story.

Online games can be tense and frustrating. For example, the first time I played an online competitive game, I was completely crushed in seconds and insulted repeatedly for my efforts. I chose to stick with offline gaming but others weather the storm and build their skills to the point they can keep up and even be good enough to win.

However, there are just going to be times that someone is better than you. That's frustrating enough, but when they're rude and insulting, it can be maddening. And for context, understand that the people who are the rudest are often younger males who believe they don't have to "pull any punches" since they don't have to face the consequences of their actions (an idea that was excellently portrayed in Disney's Pinocchio).

My point is, this kid was being an ass with abandon. What was his opponent going to do? Hunt him down and hurt him? Turns out the answer was yes.

And believe it or not, there's a lot of support for the attacker online. The sad fact is that there are still consequences for what we do, even if we're online. Similar to the adive every parent must give to their children of how posts last forever, we must also teach our kids not to draw undue agression. After all, how do you know whether the person you're "Teabagging" has the ability and desire to come after you in person?

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TSA Nudie Scanners May Violate Child Porn Laws

EPIC has been fighting what they call Whole Body Imaging for a while now, but this is an interesting new twist. I never thought about this before, but taking a nude scan of a minor is a violation of child pornography laws.

So if this is really the case, and the TSA doesn't get some kind of exception they will be barred from scanning anyone under 18 at which point the terrorists get an advantage by sending through young recruits (or ones young enough to plausibly lie about it).

The really sad thing about all this is that the technology is very good. It's less invasive than a strip search or pat down and it's extremely fast and easy for the traveler. If it were possible to trust that the TSA could keep the images from being stored and distributed, maybe even I could support it.

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Web Publishing and Kids

18 and partying... do you want to broadcast this?

Did you know that once your kids graduate high school or college, they're going to need to find a job? It's true! Did you also know that employers can be just as tech-savvy as your kids (or more so)?

Take this picture. You can see some girls having a "good time" while possibly illegally drinking underage. Let's say one of these girls is your daughter (we'll call her Suzie). Not thinking that it would come back to bite her, she posted this picture and caption on Myspace, Facebook, or her personal blog site. Fast forward a few years and Mr. Employer has Suzie's resume sitting on his desk. Wanting more than paper information, Mr. Employer does a quick web search and brings up Suzie's page with years worth of blog entries and pictures. Will he like what he sees?

It gets worse. Besides biting your kid in the butt, this can come back to bite you as well. Let's say she posts the following in her blog:

Suzie's Blog

Bummer! My parents are fighting again!

Posted: October, 10, 2004

This is SO LAME! I can't believe them!! Why do they always have to yell at each other? Just because my Mom smoked Dad's last joint… ugh!

Damn, Timmy is crying. He's just a baby for crying out loud! Of course he's going to cry when Mom and Dad are screaming at each other late at night. I better go get him so they don't take it out on him again.

Whether this post is based in truth or your kid is just "playing around", this kind of information could bring in law enforcement, child services, and who knows what other kinds of trouble. For example, what about the risk of drawing the attention of online predators?

The fears are well publicized based on a few exceptional cases: Someone finds your child through the Internet and does something bad to them. But according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, the vast majority of real-life encounters of "Internet Friends" do not end in violence.. Stories of kids getting involved with older strangers usually involve teens (not younger kids) who voluntarily met them knowing their intentions. But it's hardly comforting to know that your 13 year old kid is in a "consensual" relationship with a 28 year old.

Whether consensual or not, the action is generally initiated by the predator and not your kid. Predators are going to "shop" online for information on likely targets and pick the ones that both match what they're looking for and then narrow it to the targets that are either especially interesting or especially vulnerable.

What to do about it

First teach them about Internet Safety including how to set up and use their social network profiles. But also make sure to Monitor their Internet and web service usage so that you can see problems before it's too late.

If you've only just discovered bad content online, it's not too late to do something about it. First, delete the data from any website under your control. As for ones that aren't in your control, check out these resources and the ones they point to as well:

  • How to check your online profile before you get a job – I could have put together tips for finding and handling your online profile, but they already did it so check out their article. One thing they didn't mention is a DMCA takedown notice. You can only use this for copyrighted works and not just stuff you find embarrassing. If you try it anyway, you're likely to anger the recipient and could find yourself the victim of the Streisand Effect.
  • How to create a positive online profile – This gives you advice on how to improve your online profile on purpose.
Remember that it's much, much harder to remove data once it's been posted (''you can't un-ring a bell'' as they say). Learn to be careful BEFORE you post and teach your kids the same.
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Kids and Computers

Put a kid on a computer and all kinds of interesting issues arise. First there's the problem of clutter as yours and their files and pictures intermingle making it near impossible to find what you want. Then there's the viruses and malware that they bring home from school or get online. They could download copyrighted materials and find themselves facing a lawsuit. They could post mean lies about other kids they know (cyberbullying). And in the extreme, they could draw the attention of sexual predators or worse. A kid can take a computer and destroy it, themselves, or your whole family if not supervised correctly.

The easy, but usually wrong, answer is to ban your kids from technology or web services.

The easy answer to is to avoid computers and the Internet altogether. However, kids need to understand the net and it's trends to make it in tomorrow's world so the better choice is to arm yourself with a little knowledge of your own so you can guide them down the right path before they take the opportunity to learn it themselves without your input or supervision.

Having a conversation in public place is usually safe because people won't necessarily hear you or care what you say. When when you speak online in Chat, Instant Messaging, Forums, and Internet Forums, everything can change.
It might be fun to post information online about your thoughts or feelings, but that can come back to bite you.
Your kids are probably downloading music and movies. Be sure you handle the risks before it's too late!
Make sure you limit the damage your kids can do to your computer.
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Child Predators Shifting to Blackmail

(Image is in the Public Domain)

It seems that online predators are getting tired of savvy kids that know better than to be lured (or they're just getting lazy/impatient). Either way, one police group is warning that predators are shifting to a strategy of blackmail instead.

As always, be aware of what your kids are doing online and know who their friends are. Make sure they know what to do when threatened by someone online.

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Safe Search Engine For Kids

(Image is in the Public Domain)

If you've been caught by surprise doing web searches with your kids and found something you really didn't want to explain, maybe Ask.com's new kid-safe search is worth checking out.

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Ads Scare Parents Into Tagging Kids With Tracking Devices

Beware the puddle militia! They're gonna git ya!
(Image is in the Public Domain)

Privacy nuts like me have been warning people for years that tracking and tagging of all people will start with the kids. It's easy to teach people to accept personal tracking devices by giving it to them when they're young. But how do you do that? Use parents' practically fanatical protective instinct to protect their kids against a largely imaginary threat.

Companies that use scare tactics, especially when inflaming peoples fears of extreme and rare issues, are complete and utter scum.

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Lego Candy – A Lawsuit in the Making

(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Now they have lego block candies and some people aren't too happy about it.

I just spent the first three years of my sons life trying to get him not to eat blocks, and now you're telling him they taste like ****ing strawberries
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Girl Overturns Grounding in Court

It wasn't me!
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Is this a joke? I sure hope so.

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