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How to Get Easter Egg Dye off Your Hands

Easter Eggs
(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

Stalking
(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 Nude Scanners Coming To American Malls

You're kidding, right?

So…

Wait.

What now?

A Yahoo article says that because women's cloths sizing is hard, they're going to nude scan them to figure out what they can wear. Seriously!?

Ms. Shaw, the entrepreneur, is chief executive of a company called MyBestFit that addresses the problem. It is setting up kiosks in malls to offer a free 20-second full-body scan — a lot like the airport, minus the pat-down alternative that T.S.A. agents offer.

Lauren VanBrackle, 20, a student in Philadelphia, tried MyBestFit when she was shopping last weekend.

“I can be anywhere from a 0 at Ann Taylor to a 6 at American Eagle,” she said. “It obviously makes it difficult to shop.” This time, the scanner suggested that at American Eagle, she should try a 4 in one style and a 6 in another. Ms. VanBrackle said she tried the jeans on and was impressed: “That machine, in a 30-second scan, it tells you what to do.”

That's cute. A strip search in the name of getting something to wear? So instead of wasting millions on this disrobing plan, why not standardize women's clothing and use inch measurements like men's clothes? How's that for an idea?

How long until someone hacks these poorly protected machines to record copies of all women scanned and the photos show up on the Internet? Will you put your teenage daughters in them?

This is so, so stupid, I can't believe it's actually true. I really hope this doesn't catch on because if it does, my faith in humanity will suffer yet again.

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Friending Your Kids on Facebook

I just read an article online about how almost half of parents have “friended” their kids on Facebook.

many parents see the value in trying to "friend" their kids on social networks, even though it might be a bit awkward at times. According to Retrevo, most parents who are Facebook friends with their kids have teenagers—only 8 percent of parents said kids under 12 should have Facebook accounts in the first place—and they say that they learn a lot about their teens this way.

Original article here:

I agree that monitoring your child’s use of the Internet is very important and friending your kids is one way to do it. But like I just showed you, your kids can separate friends by group (real friends, school friends, my mom and dad) and then customize what your friends see by the group they’re in.

Everyone can see this, except Mom and Dad!

That means that your kids can post whatever they want and exclude you from it, just by adding you to a special group ("Outcasts", "Enemies", etc). For kids that are no longer living at home or have earned your trust when it comes to protecting themselves online, just friending them might be enough. Let them try to use the privacy controls to keep you out of things they don’t want you to share with you and then call them on mistakes. They’ll learn very quickly how to be careful about what they post and who can see it (a very valuable privacy skill).

But for younger kids or ones who just don’t “get it”, there’s a better way. Make use of these sites conditional based on you having their password to the account. Rather than being their friend, you can log in as them and see and control everything. In this scenario, you have the opportunity to discuss with them the things they say, do, and see in the system without them being able to restrict your visibility.

While they are quite sure to resent your presence, if you pick your battles and only get involved when you really need to (sexting, cyber bullying, weighing in on their “friends” selection, and helping them learn what information is too sensitive to post), you will likely be able to accomplish your goal of parenting without generating too much resentment.

A word of caution; this balance is very important! If you smother them too much, they’ll likely create a second account that you don’t know about and use it instead. Of course, finding out if your kids are posting online in places you don't know is a separate conversation entirely.
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Story of Gaming Addiction

Gaming
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.5 [SRC])

This is a heartbreaking account of someone's battle with gaming addiction. Posted here so I can look it up later.

This pretty much sums it up.

"I hated level 40," she said with a sigh. It was the first time we'd spoken in eight years, and she had never forgotten the night I spurned her advances in favor of gaining a level in EverQuest.
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5 Minutes Posing as a 14-year-old On Social Site

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

A police official in the UK signed up a new account with a girls name and used data and a photo that suggested he was a 14 year old girl.

Within 90 seconds, a middle-aged man wanted to perform a sex act in front of me. I was deluged by strangers asking stomach-churning questions about my sexual experience. I was pressured to meet men with whom I'd never before communicated.

If you plan to let your kids use sites like these, you have to know what they're getting into. Make sure you have the name and password to their account (being friends with them is not enough) so you can see what they see and talk to them about it. Also bone up on safety precautions like learning the proper way to secure your account.

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GPS Tracking Watch for Parents

Track your kids in real-time online with GPS

Here's a tool for you ultra-paranoid: a GPS watch you can make your kids wear.

Parents can see the location of their child on Google maps by clicking 'where r you' on a secure website or texting 'wru' to a special number. Safe zones can also be programmed with parents being alerted if their child strays outside this zone.

The watch, which is designed in bright colours to appeal to children, can be tightly fastened to a child's wrist and sends an alert if forcibly removed.

Two things to keep in mind before doing this:

  1. If you tag kids with monitoring devices, we will be raising a generation of people who don't see a problem with being tagged and tracked. This sets a very dangerous precedent for the future if we are to retain our personal liberties.
  2. The company that supplies the information also gets to see where your kid is which creates a new set of questions. What does the company do with all that data? Would they possibly share or sell it? Could they lose it in a data breach?
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Parents Embarassed or Worse For What their Kids Post Online

Well this is different. I knew that posting online can have severe negative effects on the poster, but I hadn't considered the effect on the parents.

"Whether we're talking about dad's work secrets or problems between mom and dad with their relationship," Sgt. MacDonald said.

We asked him to show us just how easy it is to find incriminating posts. It didn't take long.

"Not only do I have to live with my nagging mom, my dad does drugs. This person, Tara, says her parents are lazy alcoholics," reads Sgt. MacDonald.

He says it's not hard for police, or employers, to uncover the identity of teens from the details in their profiles.

While drugs and underage drinking are likely problems that should be dealt with, some other things should remain private:

even innocent-sounding news can do damage. "They may be talking about how their father is losing a job, and perhaps a neighbor who's the mortgage broker for the father isn't aware that the father's job is in jeopardy,"
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Parents Can Get Fired For What their Kids Post Online

Well this is different. I knew that posting online can have severe negative effects on the poster, but I hadn't considered the effect on the parents.

"Whether we're talking about dad's work secrets or problems between mom and dad with their relationship," Sgt. MacDonald said.

We asked him to show us just how easy it is to find incriminating posts. It didn't take long.

"Not only do I have to live with my nagging mom, my dad does drugs. This person, Tara, says her parents are lazy alcoholics," reads Sgt. MacDonald.

He says it's not hard for police, or employers, to uncover the identity of teens from the details in their profiles

While those people might deserve to get fired (if the teen poster is telling the truth and not just venting), the article lists another example of a mortgage broker finding out that one of his customers lost his job.

Privacy is starting to become harder and harder to protect, but also more important at the same time.

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Some US Schools Fingerprint Students Like Criminals

Schools have our kids confused with criminals
(Image is in the Public Domain)

In a recent newsletter, the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes:

Despite complaints from privacy advocates and parents, schools in states across the country are considering using fingerprint scans to track students. Kids at Sandlapper Elementary in Columbia, South Carolina, have their fingerprints scanned to pay for their breakfast and check out library books, while officials at the Hope Elementary School District in Santa Barbara, California, have just announced similar plans to use finger scans to charge students for their lunches.

People need anonymity. It is up to the individual to decide whether to disclose that they were at a particular place, associate with particular people, or are involved in particular events. That's what it means to be innocent until proven guilty.

This is really simple folks: Criminals lose their rights, law abiding citizens don't. For the necessity of investigation, people who can be reasonably suspected of being involved in wrong-doing can be looked at more closely (with a warrant), but other than that, no government body should be tracking, monitoring, or data mining information about anyone. Raising kids as sub-citizens who won't expect the same rights and privileges we enjoy today is NOT ok.

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