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TikTok On the Way Out?

Chinese-owned ByteDance has until Nov. 12 to divest its U.S. TikTok operations, per an executive order by President Donald Trump. TikTok, the personal video sharing site, is particularly popular with tweens and teens. In issuing the order, which also requires ByteDance to destroy all data on U.S. TikTok users, Trump said, "There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance ... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States." The question for parents, of course, is what app will teens and tweens put their energy into if TikTok goes away.

TikTok Fights Misinformation

TikTok, the video sharing app, takes a lot of heat for falsehoods and propaganda that often shows up in user-created content. To help rehabilitate its image, TikTok has partnered with the National Association for Media Literacy Education to launch a "Be Informed" campaign that features top influencers in humorous infomercial-style videos educating users about how to identify misinformation. The five videos cover topics including "Fact vs. Opinion," "Question the Source" and "When to Share vs. When to Report."

Parent’s Guide to TikTok

Chances are very good that you have heard of the video sharing app called TikTok and have maybe even bonded with your kids over the choreographed dances featured on the app during the lockdown. The video-sharing app has become so popular, it's made everyone from parents to President Trump nervous – that latter because of its possible connections to China. What makes it a rare social media platform though, is that it is more about laughs than politics. If  you don’t know much about the app you may want to check out this primer on the Common Sense Media site called the Parent’s Ultimate Guide to TikTok.

Byte Takes Chunk Out of Tik Tok

Now that President Trump and Secretary of State have both threatened to ban the video app, TikTok, for its possible Chinese connections, a competitor called Byte is being downloaded at a record pace from the Apple App store. TikTok, a current favorite of teens and tweens, is still around, but it looks like young users aren’t taking any chances of losing the ability to easily shoot and share short videos.

TikTok Faces Ban in US

The US government is examining TikTok, the video app popular with tweens and teens, and is considering banning the app for US users amid concerns the Chinese-backed firm is being used by the government to surveil individuals and spread propaganda, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. TikTok was recently banned from India over national security and privacy concerns

Free Web Sites and Apps That Can Keep Kids Learning

You don't always have to pay big bucks for great educational games, apps, and websites. Lots of outstanding free options are only a click away. Since the subjects on this list from Common Sense Media range from reading to math skills, kids can find all sorts of fun practice on all kinds of topics. The best part is that kids can check them out and move on if a title isn't a great fit—and it won't affect your wallet! Some favorites are Civilisations ARNational Geographic Kids, and Mission US: Flight to Freedom.


New Microsoft Family Safety App Available

Screen limits, content filters, and even a driving report are all baked into a forthcoming parental control app available for Microsoft 365 Family subscribers. If you interested in a free preview of the app, check in with Microsoft at this link or take a look at this video. When the app is rolled out later this year you will need a Microsoft 365 Family subscription, which costs $99.99 and comes with numerous other features and benefits as well.

Newest Pokemon App Advocates Teeth Brushing

Here is a new take on gaming - Pokémon Smile is an augmented reality (AR) toothbrushing game designed to encourage kids to brush their teeth better. In Pokémon Smile, players help “rescue other Pokémon from cavity-causing bacteria” by brushing their teeth. The app features some adorable art styles and AR effects that let players wear Pokémon hats while they brush their own teeth alongside the game. If you manage to brush away all the bacteria, players are rewarded by getting to catch the Pokémon at the end. Pokémon Smile isn’t The Pokémon Company’s only attempt at leveraging the brand into healthier living: the company also announced a sleep-tracking game called Pokémon Sleep last year.

TikTok Expanding Content

TikTok, a favorite social media platform of tweens and teens, is evolving from featuring short-form quirky clips to live video and content related to everything from sports and gaming to cooking, fashion and beauty, says Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships. The social platform expects to see expanded educational content, which would boost users' time on the app while helping creators monetize their efforts, and generating more ad dollars, he says. So expect your children may be spending more time on the app.

Telehealth and Your Family

While stay-at-home orders are being lifted, one change in daily life that seems likely to stay is telehealth. Simply defined, telehealth is the use of digital devices to remotely access health care services, which has been very important during the lockdown, when going out of the house was not suggested. But like most uses of technology, there are pros and cons. Certainly some of the pros are convenience and accessibility since you can manage your health care visits without leaving the comfort of your home. Many a parent has been very grateful not to have to transport, particularly on public transportation, a sick child to the doctor on a cold or rainy day just to get a quick diagnosis. Another pro is that telehealth makes health care more accessible to more people, although it should be noted you do need a smart device to access most telehealth apps and not all adults in the US have or use the right kind of sophisticated technology and high speed Internet to connect.

Another con is patients often fail to notice or mention other symptoms that would be helpful to the doctor in a diagnosis. For example, the tone of a person’s skin, eyes, lips, and body could signify a certain disease, but their discoloration or lack of color might not be evident to a doctor on a video screen. That means that patients become an even bigger factor in their own diagnosis and may need some training to help with diagnosing.

While telehealth is useful during times like this, especially when traveling to and going inside a hospital could put a person at more risk of getting ill, it is important to recognize the limitations. Patients that need physical interaction with doctors for wound care, broken bones, procedures and more still need to stick to the traditional in person visits. Bear in mind that you should always weigh the pros and cons of whether you need to see a doctor in person and choose the one that would be best for you and your family's health and well-being.