Staff picks: The kids and tech edition

 In News, Staff Picks

Happy Friday! Here are the most interesting tech stories we read this week.

This empathetic carnival ride slows down if you get too scared (Read by Alexandria H.)

There’s a thin line between humans and machines, or at least that’s the goal of a new amusement ride called the Neurotransmitter 3000. The contraption is designed to adjust its thrill level based on the signals your body releases in response to the experience. In other words, stick a few sensors on your limbs and let your body control the ride. The video of this ride looks pretty wild, but it’ll be interesting to see if the concept of merging biometrics with machines will make its way into amusements parks. If so, I’ll be first in line to take these futuristic rides for a spin.

A toy for toddlers doubles as code bootcamp (Read by Camillia S.)

Everyone thinks their kid is the best and brightest of them all, and now a new toy lets you put your money where your mouth is by training your toddler to become the next Steve Jobs. Cubetto is a wooden robot that players maneuver on a course using computer programming. Its goal is to teach kids as young as 3 years old to code and design their own adventure as opposed to using a predetermined story – although books and play mats are available. When I think of my future children, I dream of buying them Playskool building blocks and Fisher Price toys, but I am clearly behind on the times. This educational toy will cost you a whopping $225, but just consider it an investment in your kid’s future.

Amazon will refund millions of unauthorized in-app purchases made by kids (Read by Heidi B.)

Technology has created many new parenting obstacles in the past couple of decades. For some parents, that includes unauthorized in-app purchases made by their children. This week it was announced that Amazon will be refunding more than $70 million to parents whose children made in-game purchases between November 2011 and May 2016. During this time period, kids could make in-app purchases for as much $99.99, and while Amazon did require password authorization at one point, it was only for purchases more than $20 and included a 15-minute window afterward when additional purchases could be made without a password. I’m not a parent, but imagining a kid happily pushing the “buy” button over and over again makes me anxious, so I’m glad Amazon is refunding the blindsided parents (who hopefully teach little Billy to stop and ask for permission!).

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