How Much Snow Does It Take To Cancel Schools Map

 How Much Snow Does It Take To Cancel Schools?

How Much Snow Does It Take To Cancel Schools?


Parents' Guide for Safe Online Gaming For Kids

Parents' Guide for Safe Online Gaming For Kids

Increasingly, video games have progressed towards an online multiplayer business model where players can chat and connect with other players. Games like StarCraft, World of Warcraft, PUBG, and Fortnite are completely online, while both single-player and multiplayer modes are provided by others like Minecraft and Call of Duty.

It's important to understand that online experiences are usually not considered by the ESRB classification system for assessing age and content ratings for video games. So, while with its fun graphics and cartoon art style, a video game-like Fortnite might seem child-friendly on the surface, adult players can say whatever they want to in the voice chat of the game.

Controversies about video games can be incredibly complicated. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) is a cooperative online fighting video game that provides in-game microtransactions where real money can be bought for virtual in-game products. CS: GO offers "skins," in particular, or spray-painted designs to decorate the arms or character of a player. It is estimated that some skins cost upwards of a thousand dollars.

Skins may also be shared between accounts. This has led to the development of websites designed to allow players to bet the value of their skins against the skins of other users. Trading platforms such as these recruit famous YouTube celebrities to also promote the service to millions of viewers.

Players bet and win skins on these platforms based on random chances and betting on live matches. While this setup is basically gambling, by not including real money, but rather virtual objects that can be exchanged for money, trading skins manages to dodge the legal definition of gambling. Nonetheless, the makers of the game have been hit with class-action litigation over the risk of gambling on these platforms by underage players.

In 2016, when successful Counter Strike YouTubers TmarTn and Syndicate, who were famous for producing videos of them playing on these types of websites, were caught manipulating bets on a website they owned, there was also a big scandal. The two players will bet in these videos and show the players how much they won. They never, however, disclosed to their audience that on a website they owned, they were gambling. All their winnings were staged, manipulating, and enticing their millions of fans, many of whom were underage, to gamble.

A related new trend is an emergence of "loot boxes." In some games, players can buy or win a virtual crate that gives the player a randomized collection of additional virtual items that can be used in-game when opened. It has been claimed that loot boxes are gambling in disguise thanks to the randomization aspect.

In fact, against loot boxes, the Belgian government ruled, calling them a form of gambling. Owing to how profitable they are, big companies continue to push loot boxes. In the video game industry, for consumers who buy a disproportionate amount of loot boxes, major corporations have also coined the word "whales".

You may have heard of loot boxes with various names. For example, the video game Rainbow Six: Siege refers to them as "Alpha Packs." The above screenshot shows Overwatch's seasonal "loot box".

Generally, cell phone games contain microtransactions. Any type of transaction that takes place in a game involves these transactions. Usually, the bill whatever credit card is attached to your account in the App Store or Google Play Store. A few examples of free-to-play games that include excessive microtransactions are Player Unknown's Battlegrounds, Pokemon Go, and Roblox.

Microtransactions need to be identified to parents. They may be addictive to your kids, and your child may rack up a large bill on your credit card in extreme cases.

For most children and adolescents, the Internet has had a positive effect on their lives. However, your duty as a parent is to maintain a healthy balance between the use of the Internet and the online privacy and data protection of your children. Speak to them thoroughly about social media and the consumption of content, and be ready to step in if problems occur.

Be an involved listener, inform them about the risks of particular content, and make sure they understand that it can have implications for their online acts. Take the time to recognize the websites and programs that your kids also use the most. It is integral to thriving in an increasingly Internet-centered world to teach them how to communicate with others online.

Parents' Guide for Safe YouTube and Internet Browsing for Kids

parental controls youtube

You try hard to keep your kids safe from so many different risks, but they are exposed to endless online threats every day. Predators, offensive content, attempts at identity theft, and other things in real life that you wouldn't let them encounter are all waiting for them.

Shockingly, 1 in 5 U.S. teens say strangers online have confronted them in a sexual manner; only 25% told their parents.  As a parent, that’s terrifying.

Thanks to websites like YouTube and Reddit, young people have access to a virtually limitless pool of content. Worse, the Internet, the growth of smartphones, and the culture of social media allow us from anywhere to access these things. No matter what you think about it or how much you know about it, sites like YouTube are changing the way kids grow up.

Although it isn't necessarily a bad thing, kids have more access, some good and some bad, to new sources of information. It's easy to find useful information on YouTube, but stumbling across harmful or even malicious content is like that.

Limiting What Your Kids Watch on YouTube?

The response to this question is not straightforward. Fortunately, when it comes to managing YouTube and Internet access, there are choices open to parents. 

The number one priority for parents should be to teach their children to protect themselves online and use social media safely. You can't control anything your child does all the time as a mom, and older teens may want some digital privacy (and truly need it). Instead, when teaching your kids how to protect themselves online, concentrate on being vigilant about their protection.

Online Strangers

In addition to helping you to communicate with close friends and family members, websites such as Instagram and Twitter also open up contact with total strangers. Almost half of Facebook users accept friend requests from individuals they have never met before, and most users are acquainted with social media reports or chat requests that have gone wrong. But did you know that YouTube facilitates comments on most videos and that links posted by predatory adults hidden behind false profiles can be found in those comments sections?

What Do Children Do On The Internet

The Pew Research Center discovered in 2015 that 92% of teenagers go online every day and that 75% own a smartphone. An Australian study later revealed that in the past month, 95 percent of 8- to 11-year-olds accessed the Internet. 

YouTube, Facebook, and online games like Roblox were the most frequent websites they used. In reality, for many younger users, email and even text messages have taken a backseat to social media. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and others have an almost limitless content supply.

Apps For Parental Controls

Many modern computers, applications, and web browsers provide parental controls that limit children's access to certain content, but did you know that parental controls are already included in many antivirus software titles? With one installation, you have two layers of security. Some common alternatives include:

  • Bitdefender - The premium edition of Bitdefender comes with a lot of features, but some of them are distracting. These features include a filter for webcams, activity logs, history, and warnings, tracking of social media and cell phones, IP monitoring and blocking, monitoring of SMS and calls, blocking of websites and applications, and tracking locations. 
  • Norton-this household name involves the supervision of time, network, search, social media, and location, personal data security, access request, and support for up to 10 devices. 
  • Avast – the website blocking feature is less intrusive than the other options mentioned. Parents can block websites and keywords that are unique.

A fast search will show you which antivirus software contains parental controls, but in our experience, education and communication are the best way to promote healthy Internet browsing. 

Most sites, such as Netflix, have built-in parental controls that limit passcode content. Kid-focused user accounts are enabled by Netflix to block adult-only shows. In their setting's menus, iPhones also have parental controls. 

Through downloading such apps, some tech-savvy children can circumvent parental controls. Prevent them from doing so by giving them access to non-administrator user accounts on your operating system. Most would only allow new apps to be installed through those accounts.

Finally, teaching your children about some intelligent browsing habits goes a long way to ensuring their safety. You want them to be taught: 

  • Never share personal data such as your phone number, email, address, or personal photos online. 
  • Before you write, think. Anything you say online is attached to your profile, so don't post something you wouldn't want a teacher, a classmate, a family member, or a future employer to see. 
  • Understand that their online actions in real life will have consequences. 
  • Take some time on Facebook and other online sites to go through the privacy settings. 
  • Don't password for sharing. 
  • Without parental approval, don't meet someone you've befriended online.
YouTube

YouTube has modernized access to digital media, and people of all ages use this famous video sharing platform. Many parents rely on YouTube to entertain or teach their kids, and while this works for many, there is a lot of disturbing YouTube material that masquerades as child-friendly. 

YouTube has it all: children's shows, gadget reviews, video game videos (known as "Let's Plays") interlaced with player commentary, and so much more. The content producers of YouTube are more than keen to have content that appeals to young kids.

But you can't find it to be all kid-friendly. You can find lots of malicious and racy content on YouTube. While users have the opportunity to "tag" inappropriate videos and a children's mode is offered by YouTube, these solutions are not ideal. Being mindful of what they are seeing is the only way to ensure stable viewing for really young kids.
  • Without headphones, let them watch so that you can listen in. 
  • From time to time, check their video history. 
  • When it comes to dubious material, consider the latest patterns (more on this later). 
  • Encourage them to watch kid-friendly channels that you know.
It's important to know how to recognize any questionable content your child might be exposed to on YouTube among the kid-friendly channels. There are countless outlets on the surface that seem innocent, but a closer look will show how upsetting the material really is.

YouTube Parental Controls

On YouTube, parental controls exist. They are far from ideal and will always slip through some poor content, but you can mitigate the likelihood that anything upsetting will be seen by your kids. This is what you can do through the parental controls of YouTube:
  • Block the types and producers of particular content. You can block it if there is a particular channel you are aware of or a genre of content. 
  • Enable only authorized content. Through approving unique content, parents may also control what their kids watch. Just this content and nothing else would be possible for children to watch. 
  • Turn off the hunt. You can turn off the search feature on YouTube. For parents of children who are capable of reading and writing, this is a great choice. 
  • Using limitations on YouTube Kids. This is a popular option for parents who want a kid-friendly version of YouTube. Although it does not block anything, a lot of the adult content is eliminated.
TikTok / Instagram / Facebook

TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are still one of the most popular social media platforms, but younger audiences are increasingly turning away from it. If your child uses Facebook, chances are that getting a profile plays a major role in the ability of your child to fit in with peers at school. The normal online dangers are not only present but what your child shares will have an effect on his or her livelihood down the road. College admissions officers and work recruiters have indicated that content could damage the chances of an applicant on TikTok, Facebook / Instagram, and other platforms.

What does streaming videos have to do with that? A streaming feature called Instagram & Facebook Live was launched by Facebook. These are videos that are broadcast to the friends' list of the user, but they can be shared with the recording. That means raw, unedited footage of anything the user opted to broadcast can be shared to unconnected users. 

Snapchat

Snapchat is a mobile device messaging service where users can send friends' photos and videos. The app is popular with teenagers and young adults, and surveys have shown that Snapchat has been used by 32 percent of US teenagers. 

Unlike Facebook, without getting direct access to his or her account, you can not track your child's activities on Snapchat. Instead:
  • Ask your kid, along with you, to open Snapchat messages. 
  • Go to the settings of the app and ensure that messages can be received only from friends rather than strangers. 
"In 2014, when a third-party" snap saving "app was hacked, Snapchat was in the spotlight. More than 90,000 compromising images, many of which featured underage nudity, were leaked on the Internet. 

Note, "snaps" maybe photos or videos, so Snapchat is influenced by the same issues you might have about Facebook Live or YouTube content.

Indoor Air Quality And Student Performance

Indoor Air Quality And Student Performance

Many people are unaware of the importance the indoor air quality environment plays in a child’s ability to succeed academically. One of the most important factors that can substantially limit a child’s ability to thrive physically and academically is that of poor indoor air quality. 

Parents, school leaders, and policymakers need to be aware of the impact of poor indoor air quality on student performance and health. Understanding the relationship between school conditions and student health and academic performance will enable school officials and parents to improve the state of schools.

New research highlighting the negative impact of poor classroom air quality on students' performance.  have found that poor air quality in the classroom has a negative impact on students "performance.     Poor indoor air has a negative impact on student health on student performance and health.  Ventilation rates and carbon dioxide concentrations in schools directly correlate with student performance, health symptoms or signs, and absence rates.  Peak daily, and even time-average, concentrations of carbon dioxide in occupied classrooms are often double the recommended 1000 ppm levels. 

Classrooms need to maintain acceptable temperatures and humidity, control air pollutants, and install outdoor air filters in the building. Having the knowledge of what good indoor air quality is will guide your work and help you in your efforts to maintain and control it.        

In addition, studies have shown that improving indoor air quality, such as reducing indoor pollutants, can help to increase the cognitive performance of individuals by up to 101 percent. The EPA cites scientific studies that suggest indoor air problems can lead to higher rates of asthma, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. Poor indoor air quality has an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Many schools have leaks, water damage, and excessive humidity, leading to dust, mold, and other allergens in the air that contribute to poor indoor air quality.     

Ways To Fix Poor Air Quality In Schools

1)  Improve Ventilation – By keeping airflow moving throughout the building, schools can prevent harmful air from stagnating and being breathed into children’s lungs. Keep windows and doors open while making sure HVAC systems are operated and updated regularly and if they’re not, teachers can open windows for further fresh air. This is critical in managing the levels of carbon dioxide and any potential risks from carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, and many other indoor air pollutants. For older schools without an HVAC system, it is important for fresh air to be able to come in from the outside. On a nice day, this is simple but presents other challenges in winter.

2) Find Leaks – Find any leaks or areas of erosion where pollution is entering the building and fix them properly, providing a long-term solution. This will prevent further seepage of harmful air pollutants and contaminants. In some cases, UV-C lights are used in the HVAC air ducts to prevent mold growth from standing water.

3)  Clean the Air with an Air Purifier – Adding a commercial air cleaner or set of HEPA air purifiers throughout a school can filter the air substantially, using high-efficiency filtration to remove up to 99.99% of harmful airborne particulates. Browse our full selection of Commercial Air Purifiers and our HEPA Air Purifier Bundles.   

Causes Of Poor Air Quality In Schools

1) Poor Ventilation & HVAC Systems - Inadequate ventilation results in high levels of harmful airborne particulates and carbon dioxide levels. It also leads to mold and bacteria growth. Lastly, if HVAC systems aren’t cleaned regularly, they can blow particulate matter like dirt and other harmful build-ups into classrooms.

2) Indoor Air Pollutants – With so many kids carrying their germs around schools, bacteria are regularly being spread around classrooms. Consider the additional chemicals and off-gassing from cleaning products and the air is almost certainly unhealthy.

3) Aging Buildings – Many schools have been running for decades, with very few updates. As a result, many schools have problems with leaks, water damage, and excessive moisture – which lead to dust, mold, and other airborne allergens that contribute to poor indoor air quality.

4) Schools Located Near Sources of Pollution – Schools that are located in busy cities or near highways face a barrage of fumes from exhaust and gases like carbon monoxide. Those that are near industrial plants face similar outdoor air quality challenges. To help with this the EPA enacted the Clean Air Act. As part of this, they require major sources of pollutants to obtain an operating permit called a Title V Permit.

Fresh Air Ventilation At Schools Should Be The Highest Priority

open windows and doors at schools

Solving indoor air problems in schools is a long-standing problem in many schools. Many school districts have launched a new initiatives to improve the quality of ventilation in public schools.  School openings are in chaos as administrations try to figure out how to revamp their often neglected heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure so that poor air flow does not contribute to transmitting COVID-19 infections to students, teachers and families. 

Education about indoor air quality (IAQ) And that's one way people can be proactive and protect themselves from diseases in general. There are four critical IA-QQ tools in schools that should be kept in mind: improving ventilation, installing proper air filtration systems, maintaining healthy relative humidity, and introducing continuous monitoring of air quality. A guide says that districts and schools are encouraged to increase the frequency of fresh air to improve the quality of indoor air. 

Guidelines recently published by the Health Authority suggest that schools should move activities outdoors as much as possible, ensure proper operation of ventilation systems and adjust them to increase air flow. 

A federal agency estimates that 41 percent of school districts need to replace or replace heating and ventilation systems, underscoring the significant infrastructure needs for schools as they prepare for the novel coronavirus when it reopens. The Government Accountability Office said several schools it visited had HVAC systems were leaking or dirty and causing damage, and that if these problems were not addressed, they could lead to indoor air quality problems and even force schools to temporarily close until the problems are resolved.      

Office buildings usually have box-like roof units that heat the interior by supplying air to display HVAC booths. In schools, which are naturally ventilated in many warmer regions, these systems are relatively rare and far apart, meaning that air is circulated through windows, ducts and the roof.  Typically office buildings and other buildings with highly efficient air conditioning systems can create a thermally pleasant environment for people and often also improve the quality of the circulating indoor air.     

It is important to ventilate sufficiently to ensure that the indoor air is sufficiently refreshed from the outside with fresh air. If you have your indoor climate under control, make sure you get enough fresh air from outside to circulate and refresh throughout the building.     

The development of a proper general ventilation system can play an important role in preventing the spread of infections. By monitoring the carbon dioxide levels that are often used to measure ventilation, we can ensure that school interiors inject sufficient outside air into the ventilation systems to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the recirculating air.     

It can also be a good time to think about ways to improve the air quality in your building without significantly changing the size of the ventilation system or making physical changes to control the indoor air flow. Increasing the amount of outside air mixed into mechanical ventilation systems, or even simply setting up fans to carry air into and out of classrooms, can serve as a weather solution.         

These guidelines recognize the importance of ventilation, but recognize that in the event of a pandemic, there are no completely safe indoor spaces. However, minimizing concentration of people sharing and breathing the same air can help minimize airborne spread of the disease.    

Ventilation is one of four basic requirements for schools to reopen successfully in the classroom, the other being to wear masks and avoid crowds, and the use of air conditioning and ventilation systems. The safe way to stay indoors is to constantly stream outside air into the room and replace it.  Windows should not be opened when the air conditioning is running, as moist air entering through windows can increase the likelihood of mold forming.   

Although many classrooms do not have air conditioning, open windows are the only cooling available to classrooms and can be helpful if classrooms have them.     

Air quality in schools can also be discussed, as it can affect the health of students, teachers, staff, parents and other students in the classroom. The guidelines, recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), suggest that schools should not cause health problems for students or staff. They suggest moving activities outside where possible, ensuring that the ventilation system is working properly and adapting it for increased air exchange.

There is no evidence that ventilation directly reduces the risk of disease transmission, but studies after studies have shown that coronavirus spreads in poorly ventilated areas. Many studies suggest that inadequate ventilation increases the transmission of the disease. Studies of carbon dioxide levels used as a substitute for the ventilation unit have shown that it is common to ventilate incorrectly, and ventilation rates in schools often fall below recommended minimum ventilation rates.   

Schools Should Offer an Online Option in the Fall

Schools Could Offer an Online Option

There will be a small percentage of parents that will refuse to send their kids to school and these parents will try and ruin it for everyone.  We need to provide parents and students with choices and not a classroom where "one size fits all". 

I keep hearing parents talk about the "new normal" and asking what is school going to look like in the Fall?  I frankly don't think school should look any different for students in the classroom.  However, there could be an online option for kids who don't feel comfortable at school. 

There have been studies that show kids don't pass the virus on to adults.  There have been almost zero cases of Covid-19 among young students and there is zero proof that any kids are passing this on to adults.  

If parents are freaked out about their kids getting the virus at school then maybe there should be an online option.  Most parents I speak with (apolitical) want their kids to be in a normal classroom setting in the Fall.  

The risks are far greater of kids developing learning and social disabilities spending too much time on the computer and not interacting with other kids and adults.  I have heard from several parents of kids with ADHD that online school is hurting their kids learning ability.  Kids need to interact and be social because its just what living life is about.  

Life is full of choices and risks.  Walking across the street is a risk and riding your bike to school is a risk.  Sending your kids to school is not a risk in my view.  Yes, kids are going to get sick and this is part of life that you are not going to change.  However, having an online school option will be a huge benefit so they don't just sit at home being sick and fall behind.  

Many schools recently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars constructing security fences around perimeters and installed active shoot emergency plans.  This to me is a much higher risk than sending your kids to school who might get a virus that will have almost no harm to kids.  

I also don't think social distancing in the school should be made an issue either.   There is no point shrinking classroom sizes or sending kids to school on random days to keep the class sizes smaller.  

I am not in favor of requiring masks for many reasons as doctors say that wearing a mask too long weakens immune systems and you can't breath properly.  This photo below of a Chinese classroom is frightening and in now way do I want our kids going to school in a Communist like environment.  Having proper ventilation in a classroom is more important than having face masks or face shields.  

I think our school boards need to focus on one thing only to open schools.  Ventilation of classrooms.  I don’t think a lot needs to change other than opening windows and doors for fresh air circulation will help a lot with spreading anything.  

Teachers are the one road block in this discussion if they want to come to school or want to provide an additional online environment.  There are many older teachers that probably could retire as a result of this virus and there are plenty of younger teachers willing to step in.  

Teachers unions are a complicated animal also that will likely want to block anything that creates more work or bureaucracy.   If teachers unions were to strike over the additional work or requirement to provide an online classroom alongside their normal classroom that wouldn't look very good right now.  School boards need to act now so teachers can prepare for providing an online environment.  

Having an online option for kids would not be that hard.  I would imagine the average school might have 10-20% of kids who might want to do an online only school.  If a child has a pre-existing condition or medical risk they can stay at home.  A separate classroom or teacher could be dedicated to these kids through the public school system.  This way it would not disrupt the learning environment of kids in a classroom and the teachers would not be distracted with tech support. 

There are lots of tools that are very easy to use like ZoomGoToMeeting and Google Meet where students can interact with the classroom.  Google Classroom also provides an online environment of sharing work and taking tests.  


School boards are going to have to take charge and get their teachers and unions organized now.  They cannot politicize this virus and start redesigning the school system as a result of this crisis.  Herd immunity might be coming soon and it is questionable if a vaccine will ever be ready and even effective.    

I am also not in favor of testing kids or taking temperatures of kids entering the school either.  There is simply not enough data to support that kids have any greater risk getting the virus.  Imposing regulations on how kids are sent to school is a very slippery slope of regulation.