Messenger Kids Facebook App Creeps Technology Into Family Life

On December 4, the New York Times ran an article about how Facebook just introduced a new app called Messenger Kids. According to Facebook, this app makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message family and friends. Per their privacy policy, the app collects registration details from parents such as a child’s full name. It also collects the texts, audio and videos children send, as well as information about whom the child interacts with on the service, what features they use and how long the children use them. In launching this new app, Facebook has ignited a fierce debate about how young is too young for children to use mobile apps and how do parents deal with the creep of technology into family life.

One mother has stepped into the debate with an alternative. Janice Taylor created a website and application called Mazu, which teaches children and families how to use digital media responsibly and become positive digital citizens. She cautions parents and says they need to ask themselves, “do you trust Facebook as a medium to protect your children?”

Bing search engine results for “Facebook messenger kids”

“Facebook’s only goal is to monetize a new user base and beat SnapChat at it. Children should never be used as ammunition in the Social Media war for dominance.” Taylor explains.

Based on the concept that “It takes a village to raise a child,” Taylor takes the position that every adult has a role to play in the well-being of the child and society. Taylor created Mazu to build a healthy digital village for families that is founded in love and core values. “Traditional social media preys on our desires to be liked, to be validated, and to be rewarded. That’s why the ‘Like’ button is so addicting and why we at Mazu don’t have one.”

Since its inception in 2010, Mazu, with over 250,000 users and growing, has evolved and now, through partnerships with professional sports teams, has brought the ‘it takes a village’ mentality online. With a suite of family friendly apps, Mazu connects kids to their family, friends, and teams/ brands they love in a way that is safe, healthy and fun. To date they have raised more than $6 million from non-Silicon Valley companies.

A recent Reuters Facebook post about Facebook Messenger Kids

“We believe that parents matter in the digital lives of their children, that’s why our COPPA-certified apps are created with parents in mind. We believe in the power of family and staying connected,” says Taylor. “By building our products around a set of values and using the community to build each other up, we believe we can create better digital citizens.”

Janice Taylor is a social entrepreneur, mother, inspirational speaker, author, and online safety advocate. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an Honors thesis that focused on self-esteem and self-efficacy among women. It was from this research that she sought to create a solution to the issue of social media addiction and how it was affecting women, children, and families. For the Silo, Trina Kaye.  Have something to say about this article? Leave us a video comment by clicking record below or use the comment section at the bottom of this page to type us a response. 

Former Russian President Medvedev Said Off Air That Aliens Visit Our Planet

Dimitry Anatolyevich Medvedev is the tenth Prime Minister of Russia, incumbent since 2012. Before that, he previously served as the third President of Russia, from 2008 to 2012. The Russian Prime Minister has the second highest position in the government, after President Vladimir Putin. Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation comment confirms aliens are here. After the recording of a 2015 television program, in off-air comments, he was less guarded. He did not realize that his microphone was still open and stated: “I believe in Father Frost. But not too deeply.he said in a jovial reply to a question about Russia’s equivalent of Santa Claus.

Prime Minister Medvedev Aliens Interview

A journalist asked whether the president is handed secret files on aliens when receiving the briefcase needed to activate Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Medvedev the former Russian President stated,Along with the briefcase with nuclear codes, the president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet,” Mr. Medvedev answered playfully.

Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country … More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called ‘Men In Black’ … I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic,” he says.

None of the television stations that interviewed Mr. Medvedev broadcast the off-air comments, but they were delivered to Reuters as a pool signal and some were shown on YouTube.

Mr. Medvedev worked closely with Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg in the 1990s and it was Mr. Putin who ushered Mr. Medvedev, now 47, into power in 2008. In case of President’s Putin’s death, resignation or impeachment, the Prime Minister becomes the temporary president until new presidential elections are held.  For the Silo, via Major (ret.) George A. Filer -Filer’s Files 49-2015

5 Disruptive Luxury Travel Trends Shattering The Status Quo

With the global luxury market collectively growing at 4 percent to an estimated $1.15USD (€1.08) trillion in 2016, according to a recent “Bain & Company Luxury Study,” coupled with optimistic forecasts that the luxury goods market will pick up this year, the hospitality industry is gearing up for elevated demand among both leisure and business travelers. This amid evidence that, despite widespread geopolitical uncertainties, luxury consumers are redirecting their spending toward new and more personalized high-end experiences like luxury travel, food and wine.

“The luxury market has reached a maturation point,” said Claudia D’Arpizio, lead author of the study. “Brands can no longer rely on low-hanging fruit. Instead, they really need to implement differentiating strategies to succeed going forward. We are already starting to see clear polarization when it comes to performance with winners and losers emerging across product categories and segments.”

D’Arpizio also underscored that personal luxury market brands that “take an omni-channel, customer-centric approach will rise to the top.” Such is the prevailing wisdom for both the B2C and B2B luxury travel sector, specifically, with personalized experiences, quality of service and private booking options serving as primary distinguishing factors for luxe brand positioning throughout 2017 and beyond.

Here how these key drivers will converge with evolving luxury travel trends to greatly influence various vertical sectors—and, in doing so, the marketplace at large—in the months ahead:

1. Small group cultural immersions loom large.
Group Courtesy are increasingly seeking exclusive and regionally-authentic itineraries that cater to small groups. Tour companies like Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Gate 1 Travel are capitalizing on this trend with offerings that provide the convenience of an escorted tour with the intimate view of local cultures that large groups just can’t provide. “Our small group tours option has seen, by far, the most significant increase in booking volume–up 50% in 2016,” the company reports.

A City Lodge Hotel Group report concurs that the trend of being “connoisseurs of local culture” will boom this year. It emphasizes that indigenous tourism experiences and cultural immersion will remain a big factor whether traveling within your own home country or jaunting to faraway lands. “We’ll see more people wanting to visit more than the big landmarks and monuments of their destination,” it says. “Rather people are more likely to be interested in knowing about the locals–those that call that place home. Trips to the rural communities will become popular, and travelers are likely to be more interested in private guides that teach them about the traditional ways of life.”

2. Private villa travel surpassing leading luxe resorts.
Today’s breed of private villa rentals have become the ultimate in luxury travel lodging for vacationers and business travelers, alike. This is due to the vast array of benefits and creature comforts it proffers for couples, families and small groups. While maximized privacy and security, uber-tailored guest service and 5-star accommodations and amenities are chief reasons the trend toward private villa lodging is exploding, an elite few have offerings far beyond that don’t just rival, but far exceed, those offered by high-end resorts, including their elite Penthouse suit options.

Courtesy Casa Dos Cisnes.jpgAccording to luxury travel agent Sandy Webb who books elite vacations all over the world “private villa residences offering first class, one-of-a-kind services are ushering in an entirely new era of bespoke hospitality around the globe. They are, in fact, single handedly setting a new and decidedly elevated standard for luxe travel worldwide.”

One private villa exemplifying this new standard is Casa Dos Cisnes–Puerto Vallarta’s foremost premier private oceanfront villa vacation experience. This  10,000 square foot Casa Dos Cisnes property, a five-bedroom colonial style home with breathtaking views of the Pacific that can accommodate up to 10 adults, goes well over-and-above to ensure each guest’s needs, desires, hopes and expectations for an extraordinary private villa vacation are fulfilled.

According to owner Cathryn Arnell, this includes proffering a bevy of premium benefits, including an authentic and stylishly-appointed residential setting, custom-prepared gourmet meals from an on-site private chef, 24/7 bilingual butler service and multiple staff, monitored security, housecleaning services, private infinity-edge ocean view pool, fully equipped state-of-the-art gym, large media-entertainment room, concierge and spa service, musicians for hire, sports and boating excursions, VIP treatment at the city’s leading beach club and most renowned restaurants, and more. “Given that guests enjoy complete privacy and security in the most exclusive area in Puerto Vallarta, commandeering the entire 10,000 square foot space with all of the relaxation, solitude and discretion that affords, the result is a one-of-a-kind holiday providing an unparalleled culinary and luxury living experience.”

3. Higher caliber private jet jaunts.
Jet Courtesy to Sergey Petrossov, founder and CEO of JetSmarter—an industry-leading private jet company based in Dubai, people are increasingly growing accustomed to personalized experiences, so much so, that it isn’t a demand anymore; it is now an expectation that needs to be met.

In order for brands to be memorable, they need to remember their customers and offer unique customized experiences. For its part, this JetSmarter achieves by placing a heavy emphasis on member relationships, with each assigned a relationship manager who is responsible for creating personalized and customizable private travel experiences.

JetSmarter also cites that there’s a very thin line between high-end and luxury, with the difference barely noticeable. “The travel industry is inundated with both high-end and luxury brands, however the distinction is relatively minor,” Petrossov said. “People often confuse high-end brands for luxury ones. Luxury brands essentially need to heighten their levels of service to be able to distinguish themselves from their high-end counterparts.”

4. Next-gen travel tech eases and expedites.
Smartphone Courtesy Intelligence (AI) is another tech trend that will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. According to Advito’s 2017 Industry Forecast, AI has already enabled a range of apps, bots and software that makes it easier for industry purveyors to interact with travelers at every step of a trip to expedite, ease and enhance. AI automates computer processes to work in the same way as the human brain. Natural language processing (NLP) helps computers understand human speech or typing, and AI then applies machine learning to provide a useful response.

Advito reveals that the travel industry is “well-positioned to embrace AI,” and also that the wider travel industry is adopting AI as, for example, KLM passengers are now able to use Facebook Messenger to confirm bookings, get boarding passes and flight status updates. “AI is still in its infancy, but it is in our immediate future,” the report asserts. “As it develops, it will help simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalized offering.”

5. Game changing smart suitcases solve perennial problems.

Courtesy Diego Cespedes.Bluesmart.jpgTravel is tough enough in the best of circumstances and is all-too-often replete with challenges. From crowded freeways, overbooked flights, Wi-Fi downtime and generally not having necessary items at hand, getting from point A to point B can be fraught with more than its fair share of frustrations.  Not surprisingly, technologists have responded with problem-solving gadgets and gear that exemplify tremendous innovation and ingenuity both in concept and execution. One glowing example of this is the Bluesmart Suitcase. Billed as “the world’s first smart suitcase,” this carry-on keeps traveler’s belongings tracked, devices charged, bag secure and trips hassle-free thanks to integrated technology that syncs to an associated mobile app that’s compatible with both iPhone and Android.

The suitcase features a built-in battery/charger with 2 USB ports. The substantial 10.000 mAh battery can charge your phone up to six times, juicing up this and any other USB-connectable device from the USB port on the back or the inside. The bag also boasts a 3G+GPS tracker with global coverage to track the suitcase anywhere in the world; a scale built right into the handle that interfaces with the app to tell you the approximate weight of your suitcase; and a remote digital lock that can be set up to lock itself when you step away and to unlock when you return. The TSA- approved smart lock provides distance alerts, notifying you if you leave it behind. Of course, the bag needs to carry you belongings, so the main compartment does provide large space for clothes, shoes, and coats, while a secondary TSA-friendly compartment is able to accommodate up to a 15″ laptop.

Despite the fact that luxury sales fell flat in 2016 as consumers shunned traditional products, it’s experiences—namely travel and entertainment—that are predicted to drive sector sales growth up ahead.  “There is a progressive shift from physical products to experiences, especially in the last year,” Federica Levato, partner at Bain & Company and co-author of the study, told Reuters, predicting that trend would continue. With the world economy poised to regain momentum this year and the penchant among wealthy consumers to spend on travel and gourmet food and wine rather than clothes and accessories, the future is bright for high-end hospitality. For the Silo, Merilee Kern.

MAIN-RT-LO-Tight-2.jpgAbout the author: Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at Follow her on Twitter here: and Facebook here:


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Ontario’s Energy Minister has no explanations for Samsung payments: MPP Barrett

We have the technology? "Yesterday, the Minister of Energy announced a scaling back of the costly Samsung secret deal that would see the province paying $6 billion for a promised 900 short-term jobs down from $9 billion for a supposed 16,000 jobs just two years ago. That means that the province is now paying $6.7 million for each job that may or may not be created." In Hollywood during the 1970's, Six Million Dollars would buy you a bionic man or a bionic woman. CP
We have the technology? “Yesterday, the Minister of Energy announced a scaling back of the costly Samsung secret deal that would see the province paying $6 billion for a promised 900 short-term jobs down from $9 billion for a supposed 16,000 jobs just two years ago. That means that the province is now paying $6.7 million for each job that may or may not be created.” In Hollywood during the 1970’s, Six Million Dollars would buy you a bionic man or a bionic woman. CP

Simcoe —While the McGuinty government’s re-negotiated Samsung deal does nothing to slow massive wind towers marching on Haldimand-Norfolk, it does increase the amount the province is paying for each job promised to be created by the Korean consortium.

 Yesterday, the Minister of Energy [ Minister Bob Chiarelli ] announced a scaling back of the costly Samsung secret deal that would see the province paying $6 billion for a promised 900 short-term jobs down from $9 billion for a supposed 16,000 jobs just two years ago. [Which would have worked out to 562,500$ per job CP]  That means that the province is now paying $6.7 million for each job that may or may not be created.

We have been telling anyone who would listen since the inception of the Green Energy Act that the government’s green gamble would fail to come close to the touted jobs promised by the legislation or the subsequent Samsung sweetheart agreement, [and] now that government has finally come to the realization that we are paying way to much for way too little, they are tweaking the agreement to ensure we are paying even more for the per job for positions that still may or may not ever materialize.

The announcement has left more unanswered questions – even for the Minister himself who refused to answer when asked if government was moving away from wind energy. He also couldn’t explain how much Samsung is being paid per kilowatt hour to produce energy in Ontario, nor could he explain how the government came to their touted $24 in ratepayer savings on future energy bills.

This is a case of far too little, far too late – the damage of skyrocketing electricity bills, rural turbine intrusion on unwilling hosts, and lost jobs has already taken hold. Let’s not forget that we are losing upwards of 600 jobs at our Nanticoke coal plant, while industrial wind towers invade.

While the Minister has said that future wind energy deals with Samsung will have to seek municipal approval, it will do nothing to halt the onslaught of turbines in our area. For the Silo, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett

Supplemental- June 2013- Toronto TSX- * Samsung Electronics Co lost $12 billion in market value, hit by brokerage downgrades that have underscored concerns about slowing sales of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone.