Speak Up to Stop Mattel's Eavesdropping "Hello Barbie"

I'm proud to be part of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood's (CCFC) demand that toymaker Mattel halt marketing and production of its planned "Hello Barbie." The Wi-Fi-connected doll uses an embedded microphone to record children's voices—and other nearby conversations—before transmitting them over the Internet to cloud servers.

Mattel's technology partner ToyTalk then processes the audio with voice-recognition software. During its Toy Fair 2015 product demonstration, Mattel said it will use this information to "push data" back to children through Barbie's built-in speaker.

"Kids using 'Hello Barbie' aren’t only talking to a doll, they are talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial," said Dr. Susan Linn, CCFC’s Executive Director. "It's creepy—and creates a host of dangers for children and families.”

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Bernadette and Fathering

I was 13 the first time someone asked me to be a godfather, I was thrilled and awed. One might consider it foreshadowing that this baby was a girl, my cousin Bernadette Mahon. February 16 is her birthday.

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Heather's Birthday

Heather_Henderson.jpgHeather Henderson was born 42 years ago today. Few people have made such an impact in my life—and the lives of many, many others.

For 9 years, I worked for a national nonprofit called Dads & Daughters® (no longer around, unfortunately). When the amazing Michael Kieschnick and I began building the organization in 1999, we hired this smart, organized, creative and determined young woman named Heather Henderson to help us launch it.

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Dad Holiday Tips (Part 2)

Slow down and embrace the holidays with your daughter this year.

You can do it more effectively with time than with money and stuff.

Here, from my book The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship, are 5 more Dads & Daughters Tips for the Holiday season. 

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Dad Holiday Tips (Part 1)

Year-end Holidays can make wonderful experiences and memories for dads, daughters and stepdaughters. They can also be stressful, and whip by incredibly fast.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for making the most of your Holiday.  (These tips work just as well for sons, if you have them—and for moms, too!)

Five of my 10 Tips today--look for the rest in my next post!

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