Need to Know
31 : 01 : 20

An interactive audio player for kids, UK schools are tackling period poverty and US renters are leaving destination cities behind.

Yoto is a screen-free interactive speaker for kids

Yoto Player. Branding by Pentagram Yoto Player. Branding by Pentagram
Yoto Player. Branding by Pentagram Yoto Player. Branding by Pentagram
Yoto Player. Branding by Pentagram Yoto Player. Branding by Pentagram

UK – Independent design consultancy Pentagram has joined forces with Yoto to create a tactile, interactive audio speaker for children.

Developed using a research-led process involving children aged from 21 months to seven years, the Yoto Player aims to provide the most straightforward entertainment and educational functionality, without the need for a screen or microphone. This resulting design is an easy-to-use audio player with a large pixel display that changes in line with the content being played.

Aimed at even the youngest of users, the Yoto Player uses multimedia cards that are slotted into the device, converting into a variety of audio formats – from stories and music to podcasts and sound effects. The player also encourages children to be creative themselves, with a Make Your Own card allowing children to draw and insert their own content cards.

As we uncover in our interview with Helenor Gilmour of Beano Studios, Millennial parents are increasingly seeking new and creative ways to educate their children, in particular through the use of analogue, hands-on experiences.

Tinder’s panic button aims to boost user safety

Tinder safety features Tinder safety features

US – Dating app Tinder is launching a number of new features to enhance the safety of using its platform both online and offline.

Among its new services are a panic button that alerts emergency services if a date goes wrong. Through an integration with personal safety app Noonlight, it provides Tinder users with the option of uploading details about an upcoming date – such as the person’s name, location and time – with a direct and discreet connection to emergency services if they feel unsafe. ‘It’s a first-of-its-kind added security measure to help protect Tinder members even when they’ve taken their interactions off the app into real life,’ explains Brittany LeComte, co-founder of Noonlight.

Tinder also hopes to combat catfishing with a second feature – human-assisted AI technology that verifies users’ photos and confirms their identity, giving blue ticks to verified profiles.

The launches come at a time when both dating and ride-sharing apps have come under scrutiny for poor measures on user safety. Demonstrating Morality Recoded in practice, Tinder is working to ensure it provides a service fit for the digital era.

UK schools introduce free period products

UK – In a bid to combat period poverty, UK students across all primary and secondary schools will now benefit from free sanitary products.

The new system, funded by the Department for Education, will give students access to tampons, sanitary towels, menstrual cups and eco-friendly pads, regardless of their socio-economic status. While the UK government originally planned to roll out the scheme only to secondary level students, the decision to expand the system was made after people pointed out that many girls begin their period before leaving primary education.

Part of an ongoing initiative to tackle the effects of period poverty on low-income families, the scheme comes after research indicated that more than 137,000 UK pupils had missed school in 2018 because of their period (source: Always).

While women’s equality is high on the agenda for many brands and organisations, government systems have previously failed to cater for many young women struggling to afford sanitary products. We discuss the impact of this in our opinion piece: Can Civic Brands eradicate period poverty?

Photography by Josefin Photography by Josefin

Stat: US renters are looking beyond destination cities

A report by US rental platform Apartment List has revealed that American renters are increasingly moving away from major cities like New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles in search of more affordable options or job opportunities in other areas.

According to the study, which drew on search data and IP addresses of Apartment List users, large groups of US renters are showing interest in moves to alternative cities, with the top three most searched for destinations being Denver, Colorado (48%); Baltimore, Maryland (47%); and San Diego, California (44%). Baltimore’s high ranking can be attributed to its status as an affordable alternative to other more expensive cities. With long-distance moves often motivated by employment opportunities, Apartment List says such residential mobility can often drive economic growth in regions, while attracting businesses to newly popular locations.

As explored in our recent macrotrend Liberation Luxury, major and capital cities are falling out of favour with consumers, as overcrowding, high living costs and pollution force them to consider moves to more attractive and affordable regions.

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