Safety Flashback: This Week’s Top Headlines to Stay Aware — September 16, 2023

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Need to Know from SafeWise

Here's our weekly roundup of the most crucial safety news you need to know. From the digital realm of online privacy to security cam rescues, we've got you covered.

Stay informed, stay safe, and dive into the headlines that matter most in today's ever-evolving landscape of hazards and precautions. Your safety matters and this is where you'll find the news you need to protect what matters most.

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Is the digital age destroying privacy for children?

In today's digital age, children are growing up under the constant watchful eye of machines. The stats are staggering: 42 percent of kids have smartphones by age 10, and nearly half are on social media by age 12. The pandemic accelerated their digital lives, with online videos beating TV as their favorite pastime.

Yet, the protections they need online are lacking. While the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) mandates safeguards, compliance remains voluntary and often needs to be corrected.

Research reveals that children's apps are rife with data collection, with even COPPA-compliant ones gathering valuable info. Worse, every piece of data can be woven into a detailed profile, potentially exposing your child's identity. TikTok's recent privacy policy changes, for example, allow for the collection of voiceprints and faceprints. By age 13, online advertisers have amassed an average of 72 million data points about a child. It's a bleak picture, with even those closest to them sometimes compromising their privacy before they're even born.

Louisiana residents' true cost of flood protection could spur a mass exodus

Skyrocketing federal flood insurance premiums, projected to soar by over 700%, are triggering homebuyers to withdraw and could prompt a mass exodus from southern Louisiana, warn officials.

In a lawsuit against the federal government, Louisiana and nine other states aim to halt these steep rate increases. Although FEMA claims the new rate calculation method benefits most policyholders, Louisiana ZIP codes face monumental hikes, forcing residents to consider abandoning mortgages, selling generational homes, or dropping insurance.

The consequences ripple through real estate, tax revenue, flood prevention, and mitigation efforts, potentially rendering flood insurance unaffordable for some. A legal battle with significant implications is underway.

Other states, including Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, are also plaintiffs.

When home security meets mischievous Huskies!

Watch Johnny, the vigilant homeowner, rush to investigate a triggered alarm, only to discover the culprits: his adventurous Siberian Huskies, Titan, and Bear! These lovable troublemakers managed to break into the locked fridge, indulging in a feast of mac and cheese, spinach, and ham.

Huskies, ranked 21 on the American Kennel Club's 2022 list of popular breeds, are known for their intelligence and playfulness. However, their independent and mischievous nature requires consistent training and plenty of mental stimulation to keep them from digging, escaping, or causing mayhem.

Remember, a happy Husky is a stimulated one! Keep your furry friend engaged to prevent indoor mischief and ensure a peaceful coexistence with these spirited companions.

Can you guess which U.S. state is the healthiest?

Massachusetts tops the charts as the healthiest state in the U.S., according to a survey by Boston University School of Public Health and Sharecare. Assessing well-being across physical, social, community, purpose, and financial domains, Massachusetts led the pack.

The survey revealed an overall U.S. well-being score of 60.7 out of 100, similar to pre-pandemic levels. While physical health, social bonds, and purpose improved, financial well-being dipped, hinting at economic uncertainty. The East Coast dominated the list, with Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New Jersey in the top spots. The same 10 states have held the bottom positions since 2020, with West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi landing in the bottom three.

Nike permanently closes Oregon store amid rising theft concerns

Nike closed a prominent Oregon store due to rampant theft impacting its profits. The large factory store in Portland is permanently shut as petty theft and shoplifting take a toll.

Nike expressed commitment to the local community's upliftment while seeking input from local organizations and leaders for a new location. The closure follows reports of "brazen" thefts and a high rate of shoplifting incidents. The move signals a response to challenging retail conditions and safety concerns in the area, leaving the local community disheartened.

TV's not a waste of time when it helps save lives

A 12-year-old Florida hero, Austen MacMillan, sprung into action and saved a life using CPR he learned from "Stranger Things." When his behavioral therapist, Jason Piquette, struggled underwater, Austen's quick thinking and TV-inspired skills came to the rescue.

Ring cameras captured the dramatic scene as Austen pulled Piquette to safety and performed CPR. Austen's bravery and knowledge not only revived a life but highlighted the importance of CPR and teaching children to dial 911 on locked cellphones.

Alaskan hiker rescued thanks to bear cam viewers and heroic rangers

A dramatic rescue in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve! A stranded hiker in brutal weather was saved thanks to the vigilant viewers of Explore.org's bear livestream. When the hiker signaled for help on the webcam, eagle-eyed users reported it, triggering a swift response from park rangers. Despite challenging conditions, the hiker was found unharmed and brought to safety. Bear cam fans and heroic rangers joined forces for this heartwarming rescue

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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