Today in Tech: Are mobile messaging apps a threat to Facebook?

Also: Is all that hands-on tablet time bad for your child?

Are apps like Line drawing young people away from Facebook?

Youth flock to mobile messaging apps, may be threat to Facebook [REUTERS]

The hot apps include Kik and Whatsapp, both products of North American startups, as well as Kakao Inc’s KakaoTalk, NHN Corp’s LINE and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat, which have blossomed in Asian markets.

Combining elements of text messaging and social networking, the apps provide a quick-fire way for smartphone users to trade everything from brief texts to flirtatious pictures to YouTube clips — bypassing both the SMS plans offered by wireless carriers and established social networks originally designed as websites.

The child, the tablet and the developing mind [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

So will a child who plays with crayons at dinner rather than a coloring application on an iPad be a more socialized person?

Ozlem Ayduk, an associate professor in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, said children sitting at the dinner table with a print book or crayons were not as engaged with the people around them, either. “There are value-based lessons for children to talk to the people during a meal,” she said. “It’s not so much about the iPad versus nonelectronics.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces changes to warranty policies, apologizes to customers in China following smear campaign [9 TO 5 MAC]

Today Cook announced that Apple will be implementing some changes to its warranty policies starting this month. Among the changes, Cook noted that Apple will improve its repair policy for the iPhone 4 and 4S, provide better information about warranties on its website, and improve training for staff:

  • Improved iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S repair policy
  • Provide a concise and clear on the website of the official Apple repair and warranty policy statement
  • Increase the intensity of the supervision and training of Apple Authorized Service Provider
  • Related issues to ensure that consumers can easily contact Apple Feedback Service

Eventbrite’s Julia and Kevin Hartz on building a business as a couple, and more [TECHCRUNCH]

Eventbrite co-founders Julia and Kevin Hartz have shown that building a business with your significant other — in this case, a spouse — can lead to big success. The online event planning and ticketing platform, which is understood to be making its way to an IPO, just hit a major milestone this week, crossing $1.5 billion in gross sales and 100 million tickets sold.

Russians selectively blocking Internet [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

The country’s communications regulators have required Facebook,Twitter and YouTube to remove material that the officials determined was objectionable, with only YouTube, owned by Google, resisting. The video-sharing site complied with a Russian agency’s order to block a video that officials said promoted suicide. But YouTube filed a lawsuit in Russian court in February saying the video, showing how to make a fake wound with makeup materials and a razor blade, was intended for entertainment and should not be restricted.

Why China is reading your email [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

China’s aggression has so far persisted, Mr. Thomas says, because “it makes perfect sense to them.” The U.S. has difficulty defending its cyber systems, the relatively new realm of cyber isn’t subject to international norms, and years of intrusions have provoked little American response. “I think they’re willing to take the risk right now because they believe that we can’t do anything to them,” he says. “You have to change the playing field for them, and if you don’t, they’re not going to change. They’re going to continue to rip off every bit of information they can.”

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