Game review: ‘Inside,’ excellent but mature adventure has scary and disturbing imagery

Parents need to know that "Inside" is a downloadable narrative platformer-puzzle adventure game. It stars a nameless boy that's on the run from powers unknown. Frequently scary and haunting imagery depicts the boy struggling to escape armed men, dogs, and other perils. The boy suffers bloody deaths that range from being blown to bloody bits to having his throat torn open by dogs. He doesn't fight back but instead attempts to evade his pursuers. He also uses his wits to overcome obstacles, solving contextual puzzles to keep progressing. Players will need to interpret for themselves much of what they see, but several clear themes – including isolation, pursuit, and perseverance – emerge as the story progresses.


App review: Pok–mon Quest, quirky, blocky, repetitive new take on hit franchise

Parents need to know that Pokemon Quest is a free-to-play role playing game available for download on iOS and Android devices, as well as the Nintendo Switch. Players build a small base camp and recruit various Pokemon to send out on expeditions, exploring different areas of an island. Pokemon fight each other using a variety of special abilities, including blowing fire, throwing rocks, and poisoning each other. Violence is presented in a cartoonish way and does no permanent damage to the Pokemon, knocking them out temporarily instead. While the game is free-to-play, there are a number of different ways players can spend real world money to get special items, exclusive Pokemon, etc., though none are required to advance.


Super summer kids’ TV (with activities to match!)

Summer means fun stuff like swimming, camping, bike riding, and ... lots of TV. According to a study by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, kids watch about 20 more minutes of TV a day in the summer than during the school year. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Here's an idea: Combine their favorite shows with cool activities to get them moving and thinking. These fun – and smart – ideas are all super easy to do (because it's your summer, too).


July is National Hot Dog month, try this remix

Taco Tuesday remix: Switch up your summer barbecue with a hot-dog taco bar! Yup, hot dogs and tacos are even more delicious when you combine them. Simply grill up dogs, and warm corn or flour tortillas in foil (we like Reynolds Wrap Grill Foil) right on the grates.


Moms Gear: Capture the moon’s glow in a unique necklace

Truly an original piece of jewelry, the Moonglow necklace available through features a glowing picture of the moon in one of its many phases hanging on a round, silver pendant. What makes this piece of jewelry unique is that the necklace can be purchased to reflect the phase of the moon specific to a person's birth date, wedding, graduation or other important occasion.

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,’ monster threequel is silly, scary fun

Parents need to know that "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation" – the third film in the Hotel Transylvania series – follows Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his monster pals, including his half-human daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez), and her family – on a luxury monster cruise vacation. There's a bit more scary stuff/violence here than in the previous films; much of it is comic, but there are some tense chases, crashes, and confrontations, a creepy robot/human hybrid, and a long sequence involving an enormous sea monster on a rampage. Expect a few mildly suggestive remarks and moments – butt jokes, buxom witches chasing after an elderly vampire in a skimpy bathing suit, etc. – and a few unflattering depictions of female characters, like a beautiful witch on a dating app who turns out to be a warty troll. There's also a fair bit of romance in the movie, but it's limited to flirting, dancing, and a couple of kisses. Positive messages include embracing diversity, letting go of negative feelings and grudges, believing in the power of love, parents and kids communicating with each other, and the importance of parents reconnecting as partners, not just co-parents.


Social Security: Access Social Security’s educator tool kit

With so many students gone for the summer, teachers may now have time to prepare a different kind of lesson plan. Help students prepare a better future for themselves with practical knowledge about financial planning. There's no better time to let young people know that the younger they start saving, the easier it will be to reach their goals.


Interview: ‘A Quiet Place’ star prefers ‘Battlefront 2’ over ‘Fortnite’

Director John Krasinski's $328 million horror hit, "A Quiet Place," is the second blockbuster in a row for 13–year-old actor Noah Jupe, who was previously best known for the film, Wonder. The 13-year-old English actor, who just completed Ford v. Ferrari with Matt Damon and Christian bale, took some time to talk about his early body of work (he's already been in seven films and four TV series in the past three years) and his role as Marcus Abbott in A Quiet Place to coincide with the 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD release of the Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment horror release. And of course, we talked about video games, a favorite pastime of kids of all ages, in this exclusive interview.


Parents @ Play: Fun in the sun

The weather outside is lovely, these days, and we're trying to spend as much time out there as humanly possible. If you're looking to join us, here are some fun options.


Ex-etiquette: Handling separation anxiety, depression

My ex and I split up about a year and a half ago. I have read that kids do better when both parents are active in their lives, and their mother and I are doing our best, but I'm afraid my kids have separation anxiety. Two days before they're scheduled to go back to their mother's they get very clingy. But, to make matters worse, I think I'm showing signs of depression. I have no interest in doing any of the things I used to do and sometimes I'm so exhausted I can barely move. What can I do to help my family, and myself, cope with the adjustment?

Glenn McCoy: How to draw a Minion

Glenn McCoy award-winning Belleville News-Democrat editorial cartoonist, artist and creator of “The Duplex” syndicated comic strip shows you how to draw a Minion. Glenn has had a hand in creating the silly world of Minions since 2008, when he did