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Are online networks responsible for the safety of children?

3 Apr

Apparently, more than a quarter of 8 – 11 year olds have a profile on an online networking site according to a survey by Ofcom. One result of the report was a debate on the BBC Have Your Say forum about who should take responsibility for the safety of children online. While most people seemed to agree responsibility lay with parents, a number seemed to think it was somehow up to other people to safeguard children who use the internet. All I can say to that is: what a complete load of old cobblers.

My children are well past the 8-11 age group, but they are still only allowed to use a computer in a well used area of the house. The only exception is my 20 year old, but I think monitoring him would be taking things a bit too far LOL However, anyone who is letting their 8 year old use social networks, or the internet generally and who seriously expects service providers to act in loco parentis is quite frankly deluding themselves. Do these people expect the manufacturers of bleach to pop round to stop their toddlers drinking it?!

If you are one of these parents, for goodness sake get a grip. You are responsible for your children and for what they access online! Yes, maybe better enforcement of age restrictions should be introduced, but that does not mean parents can turn a blind eye and just assume little Johnny is quite safe typing away in his bedroom.

Britain bottom of childhood well-being table

15 Feb

I’m sure no one can have failed to notice the report from Unicef which puts Britain at the bottom of a league of childhood well-being in 21 developed countries. If the authors of the report are to be believed, being a kid in Britain is a pretty unpleasant experience, and really, that isn’t surprising.

This generation of children start school at the age of four, a year earlier than their parents, and this will usually have been preceded by at least a year in a pre-school nursery environment – any parent who doesn’t enrol their offspring in such an establishment is considered to be a bit of an odd ball. Thirty years ago they would have been the norm. Of course, nursery care is a necessity. Not because it is best for the child, but because the majority of mothers are now in full time employment – two incomes are vital for most families – and these women are being encouraged to return to work earlier and earlier in a country which has the longest working hours in Europe. Gone are the days when a woman would give up work for a few years to have a family. Now, she will return within weeks of the birth, usually reluctantly. A study in 1999 showed that only 4% of new mothers actually wanted to work full time, 43% would, in an ideal world, have preferred to become full time mothers.

The life of a working mother is not an easy one when you consider it involves doing two full time jobs, only one of which you are paid for. It means constant early morning dashes to your child care provider, a race across town to your desk, a full days work, a dash back to the child care provider, then home. It doesn’t stop there. There is a meal to cook, laundry to do, housework, babies to bath, homework help, oh, and if you are very lucky you might even get to talk to the father of your offspring. The latter is not always possible because usually by the time you have both finished with the evening routine, you are so exhausted that you fall asleep in front of the tv. Then in the morning you crawl out of bed and do it all again.

Now, you may be wondering what all this has to do with the happiness and well-being of children. Quite a lot actually. I have a friend who works as a health visitor, her over-riding ethos is that happy mothers tend to have happy children and she makes a huge effort to provide support to the mothers she works with. It makes sense. Children look to their parents for reassurance, if they see them constantly stressed, tired and worried it causes them to feel the same. We have a generation who are growing up with parents who feel just this way, all the time, and this isn’t just a problem in the short term, it creates a horribly negative impression of adult life. What child would look forward to becoming an adult if they believe it is all about spending your life on an endless treadmill.

Since this report was published, I have seen a number of people using the old ‘blame the parents’ chestnut. No, let’s not. Let’s blame a society which makes life bloody hard for parents. This has never been a child friendly country, but at least in the past children were only expected to be seen and not heard. Nowadays, it seems they are expected to be non-existent. Children are viewed as an inconvenience, a problem to be dealt with, the product of a ‘lifestyle’ choice, instead of human beings who are adults in the making. When it snowed last week, I actually heard some employers saying that if people didn’t go into work they would be sacked. The fact that many schools were closed, which meant a large number of children were staying at home and needed to be cared for, did not seem to register with these people. It would be a rare parent indeed who would put someone else’s profits before the safety and well-being of their children, yet, some considered it acceptable to demand that they did just that.

The sad thing is, we do not need to live like this. The Scandinavian countries which top the league also have a high percentage of two income families, yet they don’t experience these problems. For them flexi-time is a normal working pattern, not just a luxury enjoyed by those lucky enough to have forward thinking employers. Many Scandinavian parents are able to plan their working hours so that their children are always cared for by one parent or the other, and even if external care is needed it is high quality and easily available, not over-subscribed and over-priced.

I could continue and discuss the lack of affordable housing – in many families one parent’s income is completely swallowed by housing costs. I could talk about the absence of playgrounds – sold off to the developers of luxury homes. Maybe, I could mention an education system that constantly changes and which places pressure on pupils from the time they are in infant school. However, I will just sum up by saying this: we need to have a long, hard look at the way we live. The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, and the kind of adults they become will be largely dependent on their experiences now. For the last twenty or thirty years we have lived in a ‘me, me, me’ society, and it just hasn’t worked. The good old fashioned childhood may not have been as idyllic as many of us remember it to be, but it did have it’s advantages. Children were allowed to be children, they weren’t regarded as inconvenient little packages which get in the way of profit, and becoming a parent wasn’t considered to be a lifestyle choice.

Parents ‘powerless to bring up their children’ | UK News | The Observer

12 Nov

Many parents have lost confidence in how to bring up their children properly and feel inadequate, isolated and unsupported in coping with the pressures of modern family life, the government has warned. Mothers and fathers often feel ‘disempowered’ as parents, and find it particularly difficult to enforce rules so their child does not misbehave, according to Beverley Hughes, the Minister for Children and Families.

Source: Parents ‘powerless to bring up their children’ | UK News | The Observer
First let me say that I’m not buying into a kind of “Daily Mail” alarmist, “oh my God-our children are out of control and society is crumbling” bullshit. We’re talking about a minority here, although possibly an increasing one. And to a certain extent I’m being deliberately provocative.
So why would this be? Could it be because parents are concentrating on other things, rather than bringing up their children?
I’m not talking about parents that go out to work. I realise that people have to make a living. What I mean is that when parents are at home are they spending their time raising their children? Or are they so self-obsessed that all they’re worried about is their own needs and if that that means parking the children in front of some mindless cack on the T.V. or turning a blind eye when they’re roaming the streets shoplifting, tying fireworks to cats and gobbing at people, then so be it.
We’ve all read the horror stories about children pushed out of the door in the mornings and left to their own devices – “Get out from under my feet. Go out and play!” With no boundaries or regulation set on their behaviour children will grow up to do exactly as they please with no thought or regard for the consequences of the actions or for effect they have on others. And what happens when children like this reach child-rearing age and have kids of their own? Will they ensure that their offspring grow up with any kind of social conscience? Will they hell! They’ve never considered anyone’s needs of feelings other than their own and they won’t start with their own children.
By the law of averages not every child will grow up to be an “‘orrible little scroat”. You’ll get a fair proportion of the kids growing up to be decent people but with no parenting skills at all because they were shown none when they were growing up. Hence the problem – reasonable people with no clue how to set boundaries for the kids or how to enforce those that they do set.
When did this vicious cycle start? Although there’s always been “disaffected youth”, it only seemed to seep into the public consciousness that children were starting to run out of control in the late 70s and early 80’s. This suggests to me that the parents of children who were born in the late 60’s and early 70’s may have started the rot. Could it be that the Hippies are to blame? Anti-establishment, anti-authority and stoned out of their minds, what did they teach their children? And what have their children taught theirs?
When you have a child you have a duty to parent. Yes, go out to work if you must but when you get home – parent! Interact with your children, teach them how to behave, to respect other people before they expect respect themselves. If this means you can’t go out to the pub/club/whatever – tough! If you want a full social calendar – don’t have kids. if you want to concentrate on your own wants and needs – don’t have kids. If you want kids – parent, even if it means learning how to.
(This post will also appear at Solid Gone, my personal blog.)

UK bans baby blog – help fight back

27 Oct

I make no apology for copying this article from my blog here

The UK government have banned a blog of baby Charlotte Wyatt and issued a take down court order to blogger.com (owned by google) forcing them to remove the site.

The google cache

of the site is a beautiful read. Some one called Hannah writes regularly requesting prayer and thanking God for each improvement.

Is it their faith, family troubles or honesty they would ban this site for?

I think they want to ban a shocking exposure of the lack of care they give to children. I think the UK officials are rightly ashamed of what they are doing.

Help me to protect the innocent and stop this censorship. I have downloaded a copy of the website from the cache. It is here. See the read me.

I have zipped the file for easy download. Please help me by uploading it where ever you can reasonably do so to preserve a copy of this document.

Files :: zip file

I am outraged and embarrassed by my countries behaviour. Help me make this evil action of no avail.

Do it for Charlotte, do it for freedom, do it for parents everywhere… but do: do it!

Workplace revolution

27 Aug

Plans are being draw up for radical changes for Women and parents in the work place

Under the plans Parents will be given the right

  • to work part time ,
  • to choose their own hours,
  • to statutory sick in the event of child illness,
Lets ignore the impact on business, lets look at how it could affect you on an individual level.

Imagine you are working in a shop, factory or office and you don’t have young children? Ah yes folks you are stuffed, your colleagues have to go and pick little Robert and Amanda from school? So YOU are working late, it’s the law. You get last choice on working hours.

You want to be off over Christmas? Ah well your colleagues have kiddies so YOU have to cover. None of this I worked last Christmas so I get this off lark…..

If one of my colleagues wants to have a child then fine, but I don’t see why that should impact me. I accept we have to be reasonable, I accept there maybe a need for family friendly policies, but having children is a duty and responsibility that people choose.

Another thing in the proposal is that companies must prove they are paying Men and Women the same for doing the same job. Now firstly let me state I see nothing wrong with this but, oh come on you new there was one, you have to allow for different levels of experience and you have to be treated the same.

What do I mean? Well if a man and a woman do the same job they should be expected to do the same activities. Telling the man he is expected to do overnight support but, that it is unreasonable to expect the woman to do so because it may not be safe is not equality.

Equality is a noble and worthy aim and one we should all want but you can’t have your cake and eat it.