Tag Archives | Childhood

Posting A Child’s Life For The World To See Is A Privacy Issue

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Pic: NARA (PD)

Some parents are to their children what the NSA and market research corporations are to the rest of us.  Myra Hamilton writes at the Conversation:

Children consistently delight and surprise us, and make us hoot with laughter. It’s only natural to want to share these moments with friends and family. But the trend of posting information about our young children on social media sites raises an important issue: don’t children deserve some privacy?

Traditionally, people may have told funny or icky anecdotes about their children to their nearest and dearest when they saw them, or wheeled out embarrassing photos of their naked children at 21st birthday parties.

But social media sites provide the opportunity to share this information far more widely. Parents can place information permanently online where it may come back to haunt them, or their children.

Many parents post photos and videos online of their young children during their most cute, funny, or embarrassing moments.

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The Decline In Children’s Freedom And Rise In Mental Disorders

children_playVia Aeon Magazine, psychologist and researcher Peter Gray writes that children’s free time to play is an essential form of learning which is  now being denied them:

For more than 50 years now, we in the United States have been gradually reducing children’s opportunities to play. By about 1900, the need for child labour had declined, so children had a good deal of free time. But then, beginning around 1960, adults began chipping away at that freedom by increasing the time that children had to spend at schoolwork and by reducing children’s freedom to play on their own, even when they were out of school and not doing homework. Parents’ fears led them, ever more, to forbid children from going out to play with other kids unsupervised.

Over the same decades that children’s play has been declining, childhood mental disorders have been increasing. It’s not just that we’re seeing disorders that we overlooked before.

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The Toll of Growing Up in a Religious Cult

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Pic: Mano Singhman (C)

Via ScienceDaily:

Children who grow up in religious cults face diffiulties not only during their childhood, but also after leaving the group.

That is the conclusion of research being presented today, Friday 12 July 2013, by the Chartered Psychologist Jill Mytton at the Annual Conference of the Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology in Cardiff.

In her research Jill Mytton worked with 262 adults (95 women and 167 men) who had lived in a religious group as children. Around 70 per cent of the sample lost their family on leaving, 27 per cent reported child sexual abuse and 68 per cent had found the experience of leaving traumatic.

She asked them to complete a battery of psychological measures. The results showed that the average scores of the 264 partiticpants on these measures were significantly higher than the general population.

Two other measurss — the Group Psychological Abuse Scale and the Extent of Group Identity Scale — were used to assess the group environment and the level of group involvement respectively, and significant correlations were found between them and all clinical measures.

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The Child and Its Enemies

220px-Emma_goldman_1886By Emma Goldman, via the Anarchist Library:

Is the child to be considered as an individuality, or as an object to be moulded according to the whims and fancies of those about it? This seems to me to be the most important question to be answered by parents and educators. And whether the child is to grow from within, whether all that craves expression will be permitted to come forth toward the light of day; or whether it is to be kneaded like dough through external forces, depends upon the proper answer to this vital question.

The longing of the best and noblest of our times makes for the strongest individualities. Every sensitive being abhors the idea of being treated as a mere machine or as a mere parrot of conventionality and respectability, the human being craves recognition of his kind.

It must be borne in mind that it is through the channel of the child that the development of the mature man must go, and that the present ideas of the educating or training of the latter in the school and the family — even the family of the liberal or radical — are such as to stifle the natural growth of the child.

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Is Early-Age Reading Developmentally Appropriate?

Activity_at_the_library6Marsha Lucas asks if introducing children to reading at an early age developmentally appropriate.

via Rewire Your Brain For Love:

Louise Bates Ames, PhD, a superstar in child development and the director of research at the world-renowned Gesell Institute of Child Development, stated that “a delay in reading instruction would be a preventative measure in avoiding nearly all reading failure.” Leapfrogging necessary cognitive developmental skills — and asking a young brain to do tasks for which it isn’t truly ready — is asking for trouble with learning.

The brains of young children aren’t yet developed enough to read without it costing them in the organization and “wiring” of their brain. The areas involved in language and reading aren’t fully online — and aren’t connected — until age seven or eight. If we’re teaching children to do tasks which their brains are not yet developed to do via the “normal” (and most efficient) pathways, the brain will stumble upon other, less efficient ways to accomplish the tasks — which lays down wiring in some funky ways — and can lead to later learning disabilities, including visual-processing deficits.

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Body Pleasures and the Origins of Violence

A classic article, deserving a place in the Disinfo archives. James W. Prescott outlines the link between modern child-rearing practices and their impact on development, psychological well-being and adult behavior. He covers deprivation of loving touch, sexual repression, infant neglect, and the results to the adult psyche. Joseph Chilton Pearce started this conversation and Prescott fleshes it out. The discussion of these issues is still ongoing.

Via The Origins of Peace and Violence website:

The sensory environment in which an individual grows up has a major influence upon the development and functional organization of the brain. Sensory stimulation is a nutrient that the brain must have to develop and function normally. How the brain functions determines how a person behaves. At birth a human brain is extremely immature and new brain cells develop up to the age of two years. The complexity of brain cell development continues up to about 16 years of age.

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Why We Should Take Fewer Pictures Of Our Children

Via the New York Times, David Zweig has a harrowing observation on the first generation of children raised under constant digital surveillance:

“I want to look at pictures on daddy’s phone!” I can’t recall when this entreaty started. I only know it has been repeated like a mantra nearly every day by my 3-year-old daughter for as long as I remember her being able to speak in sentences.

On the surface a child’s preoccupation with personal photos seems quite benign, or even beneficial. And yet I fear her photo obsession may hasten her self-consciousness to a degree that’s no longer constructive.

Our children’s lives are being documented to a degree never done before. I often have over 100 new pictures per month added to iPhoto on my computer. Like adults, kids often act differently when they know the camera is on. There’s a reason posed shots almost always seem so awkward and artificial compared with candid ones.

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Remembering The Barbie Liberation Front

An ahead-of-its-time covert shopdropping (the opposite of shoplifting) endeavor, in which the mass produced toys sold to children were “corrected”:

The Barbie Liberation Organisation was an organization that caused a significant cultural jamming intervention in 1993. Having purchased many Barbie dolls and GI Joe action figures, the group switched the voice boxes from a pair of dolls (one from either group) and then placed them onto store shelves. Customers who purchased the toys were surprised to find gung-ho, combat ready Barbie dolls or effeminate GI Joes that were more interested in shopping than shooting.

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The Strangest School In The World?

From the archives of British Pathé, a look at Burgess Hill, a one-of-a-kind British boarding school in which nothing was forbidden and students were “allowed to find out for themselves whether conventions are good or bad.” In other words, plenty of cigarette smoking, mod styles, R&B dancing, abstract painting, and motorbike races. Based on the revolutionary idea that kids should be happy:

Burgess Hill was a progressive boarding school in Hertfordshire, England in the 1960s. Run by a Cambridge graduate, it allowed the kids to do what ever they liked! We can’t quite work out whether this is the best or worst school in the world. Would actually be interesting to know what became of these kids.

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Student Loans On The Rise — For Kindergarten

play and playthingsWell, I suppose this makes sense in that school is supposed to prepare people for the rest of their lives. SmartMoney on a new trend:

It used to be that families first signed up for education loans when their child enrolled in college, but a growing number of parents are seeking tuition assistance as soon as kindergarten. Though data is scarce, private school experts and the small number of lenders who provide loans for kindergarten through 12th grade say pre-college loans are becoming more popular.

The loans can also be expensive. The interest rates — which can be fixed or variable — range from around 4% to roughly 20%. (Lower rates are given to parents with higher credit scores.)

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