Tag Archives | Children

Afghan Children Pay the Price of Brutal War

Pic: US ARMY (PD)

Pic: US ARMY (PD)

César Chelala writes at Common Dreams:

Decades of insecurity and war have provoked a heavy toll on children’s lives and well being. An under-5 mortality rate of 199 per 1,000 live births as reported by UNICEF is among the highest in the world. That means that more than one out of every five children is dead by the time they are five. In addition, health and education systems suffer from lack of funds and qualified professionals, a situation worsened by the security situation.

The statistics are frightening. More than 60% of all child deaths and disabilities are due to respiratory and intestinal infections, and of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles. Diarrhea kills tens of thousands of children every year. Many also die from severance of breast-feeding before time. An estimated 7.5 million children and adults are at risk from hunger and malnutrition, the latter affecting children’s growth in particular.

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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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A Peek Into the World of Children’s MMA

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Picture: Sebastian Montalvo/Polaris (C)

CNN covers the controversial world of children’s cage fighting. What do you think, disinfonauts? Barbaric or an acceptable recreational activity for children? Compare it to children’s karate or wrestling. Compare to the fall of Rome. Consider whether you would let your own children do it, if applicable. Use the space below to comment. You must show your work. Use a number two pencil and close your test booklet when you are done.

By the way, I’ve linked to a copy of the story at MMA Share’s site in order to avoid CNN’s nightmarish slideshow maze, but if you’re interested in navigating the gallery you can click here.

Welcome to Thunderdome, where winners and losers can be as young as age 5.

It’s called kids’ MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, and New York-based photographer Sebastian Montalvo pulls back the curtain on one of the nation’s fastest growing youth sports, which claims more than 3 million boys and girls.

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The Myth of Choice: How Junk-Food Marketers Target Our Kids

Anna Lappé & Food MythBusters have a great new video series combating the processed food industry’s marketing onslaught:

Big Food spends close to $2 billion every year telling kids and teens what’s cool to eat through advertising, promotions, and sponsorships. Meanwhile, across the country, fast-food chains are crowding out grocery stores and supermarkets, narrowing the healthy food choices available.

Scary? It sure is, but together, we can work to curb this predatory marketing and stand up for real food.

We believe that marketing targeting to children and teenagers is a public health crisis. Watch our movies and dig into this page to understand why.

Protect our kids. Tell McDonald’s to end its predatory marketing to children and shut down happymeal.com. Visit http://www.foodmyths.org to take action!

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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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“Unschooling:” Less Factory, More Garden

schoolsucksUnschooling takes to heart the old maxim that one should never let one’s schooling interfere with one’s education. This article from CNN describes unschooling in a formal setting, but it is more commonly practiced as a form of home-school:

Six-year-old Karina Ricci doesn’t ever have a typical day. She has no schedule to follow, no lessons to complete.

She spends her time watching TV, doing arts and crafts or practicing the piano. She learned to spell by e-mailing with friends; she uses math concepts while cooking dinner.

Everything she knows has been absorbed “organically,” according to her dad, Dr. Carlo Ricci. She’s not just on summer break — this is her life year round as an at-home unschooler.

“It’s incredible how capable she is,” Ricci said in a phone interview from his home in Toronto, Ontario. “And I think that all young people are that capable … if you don’t tell them they can’t or they’re not allowed, they surprise us in a lot of ways.”

Ricci is professor of alternative learning at Nipissing University and an advocate of unschooling, a concept that’s gaining popularity in both Canada and the United States thanks to frustration with the current public education system.… Read the rest

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Christian Children’s Entertainer Ronald William Brown Planned to Kidnap and Eat Children

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 1.24.50 PMNaturally, this real-life ogre (and his creepy puppet) frequently warned children against the danger of pornography in his Christian ministry videos.

There are no words.

Via New York Post:

Ronald William Brown, from Largo, Florida, was handed the sentence for possession of child pornography.

This was despite him regularly warning children about the sin of pornography on his long-running Christian Television Network show.

Brown, 58, also plotted online with Michael Arnett about targeting a specific child to kill and eat.

“I imagine him wiggling and then going still,” Brown is reported telling Arnett in their online chats.

Keep reading.

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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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Cost of Resiliency in Kids Uncovered

Enfants_des_ruesVia ScienceDaily:

Children living in poverty who appear to succeed socially may be failing biologically. Students able to overcome the stress of growing up poor are labeled “resilient” because of their ability to overcome adversity, but University of Georgia researchers found this resiliency has health costs that last well into adulthood.

“Exposure to stress over time gets under the skin of children and adolescents, which makes them more vulnerable to disease later in life,” said Gene Brody, founder and director of the UGA Center for Family Research.

Looking at a sample of 489 African-American youths from working poor families in south Georgia, Brody evaluated the overall poverty-related risks experienced by children annually at ages 11 to 13 as well as teacher-reported competence. Allostatic load, a measure of wear and tear on the body, was taken for each child at age 19. Allostatic load is a measure of stress hormones, blood pressure and body mass index.

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