Tag Archives | Children

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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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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Dangerous Chemicals Found in Thousands of Products for Children

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Pic: Muu-Karhu (CC)

Troubling news for the parents among us: Toys and other children’s products contain low levels of a wide range of “chemicals of concern”:

Via Scientific American:

Cobalt in plastic building blocks and baby bibs. Ethylene glycol in dolls. Methyl ethyl ketone in clothing. Antimony in high chairs and booster seats. Parabens in baby wipes. D4 in baby creams.

An Environmental Health News analysis of thousands of reports from America’s largest companies shows that toys and other children’s products contain low levels of dozens of industrial chemicals, including some unexpected ingredients that will surprise a public concerned about exposure.

The reports were filed by 59 large companies, including Gap Inc., Mattel Inc., Gymboree Corp., Nike Inc., H&M and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to comply with an unprecedented state law.

Keep reading.

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Pets – The New Kids

traveling-with-pets-in-a-carGinger Strand writes for Orion Magazine on the modern day pet industry at Global Pet Expo 2007:

As you glide down over central Florida into Orlando International Airport, the Earth glitters up at you as if strewn with diamonds. The lush, landscaped grounds of the airport are ringed, like much of the Sunshine State, with a circlet of man-made lakes.“All this was once swamp,” the driver of the Mears private van—Florida’s idea of mass transit—tells me. We pass a sign for Boggy Creek Road. “They built canals and retention ponds to drain it and built the airport on top.” We pass a rectangular lake crisscrossed with overhead tracks from which cables tow waterskiers in mechanized circuits. We pass a billboard announcing Shamu’s All-New Show. Traffic slows to a crawl because this is the highway to Disneyland, and the driver switches to unfurling a fairly comprehensive, if unattributed, recap of An Inconvenient Truth.

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Why Have Children?

image courtesy Matt Romack

Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Retire. Die.

Why step three? Is it part of an egotistical drive to preserve one’s DNA? A desire to raise the most exotic pet of all – a human? A need to obtain a trophy to prove you had unprotected sex?

None of those, says a team of Cambridge and Stanford researchers. Instead, Dr. Partha Dasgupta and Dr. Paul Ehrlich posit, it’s part of the age-old question of “keeping up with the Joneses.” Physorg reports on the duo’s study which uses …

… data from several sources to compare population growth rates between people in Africa—where population growth is exploding in some areas—with others where it is not, to show that when people experience peer pressure to have large families and also feel pressure to keep up with the consumption habits of other people where they live, the result can be explosive population growth.

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Creepy Easter Bunny Photos

Early Christianity had a classic “habit” of retro-fitting Pagan seasonal celebrations with quasi-literalist Catholic theology, and this has resulted in some truly surreal mashups of cultural traditions.

For example, ritual symbols of fertility and renewal that were intended to honor the Goddess of Spring (who was known as Eostre, Ostare, or Eastur), originally held immanent seasonal meaning. However, these same symbols were eventually stapled haphazardly into a culture-collage of rabbits, eggs, grass, and an undead savior returning from the grave for your soul.

Add contemporary Capitalist opportunism to the mix, and the result is one of the most disturbing manifestations of Christo-pagan-consumerism: the Shopping Mall Easter Bunny. Enthroned like a springtime Santa in a pastel cardboard holiday-land of cellophane grass littered with jellybean droppings, this crypto-pookah has been terrifying generations of children for years.

Some of the other seasonal holy-day mashups retained at least some coolness (halloween costumes & Christmas gifts).… Read the rest

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Reality TV Show Planned Focusing On Children Who Recall Their Past Lives

My spin on this would be a Maury Povich-style “my bad kid” episode focusing on children who are the reincarnations of Nazi officers, bloodthirsty cannibals, et cetera. Via the Huffington Post:

A Los Angeles production company is currently holding a nationwide casting call for children who claim to have, or have had, past life memories for a new reality series, “Ghost Inside My Child,” scheduled to air on the Bio Channel later this year.

A pilot episode of the series aired a few months ago, with three kids who had gone through various steps of recovering memories of their alleged past lives.

One case from the first show concerns James Leininger. At the age of two, Leininger reportedly started having terrifying nightmares of his death. Ultimately, the family came to believe that he was the reincarnation of James Huston, a fighter pilot who died in World War II at Iwo Jima.

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Dad Receives Visit from Authorities After Posting Pic of Son with .22 Rifle on Facebook

Picture: Shawn Moore (C)

New Jersey resident Shawn Moore received a visit from authorities after posting a picture on Facebook of his eleven year-old son Josh holding a .22 rifle that had been given to him as a birthday present. I live in the Deep South, and being given a rifle or shotgun by your father is a common rite of passage in some families. I never had one as a kid, but most of my friends did, and I was the odd man out. In those families, the firearm was traditionally held by parents for safe-keeping and only brought out to use for target shooting or hunting under adult supervision. The South is still largely rural, and how to keep and maintain firearms is considered an essential skill for most boys – and some daughters.

I don’t know what life in New Jersey is like. I know that down here there’d be much outrage from political officials and private citizens alike if something like this happened.… Read the rest

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Gates Foundation And Rupert Murdoch Unveil New Database To Track K-12 Students’ Personal Information

Kids’ grades, behavior, medical issues, and more—with their names and social security numbers attached—will be tracked by their public schools, entered in a database, and sold to private companies, in the name of improving educational services, Reuters reports:

The most influential new product [at the SXSWedu conference this week in Austin] may be a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.

In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.

Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.

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