Friday, June 27, 2014


                              Illustration : John Spooner

How over-sharenting can harm your kids

Joanne Orlando June 25, 2014  the
"Are you over-sharenting? That is, sharing too much information about your kids online? Children have a fundamental right to privacy, but the choices adults are making with technology, especially social media, is challenging that right.
A US study has found two-thirds of parents posted pictures of their children online, raising important questions about potential violations of privacy, especially considering this material could potentially be mined by future employers and other authorities in decades to come. How can a parent have an honest discussion with children about the inappropriateness of sharing information online, when they have been posting intimate details online about them their entire lives? While your children may be offended if they are left out of stories you share with loved ones online, there are still questions around the level of personal detail in the funny photos and anecdotes being shared.
A new trend is the growing selection of footage online from parents who have attached a GoPro (a personal camera often used for action video) to a toddler’s helmet so that they can see what life is like from their child’s point of view. This techno-documentation of infant lives is now extending beyond social media and making its mark as a tool to measure intellectual growth. I recently researched an early childhood centre that attaches a GoPro to children to record what the child does and so evaluate their development.
Sure the desire to understand a child more fully is understandable, however recording the movements of toddlers and babies raises particularly significant issues as they are not in a position to give consent. A similar act of placing a camera atop of an adult’s head without their permission would be rightly considered a massive invasion of privacy. So how is monitoring a baby in this way any different from Robin Williams' sci-fi movie The Final Cut, where, without consent, implants are placed in the characters’ brains and their lives are recorded?
The trend for improved techno-documentation of children is making gains on a large scale. With the increasing obsession for collecting information, data mining and data sharing of information is really threatening children’s right to privacy.
In the USA, the Obama administration has recently supported a new initiative aimed at tracking children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers. The databases are being built in nearly every state at a total cost of well over $1 billion. They are intended to store intimate details on tens of millions of children and young adults — identified by name, birth date, address and even, in some cases, social security number. Data will be collected in response to hundreds of questions: Did the child made friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he she graduate from college and how much does she earn? The database is being promoted with the intention of helping officials pinpoint the education system’s strengths and weaknesses and craft public policy accordingly.
While there is an important place for data-driven policies that support children, there are also serious ethical implications regarding such a massive data mining operation. "Did he/she make friends in Year 2?" is not something you as a parent want dragging around decades later, and nor would your child. We've already had laws passed banning the use of DNA for excluding people — now we should be interrogating whether our digital DNA will run into the same abuses. It has now accumulated to a point where we should start calling our online data "eDNA" as a point of comparison. While we expect this data to be secure, we are increasingly confronted with more evidence of the lack of security of information stored online. 
What may be driving this desire to techno-document every aspect of children’s lives is that we have the technology to do it. However the capability of technology requires us all to be responsible and make informed decisions about what information we collect and make available, and the possible consequences to the rights of children.
We have come to accept the information gathering obsessiveness that defines this era, while recognising that this is the first generation of children who may grow up without anonymity. Techno-documenting children’s lives from cradle to grave on their behalf raises important issues regarding privacy, and is a crucial issue of respect for children. They are not there for us to run social experiments. They are just as important as adults, and we should respect their privacy, regardless of the latest technology we would like to try out."
Dr Joanne Orlando is a researcher in technology and learning at the University of Western Sydney
I am putting other things ahead of regularly write my blog at the moment.  I was sent this article and would love to know other people's opinions on it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014




".... the muscles and joints of the" gymnast, "the vocal organs of the singer, the finger-ends of the watchmaker, the palate of the tea taster, grow to the uses they are steadily put to; and, much more, both in the case of the brain and all other organs, grow to the uses they are earliest put to." Charlotte Mason: Parents and Children. p. 90.
Many people of all ages, personalities, cultures, intelligence and philosophies, see life as dreary. Actually everyone suffers with this attitude in some measure at some time.The regular routines and predictability of life seems to trigger this condition of heaviness, dullness and lack-lustre mindset.
Charlotte Mason says there is. "It rests with parents to see that the dreariness of a motiveless life does not settle...on any...of their children." p.81. She then gives a method ~
1. Parents have the responsibility to do something about the situation to bring change to the child.
2. Find the abilities, talents or gifts natural to the child. For example - 
they may be a great listener 
have a sense of humour 
be a quick worker 
a fantastic cook 
good at games 
an organiser 
have a warm personality 
a fine sportsperson 
clever with crafts 
make people feel comfortable...
3. Show the child how to cultivate one of their skills so it is of use to others not only for themselves. For example - 
a musician can regularly play to bring enjoyment to others 
a child who is good with games can set up a weekly game with an elderly relative or lonely neighbour 
a child leader or organiser can get involved in a community child program or buddy coach in a sport....
4. A feeling of well-being, satisfaction from being helpful and contributing to others, is a rich benefit when we choose to live to be of use. "... the child into whose notion of life that idea is fitted will not grow up to find time heavy on his hands." p. 81.
As with all habits, a child needs to practice being of use to others, seeing their abilities as things to benefit others, for a time period. The longer that period the firmer the new habit will be in place, as the quote at the start of this post truthfully states. Charlotte Mason cites 20 or more practice times or a month of purposeful working to establish the new habit without allowing any regression to the old. 
If there is a return to feeling bored, the established practice of being of use to others, blocks and makes it hard for the child to return to their old habits. However if the child struggles at this point, they will only need a little parent's assistance to once again stop focusing on self and instead be of use to others.
"The fair conclusion appears to be that each is greatly the cause of the other; that the character of the persistent thoughts actually shapes the cerebrum, while on the configuration of this organ depends in turn the manner of thoughts we think." p. 88.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ take up this great encouragement to step in and help your child to move out of boredom and other motiveless life habits.