vive la France!

Salut mes amis,
Kia Ora e hoa ma,
G’day mates,  hey y’all, hello my friends.

The resistance is rumbling.  There have been courageous law changes in France meaning that the children and adolescents there are being given mandated time away from the persuasive design of the tech companies that live in all our cellphones and feed off our attention.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed this trifecta of articles about Yondr, which is a simple and exciting option for creating tech-free oasesYes, schools are a perfect place to be phone-free, (may I remind you of this report from the London School of Economics) but also at live shows (we should all be allowed to be one with the music without fear of some meanie uploading our gyrations & undulations without permission!)

Meanwhile, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood have sent this open letter to Mark Zuckerberg (if you know him, give him a nudge will you?) the Children’s Screen Time Action Network are continuing to advocate and agitate, which is just as well; because there are multiple layers to the weirdness of tech in kids’ lives, like how our distracted parenting can lead to bonkers patterns of child misbehaviour (and subsequent avoidance … the downward cycle of technoference, just like McDaniel told ya), OR like how our tech habits at bedtime are robbing our children of sleep.  

(ah, Sleep!  I love you so!)

Other stuff: crazy finding reported here by Scientific American, about the likelihood of women with heart problems dying/not dying upon admission to an emergency room depending upon the gender of the doctor on duty that day, HERE is a transcript to a wonderful interview with Ashley Montagu, and this is a link to an article I wrote aaaages ago, for my pals at OHbaby!.  Love y’all!

Finally: new podcast obsession this week … Song Exploder.  All hail Jonathan Van Ness, whose Getting Curious podcast led me there.

Podcasts.  They are amazing.  Put them on the list of things I do quite like about tech.

 

 

sharing, by clearing (tabs)

Sooner or later I’m going to have to learn how to use some of the tools at my disposal.  I can barely use my computer, I’m not sure I could even thread up my sewing machine, and I’m terrified of the new software I need to master.  To reference, graph, and get my shit together. 

I’m so mad at tech.  How will I learn to love her?  Appreciate the good bits.  Get playful with leaning new software.  Play with the wonderful communicative bits.

Like sharing stuff.  That is a cool gift.  Access to all the stuff.  I need to share some:

Here is an awesome article (with some blue language, look out) from Esquire magazine, about Fred Rogers.  The man is a hero.  Apparently there is a new movie coming out about Mr Rogers’ life.  If I was a diligent blogger I’d go find you a link, but I’m due at a school assembly, and my computer is running slow!

Very good resource here, based around Bruce Perry’s Regulate, Relate, Reason, which is some life changing stuff.  Ain’t foolin.

Now here is an article from the Huffington Post, about how we are all checking our smartphones more than we know.  It’s becoming apparent to me that the ‘checking behaviour’ is possibly more an indicator of worrisome stuff than just straight ‘time on screen’ measures.

More on that later.

Hey, anyone lucky enough to be near Sydney in September could go hear Stuart Shanker.  How about all the S’s in that sentence!  Here is a gift from his blog, about defiant children and diagnoses.  

Last year, I had cause to spend a lot of time in an ICU.  I was the family person in charge of an intense scenario.  I am so glad that there are people working to make that scene less weird and terrifying.  

Here is a cool 2 minute video intro to Roots of Empathy.  If you don’t know what  I am talking about, you needa watch it.

I am obsessed with this photo and this bathmat.

The more my iPhone plays music to me and the less I look at it, the better.  Singing rules.

school holidays = best and worst times of a mama’s life!

Hello my friends,

All is sunny and cold on this bit of my island.  We plan a road trip, hubby and gals and I, business mixing with (what I hope will be) some pleasure.  I am struggling because I really would rather my kids looked out the window, bickered and grizzled and “are we there yet?”-ed, but everyone else – from the kids themselves to my goodly husband to the lady who waxes my legs – insists that it’s oK to use devices on road trips.

Aeroplanes – fine.  But road trips?  Through devastatingly beautiful scenery?  Aargh … I cannot find peace around that one.  Not today, at least.  Ask me tomorrow, 5 hours in to the 6 hour drive.

ANYWAY.  Some links for the baby geeks among us.  First, some shame and outrage.  The current government of the USA just seem determined to be the baddies of the world.  Not only did they oppose the WHO’s resolution to support breastfeeding, they bullied Ecuador like a bunch of corporate loving monsters.  I want to be loving to all humanity, really I do.  But if I had the chance to poke the 45th prez in the eye, I’d do it.  If I could shove his cronies into icy river water, I’d do it.  If I could push him down a flight of stairs, I would.  If I’m doing the pushing, shoving and poking out of love for others, does that make it ethically OK?

NOW, in other news, here is a cornucopia of goodness from Stuart Shanker (who I have met, and did not push in a river or poke in the eye, but rather shook his hand) and his Canadian crew.  It is a slew of resources about self-regulation and I think you’ll love ‘em.

Also, a trifecta of resources dealing with the same thing: here is the original report from the London School of Economics, this is an article from the Guardian which summarises the findings,  and here is a recent opinion piece  which references them both.  What are we dealing with?  The case for banning cellphones in schools, and the demonstrated gains in academic performance that would flow from this bravery – especially for poorer performing students.

This is a piece from the Harvard Medical School which celebrates the work of one of their whānau, elevating the importance of mental health care (why, yes!) and this is a youtube video in which Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal theory (which is amazing, important, and brain-achy) is made most understandable.  Enjoy!

 

BYO sunshine, outrage, action & poetry

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

Warm soup and winter sunshine.  What a joy it is to be alive when you’re fortunate in the birth lottery (yay, NZ in the 70′s!  Yay!  Thanks Papatuanuku!) but jeepers, mate, there is lameness and horror a-plenty.  I was just crapping on to my big brother over coffee a few days back about how if we could just ask all scenarios an overarching question (be the scenario designing a town hall, or prioritising health funding, or creating immigration policy) all would shift.

The question:
What would this mean for babies?

Whatever it is.  Going for a walk.  Approving an irrigation scheme.  Consent processes and elected officials would all have to prove how their decisions impact babies.  Most parents are pretty good at considering how their decisions impact their own babies (“if we stay for dinner, what does that mean for our bedtime routine?”), so we must now all consciously expand to our infuse all our decisions, large and small, with babyhood.

Because if it’s good for babies, it’s good for everyone (friends!  You know why!  Because attachment and neurobiology and human potential.  Because overstimulation and pace and wellbeing.  That’s why!

The only group I can think of who will suffer if we truly prioritise infant wellbeing are those with financial interests in selling nonsense to babies’ families.

And they can stuff off, anyway.

We have a rare opportunity here, because our Prime Minister just gave birth to her first child.  Well done, Jacinda!  And now you get to view decisions large and small through a lens you didn’t even know existed.  None of us knew, till we knew.  Welcome.  Nau mai, haere mai.  Welcome, Baby Neve, to the world.  And welcome, Jacinda, to motherhood.

raise your hand if you’re fed up

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 12.35.10 PMKia Ora my friends.  Here is the image that accompanies the Proceedings of the 2nd International Neurosequential Model Symposium from 2016.  Y’all, I was there!  I presented (and sobbed.)  And guess whose scrappy l’il piece closes out this auspicious document?  Can you even stand it?  Because I’m not sure I can!

Now I need to share some links, before my cranky old bones prohibit any more computer work.  First, get ready for outrage, and then please share it with at least a half-dozen of your pals in education.  This is an article about the way that Google has infiltrated schools and is making loyal clients of children, and praps it’d be a good time to brush up on the ways that a Google search is not a neutral beast.  How many of the children googling away in their classrooms today know this?  How many of their teachers have even considered it?

NOW, then: check this out … from PC Mag, no less, making the case for less tech in classrooms.  It exposes that same notion: that tech in schools is for the benefit of advertisers and companies, not children.  UGH.  And LOOK at the lengths that tech companies will go to, distancing themselves from the idea that they have a part to play in child wellbeing: “Our children’s apps aren’t directed at children.”  PARASITES.   We simply must share the truth about the ways that we (and worse, our kids) are being manipulated!  Love you, Tristan Harris!!

For resources, info, inspiration and community in the fight against such nonsense, please behold the proceedings from the first Children’s Screen Time Action Network conference.  I know, you gotta get online.  Irony is a funny gal.  And ALL HAIL Maryland, who seems to be leading the way in having legislative challenge to the “all-tech, all-the-time” school landscape.

Instead, we gotta emphasise what children need.  They need time with their family (mate, I LOVE this article ….) They need actual humans to read them stories.   They need adults to pay attention to what they actually need!  And they need schools that do more than just market to them.

Meanwhile, we need to spend time offline (quiet time alone, every day!  SWOON!) we need to resist the pace of the on-demand lifestyle, we need a bloody good night’s sleep, and we need community.

An article here from Mothering with a new take on the ACE study, and this is a link to an article I wrote aaaaages ago, for our pals at OHbaby! mag.

quick and squinty

Geeks!

I have a bit of a headache and I suspect tech use is not helping.  Eyes are unhappy, so I’ll make this snappy.  Damn, I’m poetic under pressure!

K: so, let’s begin and end with podcasts, shall we?  The first one I have listened to already – it’s good.  From the Urban Monk podcast, with our new pal Dr. Freed.  IT was a response to this awesome article on Medium, which we’ve linked to previous like.

While we are reviewing the need for caution around familial tech use, check out this article from the Atlantic, wondering how much we know about the tech habits of parents.  I’ve been doing a TON of reading on this very topic, now that I have university library privileges (WHOOP!! WHOOP!!).

This is why we are joining in on Screen Free Week – at least some family members are.  We just seem to need to be reminded about other stuff we love doing.  Lego!  Cross stitch!  Playing guitar!

I get the irony that I am online posting this during said week, but I’m at least trying to clear tabs before children return home.  And this is not entirely entertainment media.  So there.

Here is an article from Scientific American about implicit bias (cos, why not?) and this is a link to an abstract for a paper about doing postgrad study with a title that made me smile.

And check out the smartypants commenter on this article from Mothering magazine.  Oh wait, that’s me …

While we’re talking parental leave and Mothering mag, here is an article about the attitudes of women around the world maternity leave laws in the US.  Mate.  I shake my head.  If a culture isn’t cherishing mamas and babies, that is called Devolution.

Finally, to get us back on track, behold the wisdom and wonder of Dr. Dan Siegel, interviewed here on the Doctor Paradox podcast.  This is the one I haven’t listened to yet, but will tend to that tomorrow during school hours!  Thanks to the lovely Dr. C for this link.

becoming my own wife

Kia Ora my lovelies,

This beautiful picture accompanies an article I wrote for the fine folk at Family Times magazine.  The article can be found here, I hope you will enjoy it.

It’s very, very cold in NZ this week.  Autumn just decided to be Winter, for a few days.  We have had snow, sleet and gales and we’ve all busted out our puffy jackets.  At my house, I’ve relocated my laptop from my office (separate building, poorly insulated and fairly freezing) to the main abode.  Here I can keep a potbelly stove alight in the kitchen, and just now I lit the main firebox in the living room as well.  I know!  Bad ass!

I do this despite knowing I have electric forms of heat available, but my rural setting gives me permission to burn wood freely, and my state of self-wifing means I delight in performing these loving acts of care and nurture.  When I gather yet another heavy basket full of firewood, I do it as an act of love.  When I empty ashes a la Cinderella, it is as a gift to my future self.  As I vaccuum the inevitable trail of wood bits and sawdust, it is because I recognise my own right to pass the evening without crap stuck to my socks.

For weeks (years!) I have been grousing about my lack of a wife, (I know, greedy … because I want to keep my husband …) and sometimes I’m fairly jealous of my husband, because he has one.  So I’ve decided to imagine that I am my own wife.  In contrast to lots of the thinking I usually do about Self (or lack thereof!)  I am mucking around with the notion of compartmentalising my time – here I am at my desk, researching and writing.  Here I am folding a load of towels just so, so desk-self doesn’t have to worry about that domestic task.  Worker me, wifely me.  Both equally valuable.

Righty ho … I will now do the baby geek thang, and that is to share a variety of interesting links with you.

First, a news report about some important research highlighting the way that parental distraction by cell phones interrupts a child’s language learning abilities.  YIKES.   Tech is a risk to children in other ways, tooski, like YouTube stealing childrens’ data.  Classy.

Next, a TED talk about neuroplasticity, and LOOK!  The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne has issued another of their excellent Policy Briefs, this one about the first 1000 days of a child’s life.

Now an article from Scientific American, about being a scientist and a mother  at the same time (I know, radical!) and that led to this piece by the same author about conferences and provision for breastfeeding mothers.

Here is a blog post advocating for sane social media policy in schools … love it.  I want to quote a paragraph from this and ask you to substitute”Social media”, “Facebook” and “tweet” in the following with “SeeSaw”, which is an app showing up in schools and EC centres in NZ.  I’m not a fan.  (I’m also not a fan of an education strategy which aims to put digital devices in the hands of all 6 year olds, but I’ll save that convo for another day).

Here goes:

Finally, when teachers or administrators are using social media in the classroom or at school activities, it models the addictive, life-negating behavior that we don’t want our kids to emulate. If teachers are looking for social media opportunities during the school day, then they are being distracted from the face-to-face, in-person contact that defines classroom education. Taking a selfie with a student, however well-meaning, conveys that the moment is less significant than the Tweet. Sad. I want my kid to feel that what she’s accomplished in class matters in its own right, even if it is not posted to Facebook!

 

I know plenty of y’all are keen on SeeSaw, and will disagree with me, and that’s OK … let’s discuss.

things I get to do …

Alrighty … so the power of language is well documented (*never more enjoyably than in THIS EPISODE of the podcast “On Being”) and just lately I’ve been playing with “get to” instead of “have to”, or “should”.

I have to feed the calf.  I have to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I should weed my veggie garden.  I should write that essay.

I get to feed the calf.  I get to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I get to weed my veggie garden.  I get to write that essay.

Reminds me to have gratitude for the blessings that are wrapped up in those sentences.  Reminds me to look for the blessings.

Quick link dump, then.

Fab article here about the many and unexpected benefits of teaching kids philosophy in schools (YUM!!)  Even pro-business publications are making the case for it!

Parents want some life skills in schools, too, apparently.  Could we categorise philosophising as a life skill?  Man, teachers are going to be busy.

Good paper here, balanced and calm writing about adolescents and tech.  FLIP.   We gotta set some limits.

(OH MY GOODNESS it works here too.  Instead of “We have to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use …We get to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use.  Empowering.  Yeah!)

Anyway, This is a quote from that aforementioned paper:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project Foundation synthesized results from their survey of over 1000 technology stakeholders and critics in a report with the less-than-decisive, but I think ultimately accurate, title of “Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives”

 

Here is a list of scary things about the internet (with an outdated Halloween theme.  Sorry.)  And here is an article by a doctor from Harvard about what parents need to know (*Get to know!!) about children and mobile digital devices.  Kids and cellphones.  Y’know.

I read this some years ago, but it’s still great … and for some reason, this week it recrossed my path so, SHARE I shall.  Wild Play.  God, I loved the book Savage Park.

In other news, I was super proud of the kiwi doctor who has had self care put in the medical oath.  Is it called Hippocratic?

Finally, for joy’s sake:

Flower beards: I love them SO MUCH.

quick … while the room is empty

you know, one of the more challenging bits of being outspoken about the dangers of tech overuse … my kids have zero tolerance for a hypocritical mother.  (Yummy blog post HERE from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood about the Camp Grounded experience).  So school hols are a difficult time to get to my computer and do even the bare minimum.

But OH!  The links I have to share!

Here come a flurry thereof: First, from the Washington Post, this is AMAZING on so many levels!  This is your brain on Art … enjoy.  Next, further evidence, it seems, of our profound interrelatedness.  This is a snippet about some research done at Penn State, demonstrating how a mother’s relational wellbeing with her partner may have implications for her baby’s state.

Speaking of research: this is PROFOUND … it’s from MIT.  Behold the poetry of the academic abstract!  Wade through for useful insights.  Shared meals, touch.  Yup.

OH MY GODDESS I just loved this, from Mothering.com, about Mother Culture.  Sign me up.  I reckon Podcasts go a long way toward filling my head with juicy content.

Here is a small local piece of news (I think it’s from Rhode Island?) where students are requesting screen-free time in classrooms.   Poor buggers.  And it’s so modest, what they’re asking for.  Meanwhile check this out … an organisation called Protect Young Eyes, who are all about digital safety for kids.  As am I.

For the Halloween inclined, this is a list of costumes for girls … non-slutty costumes, non-princess-dependent costumes, thanks to the awesome “Mighty Girl” website.  In a totally different direction, here is a sheet for teachers … what you oughta know about adoption.  

This is a link to an odd and cool take on the relationship between sleep and brains (oooh!  Jellyfish!) and another conversation about brains and other creatures … what the heck, pusscats, poop, and brain parasites.  YOWZER.    Finally, and this is from Mothering as well, an article about what Self Care looks like when Mama is depressed.  Thank you.

Anyway, I have to share a pic of the most recent OhBaby, which has an article I wrote about Technoference … but the rain is relentless and my office (in a separate building, albeit on the same property!) seems a long way away.  So bear with, K?

many things, much stuff

Kia Ora dear friends and lovely geeks

I’m just gonna dive into some link sharing, sans preamble.  Tons, today:

First, a link to a report about some research that reminds us to hold our babies, A LOT.  There is no such thing as too much!  (*unless your arms are sore, in which case you gotta get a sling).  And THIS is from the London School of Economics, about the role of money in children’s lives (spoiler that is not really a spoiler: inequality is not our friend).

Here is an interesting wee article from Mothering mag, it’s about breastfeeding practices all over the world.  Go, Mongolia, go!  And here is the Washington Post, reporting on research about fathers’ differing habits with their girl- or boy-babies.  Meanwhile, this is a li’l something from Harvard Medical School about the evolution of our brains.

So this weird thing happens now and then where the people raising a ruckus about the stuff I care about are those who seemingly sit on the opposite (i.e. Right!) of the political spectrum to me and my lefty ways.  It is true here, where a group of concerned New Zealanders are questioning the amount of screen time in schools.  Yeah, I’m worried too! On a similar subject: check out THIS from Scientific American, about the ways that students are better off WITHOUT a laptop in the classroom.   And one for good luck, research from Penn State about how texting is just too tempting for students.

Finally, cos I gotta sort domestic stuff before school is over and my kids need their mama, this is a link to a page from the excellent Conversation about parental involvement in education.  Irony!  Hello!  You’re never far away, are you?