on mites, lice, and COVID-19

Kia Ora lovelies. What a time to be alive, eh? Lessons a-plenty, as seen here in this bit of deliciousness showcasing the work of the awesome Bagshaws. (And Lyndon Puffin, no less!)

I’ve been putting my faith in Dr Bloomfield and Ms Adern, which was easy when we were on full on lockdown (I heart home) but it’s been a test today … sending kids back to school … YIKES.

Part of the reason for my trepidation is my first hand experience with what happens when one gets too lax, too fast, about controlling a vile outbreak. During lockdown, I had to sort lice from a child’s head and mites in my henhouse. Lemme tell you: you gotta keep your foot on the gas or outbreaks return without regard. Ya hear me, Ministry of Education? Did you SEE this proposed future, laid out by NZ Geographic? We gotta be careful!

Trusting you, Dr Bloomfield. Trusting you …

Some more links now, some COVID resources from Bruce Perry & pals, and this article from Reuters is about the need for green solutions in the rebooting of economies. There is lots we can do as individuals, too … like these inspiring ideas from Retrosuburbia.

Meanwhile, here is a post from Sensible Screen Use which reminds us that all this online education is experimental, this is an important portal to thinking about digital use and wellbeing at the mo, thanks be to the Center for Humane Tech, because let’s not forget: too much tech isn’t great for kids. It’s like the mites: they don’t care if there’s a pandemic on. It’s like the potential for damage to my dear wee liver because of excessive alcohol consumption … it still counts, pandemic or no.

Finally, here is an article from the NY Times which explains how and why Zoom can feel so unsatisfactory.

I mean, thank you Zoom, you’ve been helpful, but y’ain’t face to face. You can’t help it.

OH … by the way … today’s picture shows the latest issue of OHbaby!, which features an article I wrote. It’s about Growing Great Flatmates, and i hope you will enjoy it ūüėČ

OldTryCovidPosters-01Kia Ora e hoa ma, g’day mates. Here is another lovely image from the talented folk at The Old Try.¬† Free to download!¬† If you’ve a printer, put one on your fridge!

We have at-home schooling starting in NZ today – I’ve tried to put some reasonable guardrails in place for my two. Sorry to say, but there are still a great many reasons to be cautious about tech.¬† I know people are all jazz-hands about online learning, but let’s not forget that kids’ data is still being harvested, that children need our protection from online sexual predation¬†(MORE THAN EVER), or that we learn best hands-on, pen & paper, face to face.¬† And we gotta get outside to play!

Not to be all Captain Bringdown … just speaking truths that are STILL TRUE.

Here’s some lovely stuff, to counteract the grimness … some beautiful tips from a zen master for staying sane in challenging times are here, and this is a cool little video clip about making it out of lockdown without murdering anyone in one’s bubble. Here are some cool ideas for families from the excellent Sparklers website, and darlings: make space for your grief.

Another tech caution is HERE, in an article I wrote for OHbaby!, and here is a lil’l something from the brilliant Bruce Perry about responses to trauma (which I suspect an unprecedented number of people will be relating to, right now!) and if that all has you feeling a little verklempt try moving your body! Take it away Sam Shorkey!

Or try a little meditation, thank you Adriene ūüėČ

Love y’all x xx take care x x x arohanui x x x

 

look for the helpers

flatten curveKia Ora my friends.The beautiful image to the left is one of the series of free, lovely downloads from the awesome people at The Old Try.

You know what awesome Fred Rogers is quoted as saying? “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‚ÄúLook for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.‚ÄĚ”

Oh, bless you Mr. Rogers.

Look for the helpers, my friends.

Like here: in Singapore. And here: Yoga with Adriene.

 

And look for the beauty – like those aforementioned prints, like these phenomenal cross stitch patterns, and like this bit of amazing news about the return of swans and dolphins to the canals of Venice.¬†¬†And how lovely to witness adults being playful, as in this collection of lockdown vids from Huff Po.¬†I know … it’s confusing.¬† The ‘net is both blessing and curse.

A couple of COVID specific screen time resources here, for all the kids spending extra time at home …there is a well-timed webinar coming right up from our friends at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, and¬†Common Sense Media will help you tread a little more carefully in the digital world, and I humbly offer an article I wrote some months (years!) ago, with some info about offline play for little ‘uns.¬†

Also: cut yourself a little slack, in the meantime! Good enough parenting, darlings.  Feel those feels and let the kidlets feel theirs too!  

We still gotta be careful about all the time online, pals. This is an article from the Guardian about how YouTube is an agent of radicalisation (if you didn’t hear this episode of the Undivided Attention podcast interviewing Guillaume Chaslot, it explains this notion v. well).

What else? Gotta bring it on home so I can go meet little girl off school bus.  Yup, still running in NZ.

Here is a guest post I wrote, about screen free week in NZ.  

And finally: RIP Ron Lally.  He was a tireless advocate for children and he helped change my professional trajectory.  He was kind and decent to me, we hung out both here and in Cali, and we in the field have lost a giant.

I only recently learned of his death, and I wept.

many links for geeky friends

Kia Ora e hoa ma,

Many amazing things for you to read, coming right up.

First, from the World Health Organisation, about the needs of li’l kids.¬† I love how they cut through the dross and tell it like it is!¬† Here is a gift from the folks at New Dream, about being an effective change maker in 2020.

And now … a bunch of tech links.¬† Cos I gotta.¬† The first comes from MIT, the prestigious technology based university.¬† I highlight that source, because you cannot accuse them of being anti tech!¬† And if they are concerned about use of tech in the classroom, we oughta be concerned. From NZ, now, a summary of research that led to some recommendations for classrooms. Thanks, Sensible Screen Use!

 

(I wrote this piece a few years back: for OHbaby! about school readiness … might have to pitch another one with an emphasis on countering the over-technification of too many of our classrooms!)¬† I would begin by sharing the NEW ACTION KIT from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.¬†

Outside the classroom: here’s a write up of an initiative to get kids to put down their phones, and here is a link to that initiative (“Look Up”). Kids can function just fine without phones, enjoy this story from the NY Times as evidence!

We do need to be a little more nuanced in our thinking about all this … the Human Screenome Project is one interesting example.¬†

From a speech language perspective, this is for parents about their own tech use, and this is about the need for sharing books with babies … books made of paper, not digital ones.

Children in NZ also need us to pay attention to the fact that so many of them are living in poverty,¬†they need our support in getting outdoors and being a little free range,¬†and let’s not forget the emotional development¬†or the magical glial cells!

Finally, cos I gotta go drive a carload of kids to some swimming sports … I am coveting this.¬† Is that shallow or WHAT?

’tis the season …

IMG_0570Kia Ora friends,

Here is a picture of me reading the latest OHbaby! under the Christmas tree… because
’tis the season for a link dump, fa la la la laaaaaa…

This excellent summer issue of OHbaby! holds an article I wrote, and many I didn’t!¬† All good though!

With apologies for having abandoned this faithful blog in recent weeks, I return with a plethora of interesting reading for the geekily inclined.

First up, hot off the (virtual) press: Here is an excellent piece from the NY Times, written by Tristan Harris (he of Center for Humane Tech fame).¬† It’s about our dear wee Paleolithic brains dealing with the Godlike capacities of tech. Then you might read this article from vox.com, it challenges the idea that our relationships with tech are aligned with evolution.

Some interesting stuff here about the youth: this piece from our pals at Sensible Screen Use is about the potential legal ramifications for schools & boards if children are harmed by their tech use while at school, here is an article linking teen smartphone use with ADHD, and this is an article from Ed Week about how bad kids are at spotting fake news, and LOOK! You can counter that by sharing this awesome resource about fact checking skills for students (thanks, Mike Caulfield!).

Let’s just ask the question, then: does educational technology really help students learn?

Check out the flash new website of the magnificent Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and then ponder this article, which alleges that parents only spend 24 more minutes per day with their kids than they do with their phones.

A couple of gorgeous links here celebrating PLAY and specifically loose parts play. Loose Parts were all the rage in ECE circles toward the end of last century, and I”m happy to see discussion of their awesomeness again. THIS is an article from Penn State University, about observing children during such play, and this is from closer to home, from Education HQ.

Here is a report which confirms what you probably already instinctively knew: Work-Life conflict is stressing us out, and this is a report from Common Sense Media about youth screen use in 2019.

A few more tech links, now: this is a link to Richard Freed’s blog.¬† His latest piece reminds people about the parallels between the tech industry and the tobacco industry, blaming the individual user for becoming addicted (rather than amending the addictive nature of the products…).\ HERE is a story about learning to think (without the internet) again, and THIS is from the Guardian in the UK, another little something about the immorality of Facebook as they count alcohol and gambling amongst childrens’ interests. Nice! (not).¬† Which is worse?¬† That nonsense, or THIS spying by the period tracker app and the pushing of antenatal products by FB advertisers?

How about some yumminess to close … I LOVE this, from Scientific American … what can we learn from the advice we’d give our younger selves? (My advice: frown less & smile more, and always always always with the sunscreen!) here is a wonderful article from Simplicity Parenting about knife skills for kids (I’m so into it!) AND from New Dream.org … ideas for simplifying the holidays.¬†¬†

Arohanui, y’all x x x

the kindness of strangers

Mims-Ad-Facebook-Landscape

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

It’s Labour weekend, and sunny.¬† I gotta go have yummy family time or at least get my sorry self into a shower, but first, I must express my gratitude to all the kind young mamas-to-be who have been enquiring about participating in research.

I was just hanging washing and reflecting on the generosity and curiosity of these familiar strangers. I’m an ol’ hippy from way back and I’d describe my vibe as :Feeling the love.

Tell you what though, my beautiful moment was marred by the realisation that I didn’t have sunscreen on my arms and that is reckless behaviour.

I’ll need a few Brene moments and a revamp of the morning routine.

Thanks to colleagues at OHbaby!, Plunket, KiwiParent, Family Times, and Tots to Teens, and the Brainwave Trust … also thanks to¬†my buddy Nathan. What are these lovelies up to? They are helping to spread the word the research project I’m part of at the University of Canterbury.

Which circles me back to the warmth and gratitude I’m feeling toward the young women who have reached out via email…¬†Arohanui x x x

Anyway, if I may return to the business of this blog and do a quick link dump? Then I’ll go rip into Labour Weekend.

First up: this link will take you to a well researched, well written article about kids and tech, by Keryn O’Neil at Brainwave.¬† Kia Ora.

And teacher friends … look at this exceptional blog about teaching media literacy to students. It’s called Four Moves, it’s all about fact checking, and it’s the work of Mike Caulfield, in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, but I’m going to leave you to check that fact.¬† Labour Weekend, etc., that’s why.

This is an interesting finding, from The Conversation in Australia, about how teens who don’t play organised sport seem to be pretty much as active as their pals who do.¬† Although perhaps those findings wouldn’t apply to the young uns described in this story from the Guardian, about overuse of video games.¬†

And I cannot get enough of this podcast. I adore Dolly Parton (remind me to tell you the story about the time I saw her at Nashville airport TRUE STORY) and I love Radiolab so this is a win.

 

PS GO THE MIGHTY ALL BLACKS.

I ruin parties!

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

How to ruin a party, in two easy steps.

1) introduce yourself to a small group

2) explain that you’re researching the impact of parental distraction by smartphones on the parent:infant relationship.

That’s kinda why I call myself Captain Buzzkill.¬† Because I can’t sit and pretend everything is OK while babies are having their caregivers seduced and distracted by the dopamine machines.

Because I can’t switch this off!¬† A staunch child advocate knows no rest! The other night hubby and I were out on a Saturday night (that previous link is an awesome song but it is a YouTube video … RESIST – do not click on recommended videos, and here is why.)

ANYWAY we were attempting to both rock and roll to a visiting musician’s best efforts,¬†and he was riling up the crowd with “it doesn’t matter who you are, we all get a say” kind of messages, and instead of anything resembling a “woooo – hooooo!” the best I can do is lean into husband’s ear and say “not babies, though.¬† They need advocates”.

So edgy and cool am I!

Last night I had the great privilege of a rant and a talk with a group of whńĀnau in my own neck of the woods. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again I LOVE PLAYCENTRE

This coming hard on the heels of a joyful Saturday, getting to hang out in a roomful of loving professionals associated with Homebased childcare in New Zealand.

Lovely, lovely!

I was grateful for someone’s question last night about my imagined and desired guidelines for families to support them in making wise digital choices in the presence of babies. Off the top of my brain I came up with three good ones, and I’ve since thought of another worth including. These are based on the months and months of reading, writing & thinking I’ve done about tech and the years and years of reading, learning, writing, thinking & teaching about child development, families, relationships, attachment, behaviour, etc!

You get it, I am a baby geek.

Anyway.  The guidelines so far look like this:

  1. Save it till they Sleep
  2. If you must use tech, say “excuse me”
  3. Keep your phone in your bag in the next room
  4. Make routines (food, sleep, dressing) device free

Each of these can use some explanation and unpacking, but not now my friends.  I have to go do some domestic stuff before the evening shift begins!

Some of the resources we talked about were

  • humanetech.com¬†(+awesome podcast! “your undivided attention”)

Captain Bringdown

Kia Ora, ladies and gentlegeeks

It’s been a while since I came and geeked out over here and shared some links (aka cleared some tabs) and it’s a joy and a privilege to have a moment to do just that!

Small one due home from school in a jiff and I will switch from office brain to domesticity. But for now I want to pause and breathe in and out together, perhaps grounding through all four corners of the feet and rolling the shoulders.  AMEN!

And then I wanna say … mate it’s hard sometimes.¬† So much of the news is bad and the threats are real. The wisdom of what to do to protect ourselves (and provide an umbrella for others) can be increasingly hard to tune into when we are surrounded by outrage machines.

YA KNOW?

Oh, Nature, we need you!

Oh, attention span, I miss you!

Oh, movement! I love you!

Anyway, busy time for this geek, learning heaps of new bits as I try and get a study through an ethics committee (my first go). Also attempting to wrestle a literature review into submission.¬† Winning, but JUST. Lots of family stuff too, of course. And if you’re planting with the lunar cycles (and why wouldn’t you, I’d like to know? Might as well, right?) then this forthcoming weekend is the time to get your seeds started under cover.¬† Well, if you live near Canterbury, NZ.

Why don’t we do a link dump now, my friends, and I will see you on the flip side.

Let’s start with something from Business Insider (I love a diverse perspective!) on evidence Apple shareholders used to show smartphones are addictive for kids. While we’re talking about kids and phones (which I do an awful lot of, these days.¬† JEEZ I’M BORING) here is something from Wait til 8th (from US … as in 8th grade aka kiwi year 10 aka 14 years old … they promote waiting till that age till parents get their kids a smartphone) ANYWAY here’s something from them about screen use in schools.¬† ¬†And here’s a pretty great opinion piece about screens in schools.

OK, one more screen site: this is a list reason of physics-based reasons that too much screen stuff is bad for us, from Fair Observer¬†AND this is a piece about an important bit of legislation in coming up for discussion in the US, to make infinite scrolling and autoplay not the default setting anymore.¬† Sorry if that sentence didn’t make sense.¬† School bus is here gotta go

Back.¬† Nearly done with screeniac links. THIS is from Scientific American, and it’s about rebuilding social media to support empathy. They’ll need to read this manifesto from the Center (Centre!) for Humane Tech, about avoiding human downgrading.¬†

THIS from the Conversation is about the need for diversity in children’s books,¬† and speaking of books, here is a piece encouraging paper not screen, and enjoy this webinar from our pals at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network … it’s about reading aloud.¬† Hooray.¬† I absolutely get how getting your kid comfy listening to stories on the iPad while you get a meal going can feel like a win, but imagine a world where you could consistently BE the iPad in that scenario!¬† I miss curling up with warm little kids and reading them stories.¬† I think that my dearth of snuggly reading means I must be outta whack.¬† I blame the literature review.¬† And the excessive amounts of pine pollen in my atmosphere!

See what I mean about the attention span?  Where was I?

Here is a cool thing from Scientific American about babies’ sense of justice, and speaking of justice, won’t you please sign this petition. Then, as dessert, check out these gems from my man Rick Hansen, to lower stress.¬†Oh, and speaking of dessert! How gross is this marketing of diets to children? NO Thank you.

Now I’m stressed out again and I’ll just head back to Rick Hansen for some deep dreaths and inner smiles.

Arohanui,¬† y’all x x x

computers, compassion

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

If you are in NZ, I hope the school hols are treating you kindly.  Today has been a great day for a warm fire, baking and puzzles.  Soon I shall get serious about creating a delicious dinner for my crew.  Till then, I gotta lotta quality links to share.

Shall we?

First, I’m a little into the whole notion of Technology Shabbats, brainchild of Tiffany Shlain.¬† I heard about them via promotion for¬†the upcoming webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.¬† Those webinars tend to be pretty awesome.

There are a great many reasons to try something like a tech shabbat, to declare yourself a member of the resistance.¬† We are part of a mass experiment and our brains are changing as a result¬†…. or should we say, our brains are being changed.¬† There is something intentional and manipulative at play, although many will deny it.¬† Like Google.¬† Jeez, Google. You do WHAT?¬† Profit from pedophiles with your crazy recommendations and asymmetric algorithms?¬† Taste the shame.¬†

What to do?¬† If you’re New York rich, you might hire a coach to help raise phone-free kids,¬† which would be lovely, because all sorts of suboptimal outcomes are associated with too much tech … like these things in this blog post by Rae Pica, and read about¬†diminishing physical skills¬†in that there Australian article.¬† Pals, tech insiders don’t use the stuff like we’ve been coerced to.¬† Children are being predated on by the tech companies as well as the weirdos on their platforms.

Sigh.¬† Too much tech gets in the way of lots of other important things that children need to do.¬† They have WORK to do (they need “love, attention and plenty of free time”), if they are to be allowed to be thought “ready for school” at the appropriate age.¬† They gotta figure out how to make sense of emotion, they need adults helping them to process trauma¬†before it gets lodged in their bodies, and they gotta climb trees.

I mean, we all gotta get outside more, preferably to dig in the dirt.  We are going to have to continue to raise a little hell, like this mama in Maryland who I salute from afar as she advocates for saner screen use in her school.  Put books in all waiting rooms!!

solstice celebrated, garlic planted!

Kia Ora lovelies,
How wonderful to have tipped over into shortening nights and lengthening days.¬† It still may be flipping freezing, but I’m grateful for the reminder that all is impermanent.

First link of the day: “Your Undivided Attention” … it’s¬†an excellent new podcast from the Center for Humane Tech.¬† It has me all a-flutter thinking about design solutions to support us mere humans in undoing the manipulation of our poor li’l vulnerable minds as we attempt to take control of our device use.

Which we’d better get serious about: lifetime users are changing their skeletons.¬† Horn-like growths¬†on our spines?¬† Yeah, all this tech is not a benign habit. Especially for kids.¬† Oh, and¬†¬†here’s what the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute reckon …¬†Meanwhile,¬†closer to (my!) home, I was privileged to see a powerful talk about digital addiction by a wise professor at the UC Child Wellbeing Symposium a couple of weeks back.¬† Koia kei a koe!

Just quietly, I’d¬† have liked other speakers to have considered the concepts of this essay¬†… now, I’m a fool for some neuroscience, but let’s never forget that we are more than our brains… we are also sensory beings, feeling creatures: with bodies and bellies and reciprocal relationships.

ANYWAY … More locals doing important work can be found HERE, at the website of the Sensible Screen Use group… they are all about shaking up the new normal that exists in so many classrooms in NZ.¬† I wonder if they’ve read Screen Schooled?¬† Other useful thoughts about shaking up the norm in classrooms can be found here, in this write up of the work of a neurologist turned classroom teacher.¬†¬†

Here is a lil’ something about the myth of the perfect mother (something I’ve written about elsewhere …) and this is from Rick Hansen (LOVE!), it’s about taking care of dads.

This is an interesting finding about the link between adverse childhood experiences and the onset of puberty, and I end with a glorious bit of counsel about having conversations about positive parenting, it’s from the most excellent Canadian Paediatric Society.¬† Merci!