too little too late (too busy!!)

Kia ora friends,

The busy is a bit much at the moment. In my life, the hurtling will be somewhat inevitable till we put the thesis to bed, in about 7-8 months. Hurtling. Data collection is complete, analyses mostly done and the descriptive chapter will burst into life in forthcoming weeks.

It’s a weird wee patch, where I’m having to pause and see it through, even as I can see what needs to happen next.

As ever, it’s hard to put my attention too squarely on the ol’ work during school holidays. The (not so) small person is now eleven, and I gotta keep finding ways to focus on her and be super productive in the moments that surround intentional interactions. That link is a funny gag, btw. I will be working my bum off at every available moment! It’s the only way!

Time is precious, we know that.

Time is the thing we can’t make more of. We can’t forget that.

And our kids are kids just the once! My firstborn will soon be twenty! When’s the last time i pushed her on a swing? But many of us are still on the phones more than we are with our children.While we’re thinking ’bout it, we could do a bit better at keeping phones away from children (babies!) too.

Can we agree that’s heartbreaking?

And sheesh, may I hold my hand to my heart and whisper sadly about the passing of a beautiful and beloved early childhood kaumatua, who I have acknowledged here in the old bloggity many times, and I’ve quoted her liberally in work for OHbaby! and others. Darlings, Pennie Brownlee has died. My go-to book for gifting to new parents has always been “Dance with me in the Heart” and many of you will also know “Magic spaces“, both of which were written by Pennie.

Yeah.

Exhale.

Life is short and precious and there is heaps to do.

The things which Pennie wrote so well about were the truly important bits that make child development magical and wonderful and make the most of the exuberant synaptogenesis of brain growth that rockets along in those early years.

Relationships. Play.

That’s it, y’all. that’s what makes children thrive.
and both those things are disrupted by by-God tech!

Anyway.

Walking in the woods is good for us, says Harvard, and this is the website of Diana Suskind, whose work I was reminded of by a lovely colleague last week. Cool rock play. Love. Here is a fab new post from our friends @ Sensible Screen Use, about the need to think more critically about our tech use in classrooms. OH! And ECE centres, brothers and sisters. It is most unsatisfactory what seems to be going on all over the show. May I remind us all that what’s ‘normal’ and what’s ‘healthy’ are not always the same thing!!

I’m doing that broken record thing again, so I’ll send so much love and go put a load of washing on. x x x

All Hail the Bold and brilliant Special Interest Group in Perinatal and Infant Mental Health of the Psychological Society of Ireland!!

Honestly … the tenacity and ferocity of their advocacy meant that my work was featured in TWO national newspapers in Ireland – the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner … and I just did a radio interview for a nationwide station, TodayFM (although my voice held a nervous wobble, and apparently they don’t say “judder bar” in Ireland!)

I’m in Dublin because I’ve been attending & presenting at the 18th Congress for the World Association for Infant Mental Health. It’s been amazing, but I’m ready for my house, bed, cow, chickens and routines now, please.

Arohanui x x

June gloom, multiple rooms, and exciting zooms

What a privilege to share a play with Otis and pals πŸ™‚

Kia ora friends

When I lived in the USA, they used to talk about the weather in terms of June gloom, and I thought “not in North Canterbury, where the winter nights are frosty and the winter days are shiny”. But this last wee patch has been rather gloomy, so much so that I heard a gentleman say, at the recycling centre over the weekend: “this is like England in November!”.

The other reason for the gloom in my heart is a rough 1-2 combo of death-a-versary and new loss. Processing sadness even as trying to support others … not easy. But important stuff often isn’t.

Anyway, I need to do the important work of sharing links on this blog … I will start with a shout out to Canterbury Playcentre and their fine “Babies Can Play” project, which I was lucky enough to gatecrash a couple of weeks back, with my li’l buddy Otis (and thanks to his fam for allowing me to share the above pic).

That thought may segue nicely into sharing this paper, which was thrust into my hands by one of my mentors, and deals with infant voice and subjective experience. YES! Preach. Vital, and all too often absent from the research realm.

Some terrifying links, now – this is from the Guardian, it’s about the role of Instagram and Facebook in child trafficking. Gross. But don’t look away. Stare it down. Likewise, this from the New York Times about how chat rooms within gaming communities are breeding extremist (violent, racist, misogynist) thinkers, and over here is a piece about how You Tube algorithms are tilting gamers toward actual videos of real life shootings. Unacceptable.

Some good news – this from the Washington Post about banning use of phones in schools, this is a topic which has had a bit of attention here, lately, thanks to the work of Paddy Gower, and lest we forget we’ve known about the benefits of removing phones from school for ages – this write up from the Guardian is in response to a report from the London School of Economics from 2015, for flip’s sake. How many distracted children in those intervening years … hmmm?

Here is an English translation of a position paper written by the German Association for Infant Mental Health, it’s about things digital in the lives of babies & families, and this is a press release from Canterbury Uni (whoop, whoop!) about screen use in early childhood. Guess what? Limits are a good idea.

This is from Teen Vogue about the aftershocks for children who have grown up in the public eye in ‘influencer’ families (ew) and this is about legislation in France, designed to curb such weirdness.

Finally, a chuckle for the pottymouthed …thanks, McSweeneys x x

How can this possibly be my first link share of 2023?

Well, crikey. Blame the workload (helloooooo data collection!), blame the family, heck – blame me if you like. It’s been a long-ass time since I posted, but the good news that accompanies this is that I have a backlog of fascination for you to peruse.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!

First, may I share this super practical piece from Oregon Public Broadcasting about supporting young people’s positive body image through purposeful use of … you got it … smartphones/screens. Because let’s face it – as those behind this lawsuit understand, social media messes with people’s minds, and especially the young fellas. In breaking and yet unsurprising news from Bloomberg, Zuckerberg had been warned about this very thing.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I volunteer to give that young man a crisp and hearty slap.

Here’s a smart essay about the creepiness of AI, and this is another smart essay, about attention.

I highly recommend this article from the Cut, about the trap that is inherent in giving a child their first phone, and LISTEN! How have we not been following the work of the Institute of Digital Media and Child Development? (Thanks to my colleague at Auckland Uni for the detective work).

Speaking of child development, here’s a wee piece I wrote for OHbaby! a while back, it’s about play and toys and it’s tech free (no surprises there). And here’s what Scientific American assert is the best way to soothe an infant. Hot tip: It has absolutely nothing to do with birthing in a full face of makeup. Ew.

This is an alarming description of the ways that TikTok tracks you across the web, and this is about an increasing number of schools and universities who are banning the platform from their campuses.

I love this, from the Washington Post, about making children peer reviewers for science writing, to ensure its digestibility, and this is pretty interesting … from Stuff, about the rise of for-profit childcare in NZ. Also ew.

Three quick links to end this … all more personal than I usually post here! This is a review to an amazing concert I was lucky enough to attend, here is a piece about George Michael and the injustices of “that” scandal (because I have loved him since I was a literal child) AND I’m super proud of my friends who hosted this gig. For flip’s sake, Tennessee. Stop reinforcing the stereotypes of small mindedness and redneckery, would ya please?

good and bad things

One good thing is this latest issue of OHbaby! So nice. And within is an article I wrote about parenting styles. Enjoy …

Conversely …let’s just put it out there. On the record:
I FLIPPING HATE DAYLIGHT SAVING. There. Said it.

We just changed our clocks in NZ (“Spring Forward”) and this is faux time. I mean, all time is a bit faux. As my dear, late mama used to say “Time is a societal construct”. Clocks are only a thing cos we say so. And as for changing them, depriving whole communities of circadian goodness…? I’m agin it! NOT A FAN.

I mean – if this is about making those dreamy summer nights longer… guess WHAT! Mother Nature already does that! Our days get longer in summer without any need for tampering by silly people and their dumb timepieces. Even my delight with the “extra” hour of sleep when we ‘fall back’ and put our clocks back to normal time – it’s not worth the price of admission. This springtime grumpiness is REAL, and I blame Daylight Saving. HUMBUG!!!

Right. Rant over.

Now for some links for my geeky brothers’n’sisters! After all, that’s what we do, here πŸ™‚

First up, here is an academic paper which describes a study using the Still Face Paradigm as a mechanism for understanding the impact of technological interruption on mother-baby interaction.

Also tech-related: here is a piece from the Conversation about toddlers’ use of touchscreen technology (*hot tip: use in emergencies only! eg on aeroplanes, or while a parent is receiving medical care!) and this is from the Washington Post, about making a media plan for your family. Bloody good idea, and the basis of my PhD research… what, WHAT?

I’ve been reading/hearing/thinking a lot about TikTok, lately. She’s not your friend, y’all. Here is a piece which highlights the advocacy of Fairplay (formerly the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Loved them then, love them still!!) and YOU GOTTA hear this podcast from our pals at the Center for Humane Tech. It casts a calm and concerned eye over the platform. It’s not all cute dance moves, my darlings. Our poor young people need protection from data harvesting and capitalism, itself!

Another piece from the Conversation, now: about phones in schools (*I know – let’s just DON’T!) and just cos it’s fascinating – enjoy this cognitive biases cheat sheet.

Finally, please enjoy this piece of relatable satire from McSweeney’s, and some exceptionally beautiful Land Art. Let those beautiful images hold you till the pain goes away!

Lets get LOST

Kia ora friends, colleagues, and geeky folk of all stripes,

Here I am, post COVID #1, mostly normal (whatever that means). Still longing for a nap, at all times, but otherwise groovy.

I have some deluxe links to share, some of which will invite you down the best type of rabbitholes, the ones that are evidence-based, informative, and even inspiring. I’m talkin’ ’bout stuff like THIS … The Center for Integral Wisdom.

A couple of most interesting “tech and education” links for you now: here is the work of Zak Stein, this is the homepage of Jon Haidt, and those fellas together do some deluxe work as the Consilience Project.

This essay from the Consilience Project, about education, is rather USA-centric, but bloody relevant and fascinating nonetheless. Worth it. Promise. Oh, while we are thinking about education and technology … check this out, from The Hill, about student privacy issues with EdTech (kids are the product!!)

I’m also rool interested in this side hustle of Dr. Haidt’s, Let Grow, which is about supporting children’s play drive. What my mate Pennie would call their sacred urge to play.

Something’s up, for sure. Our young people are bummed out like never before, it’s all been made worse by this pandemic (THIS study is about adults, but still…). Actually, I really like Audrey Tang’s use of “Twin-demic” … behold … …”both a pandemic and an infodemic – a lot of disinformation and fake news was circulating in the internet.” I also love their use of Humour as shield and weaponry. Fab.

Here is a link to the latest report from Pew about teens and the internet/social media ETC, a piece from NPR about recognising when to log off, and in a weird twist … Chuck Norris is a voice for children’s online safety. Wha…?

What else? This is from the WAIMH (*World Association of Infant Mental Health) and it’s about the rights of babies and infant mental health. Speaking of babies (which I do all the time!) here is a lovely resource from Pasco Fearon (legend!) and a link to some new tech/baby research (which is the corner of the world where I live, at the mo). Truly, darlings … there is new work published EVERY DAY. Impossible to keep up! Aaaagh!

In a completely unrelated subject, I was really inspired by this, from the Harvard Medical School newsletter, about resisting ageism. Growing old is a by-God privilege, and I reject all other philosophies!

Here is a beautiful essay about the value of domesticity and care, written by the late, great Donella Meadows. This is another of my fave topics! Love me some Radical Homemaking!

As always, I covet. The work of Aho Creative is gorgeous. Now, to finish up the “have to’s” so I can go and exercise πŸ™‚

Dear Screen Free Week 2022,

SFW2021_SocialIcon-1.png (1080Γ—1080)

Dear Screen Free Week 2022,

Hey, old friend! It’s been a while. We have an intimate history, you and I, and I just want to acknowledge your validity – as well as my emotional absence. You know I have promoted you locally in the past, and in 2020 I purchased your merch – I love wearing my SFW t-shirt, even though we all abandoned the pressure and pleasure of taking the week off screens during that first bit of pandemic.

The thing is – this year, I have utterly failed in sharing the news of your arrival. I’ve been so flipping flat out with my doctoral confirmation process and the fresh rigours of family life … I simply failed to get it together for flyer-printing and press-release-sending. And now the week is upon us, I’m not even sure I can rally the family for an in-house SFW. Now, quick – get me some Brene Brown in an IV, because the shame that accompanies this apathy (? is it apathy?) is IMMENSE.

So let’s try a regroup. One of the real missions of this week seems to be about challenging accepted autopilot patterns – especially with regard to entertainment media. I’m all for that. But I guess I’m already pretty self-aware around this. I barely doomscroll the news anymore, I don’t use social media, and I’m purposeful about selecting uplifting and delightful things to watch.

What I crave, and I’m not sure how I will achieve this for some months (*see prior point about confirmation, etc!) is a total break from ALL tech. Not my phone, no cell service or wifi, not my laptop or word processor … not even a podcast (shock, horror). I would like my brain and body (mate, my eyes are sore at the end of a desk day!) to experience a total screen tech rest. Books and magazines, pens and paper, records and cds. Long walks and daydreaming. Rest. Not sure husband and children would tolerate this, so it could wind up being a solo expedition of some kind, and it may be a long while before she gets it.

Meanwhile, take care. See what you can rustle up during Screen Free Week, even if it’s just a solitary night off the telly, with library books for company, instead.

Actually, that sounds pretty great πŸ™‚ x x x

and the year goes March-ing on

Hello darlings,

Crikey dick. March already. Makes me a bit clammy on the palms, as I have SO MUCH WORK to do, and a finite amount of daily brain power.

In the meantime, I would like to share a slew of links with you.

First, a couple that specifically deal with TikTok (ugh). This is from Wired, and it’s about the company’s desire to host/post longer videos (even though longer videos stress users out). Why would they do that, you ask? To sell more advertising, of course!! Speaking of advertising on TikTok, check out this craziness, about ADHD medication being pitched to youngsters. Again: ugh.

Here is a link to some work from George Washington University, about the peddling of COVID-19 misinformation to parent groups, which reminded me of this from NZ’s Stuff about ‘mumfluencers’ (that word deserves another one: ugh!). ALSO: same but different, this is from Wired about the ways that the internet is failing mums-to-be.

What depressing news can I share with you, next? How about this, from the BBC, about how popular children’s game Roblox has been invaded by pervs (are we surprised?) but LEST WE FORGET, before we go blaming children for being enticed by the online world … kids’ screen habits are very much a reflection of their parents’ habits, and as this piece from the Atlantic reminds us, those parental habits MATTER.

Speaking of kids’ habits … this is a piece from the Newsroom in NZ about screen time, and I’ll invite you to compare and contrast that with an opinion piece from the Washington Post about how social media use is a much more useful yardstick than just ‘screen time’.

I’ll end with three hopeful-ish links … first, from the Guardian, about the value of prioritising in-person intimacy over our smartphones, and THIS from the BBC … it’s about ditching the smartphone and howzabout this from the Atlantic, encouraging connection to nature.

I mean … we are human mammals. We are part of nature. Jeez. With that in mind, I might rug up against the early-autumn chill and eat lunch outside. Arohanui! x x xx

she’s a clunky old girl

I’m talking about this website, but I could be talking about myself …?

Darlings, I can scarcely believe we are 3 days from Christmas already. I have not written this blog since flippin’ September, I keep hoping I’ll be ready for a relaunch/reconfigure/resomething but then I keep being busy with all the other things and not getting it done. So I delay, and delay, and here we are.

SInce September I have been concentrating on PhD stuff, namely a systemic literature review, which gobbled up most of October and all of November, part of December. It’s in a reasonable second draft form as I put everything to bed for Summer hols. Which I am loving. So much festive food prep, and not done yet

Oh, but early in December I was lucky enough to be invited to a private zoom meeting with the exceptional Stephen Porges. I took my questions about the physiological and psychological impacts of parental smartphone use in the presence of infants, and he both confirmed my findings (my fears!) and offered his customary wise, calm reassurance.

It would all help if we had codes of ethics for designers that encouraged people to think about children (won’t somebody please think of the children!!?!) as they design for tech. That previous link is a goodie about design, as is THIS link to calm tech … and here is a reminder of why we need such things – a piece from Fairplay (formerly the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood) about the nefarious lengths Facebook will go to to deceive young users.

I’m increasingly obsessed with older accounts of our interactions with tech – check this out, from 1969, asking whether tech can be humane. Sometimes people are so prescient and on to it … other times they get things all higgledy piggledy – like this piece that describes how futurists could foresee self-driving cars, but not women in the workplace.

Really, I think that’s what is at play in my corner of the world – people are so unused to thinking about the unique developmental needs of infants that they just have a big ol’ baby-shaped blind spot in their thinking about all manner of issues. I will keep working to shine a light and to change hearts and minds, but this will require tenacity, grit, and a self-care strategy!

Here is advice from A Mighty Girl about how to get beyond admiring little girls’ looks when you interact with them over the holidays. I get it – I love a frock and a ribboned hairdo – but let’s not let girls think that this is all we admire about them.

And for the love of God, don’t let your daughters get instagram.

My Christmas wish for everyone is that you will get to share family stories. Storytelling is a joy and a resource, as confirmed by this piece from Scientific American and as I reference this, may I offer a belated honouring of one of NZ’s storytelling treasures, RIP LIz Miller.

Now, how about some delights to end? THIS Is an amazing hot wheels racetrack that took an entire month to set up, and here is an awesome corner of the internet called Real LIfe magazine, this is smart writing from a young thinker, this piece is about logging off.

Which I will do, for the day, right about … NOW.

xxxx

reading, writing, thinking … a wee bit of stressing out.

Kia ora te whānau,

What’s up, lovelies? This picture shows me in my office, reading the latest OHbaby! magazine. There is an article in there I wrote about Joyful Routines, and I hope it will be of service to all those who read it!

If you could see the state of my office you’d encourage me to take a bit of my own advice, and get some joyful tidying/filing routines going on my desk. Sheesh! The paperwork piles are precarious!

Meanwhile, here are a few interesting links for the enjoyment of the geekily inclined. THIS is from our pals at the Center for the Developing Child @ Harvard. It’s a deep dive into childhood mental health, and it includes this doozy of a quote: β€œMost potential mental health problems will not become mental health problems if we respond to them early.”

Speaking of deep dives, HERE is a link to the Center for Humane Tech’s explanation of the importance of the “Facebook Files”, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, and HERE is coverage of the same from CNBC.

Different but connected (aren’t we all?) is this report from Professor Sir Peter Gluckman and colleagues, about the impact of screen use on children’s development. I was stoked that their summary included a reminder to new parents to monitor their own screen use and its impact on interaction. Vital! One more wee thing, about considering the role of Affective Neuroscience Theory in our convos about kids’n’screens, especially in these coronavirus days.

This is a lovely piece written by one of my faves, Keryn at the Brainwave Trust. It’s about using this pandemic as an opportunity to support resilience in our children. Good idea, especially cos it’d seem that this COVID scene is here to stay (WAH!) … all the more reason to share this funny bit of satire from McSweeneys. Or maybe you would prefer this utterly profane, hilarious, and relevant piece!!! (Brace yourself, its cussy).

What else? A bit of seed raising, some orphan lamb feeding, and a bit of research about wicker mending. Thinking, and then not thinking. Mindfulness … and sometimes mindlessness.

Happy Spring, y’all x x x