bit of a lockdown

Kia ora fam,

Those of us in NZ are having another wee lockdown. I’m using the time to work on an essay (qualitative research methods, baby) and embrace a bit of puzzle time.

Now I need to share a flurry of links, empty some tabs on my computer! FIRST: the questions concerning technology … so smart, so worthwhile. Let’s all read these questions and answer them honestly, nothing will ever be the same (or as lame) ever again!!

Here is some writing advice for young writers (and old writers, too … I DIG IT) and things to covet, from the School of Life.

Here is some funny/sad satire about early parenthood, from my mates at McSweeneys. Speaking of early parenthood, this piece from Stuff shares how many kiwi mums are taking less parental leave than they’d like AND sharing this once again … this resource from the children’s screen time network about being tech wise with baby.

The need for consciousness and a goal of being tech wise is REAL. Look … here is a thang from the NY Times about parents hiring digital coaches to help teach their kids good habits, and LEST WE FORGET the Ledger of Harms.

Shout out to my mate Deidre, whose research is written up HERE. She was my colleague when I worked at the other TTU (in Tennessee!) and she’s the person who first taught me about “clean data”.

OH more funny/sad observation from McSweeneys, this is about women and aging (Hi there!) and here is another piece from the New York Times – this is written as they send teens back to school after many months of lockdown, and it’s a call to disrupt existing smartphone habits. DO IT.

Meanwhile, researchers from NYU studying Facebook’s advertising methods have been KICKED OFF the platform … bit suss, eh? Speaking of suss, props to Sonia Livingstone for using her blog to highlight the need to elevate children’s rights in the digital world. UM …YUP.

In unrelated news, I’m practicing this song (having played very average beginner guitar 25 years ago, I’ve been sliding backward ever since) and we are considering a rejig of the hen run.

LIFE … she is a roller coaster. Happy & Sad at the same time. = SAPPY … it’s how I roll!

Zoom – it’s not just for weeping

kia ora my friends

Yeah, so … about 10 days ago I wept via zoom.

I’d been at an event the previous day, a public talk where I believed the content (which I saw as downplaying the risks accompanying our technological lives) had the potential to do harm to children. I see things as the 5 Rights Foundation see them: Tech’s exploitative relationship with children is a public health issue. Instead of acknowledging this, I heard false reassurances (“sure, play violent video games for hours at a time!), some in opposition to the recommendations of the likes of the World Health Organisation.

The hierarchical nature of pecking orders means that it wasn’t appropriate for me to stand up and yell “BS!”, although that’s what every cell of my body longed to do. For the love of everything that’s holy- ACKNOWLEDGE THE HARMS.

The act of suppressing that desire took a toll on my central nervous system – I was cringing so hard I did myself personal injury. For an hour and a half, I had to do slow, controlled abdominal breaths, the likes of which I would usually do during dental work for mere minutes at a time.

This combination of misinformation and physical suffering (not to mention the stiff whiskey I downed when I got home) left me out of sorts the next day. Not the best space for a productive work day … or, it turns out, a competent showing on zoom.

I wish I knew more about zoom etiquette – clearly I should have bowed out of that meeting. Is it rude if I’m the only one whose camera is turned off? I mean, I know BrenĂ© Brown is all the rage, but is the world ready for the “I weep on Zoom” level of vulnerability? Giddy up, y’all. Here I am.

In part, the weeping was because I got lost in comparison, perceiving myself as falling behind the other researchers. But in hindsight, I mostly wept because I longed for these other child-minded people to join me in feeling wounds that accompany the public misrepresentation of children’s needs. Unfortunately, it was hard to communicate any of that while my head was in my hands.

Forgiveness: after at least two good sleeps (my dad’s excellent rule) I was able to forgive myself for the weeping, I could contextualise my reaction and even stand in the power of “I wept because I care so bloody much about children!” – which is not entirely a bad thing, eh?

Anyway, if we can still be friends, I’ll share a few links and move on with my day.

Let’s start with a few Bruce Perry/NMT related links, shall we? First, here is a website called Be Rhythmic, which is a cornucopia of regulation-enhancing delights. THIS is a pdf about the amazing human brain, and check out these exceptional visual synopsis (synopses?) of Dr. Perry’s books.

A few techy links now, cos … y’know. First: check out this work from the University of Auckland, making a link between audible smartphone notifications, parenting style, and kids’ language development. This is an argument against instagram for kids (because … of course). And this is a link to a blog about Britain’s code of conduct for online design as it relates to children. Lo and behold, they call on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to inform their work: Children have the right to be safe from commercial exploitation (UNCRC Article 32).
Oh, if everyone were to honour that … there sure as heck wouldn’t be talk of Kiddy Insta!!

Here is a bit of info about the 5Rights “twisted playthings’ campaign, which seek to highlight the weirdness of toys that gather data and promote unhelpful ideals … One write up from the Washington Post, one from a site called Commercial exploitation of children? Yup.

I’d also like to draw your attention to the work of, who work to protect children from online sexual exploitation.

What else? This is a good article from Dame about living in an age of too much information (information is not the same thing as knowledge, and knowledge alone ain’t wisdom!!) and I’ll round this post out with some beautiful, playful bead art. ENJOY x x x