Parenting

The Age/Distance Paradigm....

This is something that has been on my mind a lot recently, certainly over the last couple of months!

My lovely little family unit is going through a monumental shift:

  • the youngest used to be called little legs, we can't caller her that any more.....simply her legs just aren't that little any more! (she is now Little Geek)
  • the teenager, well we can still call her that but only for 11 more months as she has just turned 19! 

 

The wife and I are having to get used to the fact our girls are growing up ..... very fast!  The advantage of being young parents is you get on really well with your kids and you can relate to them, but that is starting to change, and each morning I swear they are growing and changing right in front of me! 

The teenager is a young and independent women, she no longer relies on us so much and is often off somewhere doing her own thing, at the moment that seems to be a shed load of travelling around Europe (Jealous!)

The Little Geek is growing up fast too, as this photo shows, I took a quick selfie with her and then went to post it to Instagram as always an noticed just how grown up she looks! She also seems to have a drive in her to learn new things which I love but already she is becoming so independent! 

I guess this post is more of a realisation of what is going on, not that I want to stop it, I love the individuals they are becoming, but more to say that I miss my little girls being well little and more dependent on us!  No I don't want anymore kids (I'm pretty sure the wife doesn't either) but I do wish I could slow time down a little! 

You will all know who read this often that I love social media, and through Snapchat I discovered a film director / producer / Youtuber and have been watching loads of his videos (I highly recommend you check them out), but one video I watched had a segment that perfectly describe what we go through as parents and its this (the bit I am on especially is from 1:57), and where I got the title of my post from (Casey if you read this I hope you don't mind).

It has also inspired me in to looking at other ways I can make sure these memories are captured in other ways.  I take a lot of photos, but not so much video, so am now considering a vlog to capture these special moments and some of the little chats we have, so watch this space for news about that! 

In the meantime I will be crying in to my tea that I am getting old and my kids are becoming grown ups! 

Porn sites must have age checks? Say Conservatives

You may have seen my post early this week encouraging first time voters to register to ensure they can vote in the up and coming general election, as well as how to decide who to vote for!

 I happened to tweet my local MP for a retweet, he kindly obliged but also come back saying that he noticed I had an interest in online safety (Correct!), and to watch out for the new announcement from the Conservatives stating that pornography websites must adopt age-restriction controls or face closure.

In case you haven't seen this, the BBC ran this article 

Ok lets just think about this for a moment......  This sounds like a great thing! As the article states a recent poll said that a tenth of 12 to 13 year olds are worried they are addicted to porn! 

So surely regulating them is a good thing, no? They are targeting both website in the UK and overseas! 

Now lets think about this in practical terms:

  • How many 12 to 13 year olds know their way around the internet very well?
  • How many would know how to get around these age restrictions? 
  • How much would this cost to implement?

Call me sceptical, but I think if they were to introduce these it would only impact UK sites, I then wonder are many hosted or run in the UK by UK companies?   That leads to the question if they are overseas what power does the UK government have over them, virtually none!

Most teens would know how to establish a proxy server connection to make the site believe they are accessing it from overseas.  I also firmly believe the money could be better spent by educating teenagers in school about the dangers of the internet, not just porn! 

Recently coding was added to the curriculum this academic year, so we are teaching kids how to build websites, apps and programme software, but how much is going into helping educate them about the dangers of excessive internet use, as well as over sharing of personal information through social media, as well as using the internet to search for porn?

It makes me wonder how much thought has gone into this proposal and could this be a massive waste of money?

Experts have already stated this would difficult to implement, so should they look at other ways?

Of course at present this would only come in if the conservatives are voted in for another term, but I think whoever is voted in for the next parliament they should consider reviewing some proposal to help educate children in using the internet safely. 

There are already a number of organisations out there doing great work Insafe (funded by the EU), and CEOP, but more support would be welcomed no doubt! 

Read this: Talking to your child about staying safe online


First time voting?

elections1.jpg

If like me you have a son or daughter who are about to vote for the first time, I am hoping you have been discussing the up and coming election with them!

Some people are not that interested in politics and I fear will not have that conversation about the election, how it works as well ashow they find out who they would like to vote for.

Credit: mirror.co.uk

Credit: mirror.co.uk

 

Very few schools or colleges will talk to them about this and those that do will not do so in much detail.  There maybe a few more young adults walking around confused as to who all these people are being interview on the TV, or a lot asking "Why are the soaps not on"? 

Instead David Cameron appears to be standing there whilst 6 others have an argument!

 

If you are one of these adults or you know a teen who could do with a little guidance then look no further! I am going to try and remain neutral and impartial during this post, as I have with my daughter Ashleigh when discussing the up and coming election with her!

The first thing is for you to check is are you registered to vote, if you have not already done this then chances are you are not, but don't worry, at the moment its not to late, you have until 20th April (so not long) to do so, good news it can all be done on line.  You will need to provide your personal information including your national insurance number so have this to hand. Click below

Register to vote now

Ok so you have now registered, well done! The next thing is to be able to find out who is standing in your local area, do you know?   If I am honest I struggled initially to find out who was standing in my local area, apart from Labour and the Conservatives I have seen nobody else campaigning which is a shame but is a sign of the times! 

Unbelievably there is no official website to find out this information from what I can see, but a group has pulled together this site, which details who is standing in which area.

Who can I vote for?

So you have now registered to vote, and you now know who is available to vote for in your area, so the big questions is who should you vote for?  Now if you ask people they will no doubt give you their view and their spin on why x is better than y, but I am a firm believer that you should make up your own mind.

Now if you have been shying away from the Leaders Debates, I recommend you go back and watch them just for some context.  They are on BBC iPlayer

The line up (in Lego, from left): Natalie Bennett of the Green Party, Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems, Nigel Farage of Ukip, Ed Miliband of Labour, Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP and Tory leader David Cameron     Photo: Cavendish Press / Telegraph

The line up (in Lego, from left): Natalie Bennett of the Green Party, Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems, Nigel Farage of Ukip, Ed Miliband of Labour, Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP and Tory leader David Cameron Photo: Cavendish Press / Telegraph

ITV Leaders Debate

If you have been ignoring anything on the news or websites then I highly recommend having a look at voteforpolicies.org.uk, this site is an independent site run by volunteers to help increase participation in elections.

The site will run your through a number of statements from the parties based upon their policies at the end it will show you which parties you agree with and will give you a guide as to the party that appeals to you! 

Take the survey!

Credit: mirror.co.uk

Credit: mirror.co.uk

I would then suggest you reach out to those standing and if you have questions ask them?  The point to remember is policies from parties are kind of like a wish list of what they would like to do and are not what they will actually do should they get into power!

Don't forget those people wanting your votes in the whole are more media savvy and will be on social media so go and follow them, see what they are talking about.  At the end of the date if you vote for them and they win an then don't do once in power what the said they were going to do you will have a better understanding and be able to hold them to account and challenge them.  

Your MP's are there to act on your behalf, don't be afraid to make them work for it......

 

Dad feels guilty....

Guilt.... its such an easy word to say that means so much, I am sure this is something a lot of dad's (and mum's) go through but it is something I have felt a lot of the last month or so! 

Work is busy (stupidly so some days) and I am travelling around here there and everywhere, but today it really hit home!  I was in a meeting with a client, not talking about work but family life etc and they asked how old my kids are!   Which technically I only have one kid now as the other is now a fully fledged adult! The other is 10 and I have no idea where those years have gone.

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Talking with your teens about social media!

I am a self confessed geek, whether it be new technology or social media, I like to be up to speed with this, and to be honest the latter helps when it comes to the kids.

All kids want a mobile phone, tablet etc for continual access to the internet, but how many of you talk to your kids about how to use social media and what the impact of posting something on line can be?

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Making your Mac safer for children...

I recently attended a chat with Mediocre Mum and Tony Anscombe from AVG, this was generally about how our children interact with the internet, as well as how to keep them save when online.

Now recently the 9 year old was lucky enough to get an iPad for Christmas, and the teenager has had a mobile phone for a few years.  It certainly did make me think about how they use their devices and what they have access to.  

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Is this the future of parenting?

You may have seen my previous post about my first piece of wearable tech, however listening to the recent guardian tech weekly podcast, could your kids soon be wearing some tech to help you track them?

Anyone with a smart phone can already track friends (with their permission) with certain apps, for example Find Friends on the iPhone.  

However would you go a stage further and get your child to wear a watch size device that enables them to be tracked and contacted if need be?

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Trouble getting your kids to brush their teeth?

As with most parents sometimes it is a battle to get the 9 year old to brush her teeth.

She is usually pretty good, however when she is tired etc it is often a battle! Now as you will know if you listened to my previous blog post, she received a lovely new iPad Mini for christmas.  Whilst setting up this iPad and making sure the app store was working correctly, I noticed this lovely little app called Aquafresh Brush Time.

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