Posts tagged “children”

Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?!

Joan Acocella looks at a a few books about child-rearing and explores the zeitgeist through the lens of our current parenting practices. The piece looks at the complex relationship between shifting behaviors, norms, and pressures, the products and services that emerge to serve them, and the medium- and long-term societal consequences. Fascinating stuff.

When the student goes off to college, overparenting need not stop. Many mothers and fathers, or their office assistants, edit their children’s term papers by e-mail. They also give them cell phones equipped with G.P.S. monitors, in order to track their movements. In Marano’s eyes, the cell phone, by allowing children to consult with their parents over any problem, any decision, any “flicker of experience,” has become the foremost technological adjunct of overparenting.

Students provided with such benefits may study harder and, upon graduation, land a fancy job. On the other hand, they may join the ranks of the “boomerang children,” who move straight back home. A recent survey found that fifty-five per cent of American men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four, and fourteen per cent between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four, live with their parents. Among the reasons cited are the high cost of housing, heavy competition for good jobs, and the burden of repaying college loans, but another factor may be sheer habit, even desire. Marano and others believe that, while hovering parents say that their goal is to launch the child into the world successfully, the truth lies deeper, in some dark dependency, some transfer of the parent’s identity to the child.

ChittahChattah Quickies

The Tat That Brings Kids Back!

Safety Tat is a product based on the parental practice of writing a phone number inside a diaper or on a backpack.

It can happen anywhere-at an amusement park, zoo, school field trip, or even your local shopping mall. Your attention shifts for a moment, and suddenly your child or loved one has wandered out of sight.

So put the odds in your favor for a safe return, with SafetyTat. Designed by a graphics professional and Mom of three kids, SafetyTat is a fun and colorful kids temporary safety tattoo that’s uniquely personalized with your cell phone number.


See also Forehead Advertising.

Thanks, CPT!

Flat Daddy revisited

Last year, I blogged about Flat Daddy (a full-size cardboard-mounted photo of a deployed military family member, providing a form of tangible substitute). Now, a woman details her own family’s struggle with the challenge deployment has brought, and the experience with Flat Daddy.

But much of the time we simply keep moving forward as if there’s no hole in our family. It’s sheer pretense, as flimsy as a tissue, and I’m not sure how long it’s sustainable – or if it will get us through the long days ahead.

But it’s better than pretending a smiling cutout loves us back.

The end of tagging

Relax, information architects and folksonomists, this story won’t stop your quest to crowdsourcingly identify attributes of every virtual and physical artifact. It’s the other kind of tag that’s a problem now.

Tag is now banned from the playground of Willett Elementary School in Attleboro. Touch football, dodgeball and all other unsupervised chasing games have also been taken out of play.
The ban is setting the stage for a schoolyard knock-down-drag-out between parents, some who believe the playground police have gone too far by calling a time out on the time-honored children’s play, and others who feel that it’s about time the whistle was blown on these competitive games.
The rule was championed by second-year principal Gaylene Heppe. She claims the rule is nothing new. It is part of a broader playground rule that has been in effect for five years banning hitting and inappropriate touching.
Willett Elementary School joins a growing list of schools across the country where kindergarten cops have taken aim at classic children’s games, citing the risk of injury and litigation. Cities like Charleston, S.C., tackled touch football, while Spokane, Wash., and Cheyenne, Wyo., ousted good old-fashioned tag from their schools.

Cottonelle dumps

Spotted on BoingBoing is this special toilet paper just for kids. It’s printed with a puppy paw path that spans five sheets (and then begins again). It’s portion control for toilet paper, presumably there is a need to have kids learn how much to use? I’m a bit confused as to the actual need, and how this solves it. Wouldn’t the amount needed depend on what is being wiped? And who is being wiped?

I’d guess you’d want to teach kids to wipe until they are done – to pay attention to the bodily and other cues (visual?) to ensure that the hygiene need has been handled. Making it such an inflexible system doesn’t teach anyone anything!

And if you use a different amount than five sheets, ever, then the system breaks until you sync up back to sheet zero with the happy puppy. A training system that is intolerant of (highly likely) user error is not a good training system.

You must always use five and only five sheets. Regardless of what’s going on with your po-po! Cottonelle has forgotten that they work for us, not the other way around.

And their site includes this lovely FAQ (which is such as misnomer, since these are not likely to be frequently-asked-questions, but rather info they wish to convey) that suggests some product problems besides the obvious usability failures.

Why is my toilet paper printed on the inside? How do I fix this?

The good news is that this is an easy fix. The toilet paper isn’t actually printed on the inside. What’s happened is that the two plies have become separated, and the inside ply is wrapped around the outside of your roll (you’ll probably also notice that the perforations on the two plies don’t line up). To fix, first make sure your toilet paper is positioned so that it unrolls from the spindle with the sheets coming over the top. Next, steady the roll so it does not move in the spindle. Take the top ply (make sure you are only handling one ply) and unwrap it behind the roll. The print should now appear on the outside, as intended, and the bottom ply should now be longer that the top ply. Tear off the excess bottom plies (approximately 3) and you are ready to go.

and When I tear the toilet paper, the perforations on the two plies do not line up? How do I fix this? which offers the identical answer.

Now we’re taking on toilet paper maintenance tasks? Who the hell wants to fix their toilet paper? This is way too much work and this company hasn’t a clue about addressing real people’s needs.

Baby and toddler education technology – is it bunk?

The New York Times does a great cover story about all the technology products that make strong and unsubstantiated claims about how much smarter they’ll make your baby.

New media products for babies, toddlers and preschoolers began flooding the market in the late 1990’s, starting with video series like “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby.” But now, the young children’s market has exploded into a host of new and more elaborate electronics for pre-schoolers, including video game consoles like the V.Smile and handheld game systems like the Leapster, all marketed as educational.

Despite the commercial success, though, a report released yesterday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “A Teacher in the Living Room? Educational Media for Babies, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers,” indicates there is little understanding of how the new media affect young children – and almost no research to support the idea that they are educational.

“The market is expanding rapidly, with all kinds of brand-new product lines for little kids,” said Vicky Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Foundation. “But the research hasn’t advanced much. There really isn’t any outcomes-based research on these kinds of products and their effects on young children, and there doesn’t seem to be any theoretical basis for saying that kids under 2 can learn from media.

In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended no screen time at all for babies under 2, out of concern that the increasing use of media might displace human interaction and impede the crucially important brain growth and development of a baby’s first two years. But it is a recommendation that parents routinely ignore. According to Kaiser, babies 6 months to 3 years old spend, on average, an hour a day watching TV and 47 minutes a day on other screen media, like videos, computers and video games.

Others have less restrained marketing: The “Brainy Baby – Left Brain” package has a cover featuring a cartoon baby with a thought balloon saying, “2 + 2 = 4” and promises that it will inspire logical thinking and “teach your child about language and logic, patterns and sequencing, analyzing details and more.”

“There’s nothing that shows it helps, but there’s nothing that shows it’s does harm, either,” said Marcia Grimsley, senior producer of “Brainy Baby” videos.

Incredulous italics mine, of course.


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