Image of vivid painting by Dublin Artist, Neil Douglas, at abstracteffectsgreetingcards.com. Courtesy of the Artist.
YOUNGSTERS ARE AT RISK
SMARTPHONES & ONLINE!!
27 February 2018 Update
Iseult Catherine O'Brien
Montessori Teacher & Supervisor | Volunteer Tutor with Second Level Students |
A Member of The Tutors' Association
I have been banging on for a few years about the dangers of over-use, and
prolonged late night use, of blue light emitting devices, and the damage caused to young people's health,
academic achievements, long-term cognitive and memory problems, plus the difficulties that follow from not being able to live up to their own and their families' expectations.
This concern has been compounded by
the growing evidence I've seen around me, have discussed at length with a therapist, and heard from people I know who work with young people, that online gambling has got to an extremely dangerous level with
young people - and with children also involved.
has to wonder how children can afford such a habit?
HORAN JAILED FOR COERCING GIRLS TO SEND SEXUALLY GRAPHIC PICTURES
Sometimes a court case comes along and a whole nation may be held transfixed in horror at the terrifying experiences of the children involved, and the realisation amongst many
parents, guardians, carers, and teachers, that they really do not know what's going on in the lives of their children, and that many do not understand the reach of a smartphone or Tablet, and other such devices.
Dublin man’s computer had recorded
Skype calls between him and
two nine-year-old girls
Dublin man who possessed thousands of child pornography images and coerced young girls to send him sexually graphic pictures and videos of themselves has been jailed for seven and a half years.
Matthew Horan (26) used Skype, Snapchat, Instagram and Kik, an anonymous instant messaging application, to send
and receive child porn images from six identified child users in Ireland and nine unknown users around the world.
A forensic examination of Horan’s computer uncovered recorded Skype calls between him and two nine-year-old-girls, both individually and together. The recordings
included footage of these girls engaging in graphic sexual acts.
Horan also took part in sexually explicit text conversations with the girls, during which there was an exchange of photos.
Dublin Circuit Criminal
Court heard Horan would use Kik to share child porn images and videos with unidentified users around the world, most of whom claimed to be young teenagers.
He threatened to share an 11-year-old girl’s nude images to her social media accounts
if she didn’t send him more graphic photos.
In the text exchange between them, this girl repeatedly
told Horan she would kill herself. He then continued to coerce her to send more images, the court heard.
Horan pleaded guilty to a count each of sexually exploiting two girls within the State on dates between April 1st and November 23rd, 2014.
He pleaded guilty to two more counts of sexually exploiting a child and one count of distributing child
pornography on dates in 2015. He further pleaded guilty to possessing child porn at his address on July 11th, 2015.
He pleaded guilty to three further counts of sexually exploiting female children through Snapchat and Instagram in the State on dates between May 21st, 2015 and July 7th, 2016.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing child porn on a Sony mobile phone at his home on July 7th, 2016. He has no previous convictions.
Judge Nolan ... said ... "the crimes were all committed for Horan’s indulgence and pleasure
and Horan had exploited children in a most horrible way." He said Horan’s actions would have long-term effects on the victims.
“He knew what he was doing was wrong. He understood the damage and yet he didn’t stop what he was doing,” he said.
[All text in italics is copied from The Irish Times online Articles. Colouring of text and headings was added by me, ICOB.]
The above are elements of the coverage of the trial I hope would be of general use to children, young people, and the adults in their lives, as an introduction to the topic of staying safe
online, on Tablets, smartphones and other devices.
I suggest that all parents, guardians, carers (PGCs), and any adults who play a large part in children's, youngsters' and young adults'
lives might read ALL the various articles listed in this Post. If a child or young teenager has heard of the case, and wants to know more, reading through the articles together would be useful for
both the adult and the child or young person.
I suggest the adult should read through first, checking the meanings of any technical terms,
or any everyday terms that had never seemed so scary previously. The adult would feel more confident about being able to answer possible questions. Once armed with information, I believe the PGCs, or significant
adults, should start a conversation at a quiet, relaxed time, about the court case, asking if the youngster has heard anything about it.
It may be huge in Ireland currently, but people overseas
will be unaware of this court case. While bearing in mind that this case focused on young girls, and that boys are equally at risk, I suggest putting these horrible experiences to a positive use, as the basis
for study by families, classes, and all students, to check that everyone knows what to look out for, and what to do if there is a fear that personal information has passed to another.
The situation of the young girls would bring both empathy and determination out in children, youngsters, and young
people. No-one would want to go through their experiences, and they are easy to imagine.
I believe having prepared a child by saying what you are about to read with him or her is upsetting, but very important to know about - the
adult should just jump in, and trust to his or her relationship with the child, and that any worried questions shall be answered.
Take your time. Take opportunities to ask if he or she understands what has happened so far. It doesn't have to be done all
in one evening - it's more important that all the information available and required is mined.
Be ready to answer questions over weeks and maybe months. That would be a very positive sign. This is a very big subject, and realisation will hit the young in sudden moment, and after consideration.
Those are the times when question might be waiting to be asked. We need to stay alert, and ask if there are any questions or suggestions the child or young person wants to put.
It's easy to become complacent, thinking one knows what's going on. This story
brings out all the nurturing and fear in any adult.
worry If something comes up that you, the adult, hasn't checked - you should just say straight out, that ~
'I don't understand that,
but we'll find out the meaning. We're both learning a good deal of new and really important information because of the bravery of those girls - and pretending we know something when we don't, is not good for either of us. Information is Power!'
It's a truly shocking case, and sometimes we all need a jolt to get motivated.
To help us be clear what devices we need
to consider in relation to our children's and young people's welfare, I list below the devices included in The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Australian Child Health Poll
of 21 June 2017. The Poll is covered in detail below.
A screen-based device is
defined as a television, computer, laptop, gaming console, iPhone, Smartphone, iPad and other Tablet.
Given details reported during his court case of the devices and apps used by Matthew Horan, I'm adding Skype, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, and
mobile phones to the list, hoping to give as broad a sweep of devices and software as I can. Any and all suggestions would be welcome. Information on what they are and what they are used for would be very helpful.
Grainne Long, chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), said parents must set boundaries and structures for their children’s internet use. She also said if they (the parents) were uncertain
about the technology being used, they should call into stores where staff can advise them.
I think Ms Long's is an excellent suggestion. We could expand it to ringing
the supplier of our devices, and arranging to go into the shop(s) with the whole family's devices, as relevant, with everyone included - all the children, youngsters,
young adults, and the PGCs in the house, their help could bring a great deal of clarity. The technicians in the shop would know where all the switches for turning off
inappropriate film, music videos, and given the current zeitgeist they would be keen to make suggestions. Most assistants working in these shops are young people, and
they are usually happy to share their information, and to help adults learn how to be in charge of the family's devices. They could show apps, on request, that is age inappropriate or actually adult material. I know I'd be very relieved
to be helped out by someone working in an electronic goods shop, or a shop supplying all kinds of phones. We are creatures of habit, and are inclined to stick to the same shop(s) if it has / they have worked out well previously.
Outside the court, Det Supt Declan Daly said this case was a “timely reminder of the dangers that can occur on the internet and the need for parents to be vigilant of their children’s internet use”.
He said it was “exceptionally dangerous” for children to share images online, and that children should never agree to meet any person they encountered via
He said if images have been shared already, Gardaí recommend that children should not share
any more images, stop all communication and tell a parent or appropriate adult.
“They should preserve the
evidence and not delete anything, and they should report the matter to gardaí,” he said.
Gardaí WARN CHILDREN OF EXCEPTIONAL
DANGER OF SHARING ONLINE
Gardaí have issued a strong warning to parents and children about dangers that can face them on the internet.
Photograph: Mark Steadman/Rollingnews.ie
Gardaí [An Garda Síochána - the National Police Force of the Republic of Ireland] involved in the Matthew
Horan investigation have issued a strong warning to parents and children about dangers that can face them on the internet.
Speaking to the media outside the Criminal Courts of
Justice in Dublin, Det Supt Declan Daly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said,
“Today serves as a timely reminder of the potential dangers that can occur on the internet.
“It also serves as a reminder for us all of the need for parents in particular to be vigilant of the internet use regarding their children” and serves “as a reminder for children
themselves to be aware of the dangers that are on the internet.”
Flanked by colleague Det Garda David Connolly, and Det Sgt Maeve O’Sullivan of the Clondalkin Division of the Protective Services Unit, he repeated
what he described as “the Garda’s key message on internet safety for children”.
This emphasised that it is exceptionally dangerous to share images online. “It is very, very dangerous
and children should never arrange or agree to meet any person on the internet.”
If images were shared or if an approach is made on the internet to children, gardaí recommended, “Firstly, what they should do is not share any more images.
They should stop all communication. They should tell a parent or an appropriate adult. They should preserve the evidence and not delete anything, and they should report the matter to An Garda Síochána,” he said.
Families, he said, “can go through a significant amount of stress and pain when images are shared online and
we’d like to prevent that happening any further families.”
commended all gardaí involved in the investigation, “in particular the gardaí attached to Clondalkin Detective Service Units, for their good and diligent work on this difficult case.
“I would also like to thank the victims and their families in this case and in other cases who have taken the brave step forward and given us valuable assistance, because without their assistance it certainly
would be very, very difficult to get such results as we’ve had today,” he said.
[All text in italics is copied from the Irish Times online Articles. The colouring of text and headings were added
PARENTS NEED TO
MONITOR THEIR CHILDREN'S INTERNET USE, SAYS ISPCC
[Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children]
GRAINNE LONG SAYS PARENTS MUST SET BOUNDARIES AND STRUCTURES FOR INTERNET USE
Reporter: Mark Hilliard
Children’s advocates have stressed the need for parents to monitor their children’s internet use and establish an environment in which young people can seek
help if they are approached by predators.
after the sentencing of Matthew Horan on Friday to a nine and a half year term, following
his exploitation of two nine-year-old girls, Grainne Long, chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), said parents must set boundaries and structures for their children’s internet use.
“They need to look at the amount of time their children are online, what age they start going online and what they are watching,” she told RTÉ’s 'News
to sit down and talk through the issues with their children, she said if they were uncertain about the technology being used, they should call into stores where staff can advise them.
“They key point is this is a solvable problem,”
Ms Long said there were “a huge amount of things” the Government and State could
do such as adopting a Cyber Safety strategy.
plans for a Digital Safety Commission and called for additional
powers for Gardaí such as the power to seize phones similar to drug seizure powers.
Áine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council primary, said it is difficult
for parents to keep up with different apps and online platforms but focusing on these individually is not necessarily the answer.
The threat of adults seeking to abuse vulnerable children has existed since before technology, she said, and “we need to take the learning from that [AND
APPLY] to the online life of the child as well”.
“What will keep children safe is to empower them to do things - one of the things that
is always common is that children haven’t been able to tell anyone about it,” she told The Irish Times.
[All text in italics is copied from the Irish Times online Articles. Any colouring and underlining of
text and headings, and enlarging of headlines were added by me, ICOB.]
Public Fury Over Online Abuse Must Push Big Tech to Act
Is proposed Digital Safety Commissioner role merely manoeuvring on a hot-topic issue?
Parents already feel outpaced by their children’s ability to use the internet, and are worried by regular media reports
of cyberbullying. File photograph: iStockPhoto
Minister for Communications Denis Naughten’s
statement of intent to appoint a Digital Safety Commissioner – a new statutory role which would involve monitoring and enforcing child online safety – would, in light of current events,
Parents clearly already feel outpaced
by their children’s ability to use the internet, and are worried by regular media reports of cyberbullying.
This week, parents had to endure hearing
deeply disturbing evidence of predatory online exploitation as Matthew Horan (26) was sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty
to using online platforms – Skype, Snapchat, Kik
and Instagram – to approach and groom minors.
As the appalling case dominated news cycles, and politicians and pundits argued over whether Ireland’s
formal digital age of consent (the age from which it is legal for data controllers to hold data gathered from minors) was too low at 13, many individuals and organisations, including Grainne
Long, chief executive of the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), came out in support of Naughten’s proposal.
The idea for the
digital safety role was first floated in a 2016
report from the Law Reform Commission on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety. With revenge porn and online bullying much in the news, the report’s focus was broadly on
harmful communications and internet safety for adults, as well as children.
Australian position was vociferously opposed by internet companies, which expressed alarm that a
single person effectively could act as an online content censor, judge and jury.
The proposed Irish role could be modelled on positions created in New Zealand and Australia, according
to Naughten. Australia’s eSafety Commissioner was appointed in 2015, investigates complaints and can fine online operators up to AUS$17,000 (€11,000) per day for failing to comply with its demands.
At the time, the Australian position was vociferously opposed by internet companies, which expressed
alarm that a single person effectively could act as an online content censor, judge and jury.
The Irish role, as sketched out in the Law Reform report, would have sweeping oversight, “broadly to cover intermediary service providers, internet service providers, internet intermediaries, online
intermediaries, online service providers, search engines, social media platforms and websites and telecommunications undertakings”, notes Daniel
Harrington, a lawyer with AL Goodbody, in a blog post this week.
With the ability to judge content, and issue and enforce content-takedown notices to internet and telecommunications companies, the Commissioner could come into conflict with the EU eCommerce Directive, notes Harrington.
Other legal experts said the position might also run afoul of incoming ePrivacy legislation, or overlap into the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s (DPC) role.
However, a spokesperson for the office of the DPC said that insofar as the role has been discussed, the DPC would not see any conflict
because each role would have a different focus.
But is such an Office actually needed, or merely political manoeuvring on an issue
likely to gain voter support?
Certainly, little has been done since the Office was initially proposed 18 months ago. And some
formal submissions to the Law Reform Commission argued at the time that a specialist body with statutory powers was not needed, because existing laws and the courts could and should handle such cases.
In a submission, Digital Rights Ireland (DRI) wrote that
“cyber-harassment and other harmful cyber activity affecting personal safety, privacy and reputation do not require, for their resolution, any specialist technical expertise. These are offences against the safety,
privacy and reputation of the individual, as capable of being carried out online as off. Accordingly, the only appropriate expert body to adjudicate such claims is a court of law.”
Microsoft, which owns message and telephony service Skype,
said the companies have worked towards better online safety for many years.
Both the DRI submission in 2016,
and Harrington in his blog post this week, also question whether Ireland’s reputation as a good location for business might suffer, were a new layer of Irish internet and communications regulation to be imposed.
Close to Meaningless
Yet internet and technology companies must certainly do better. A London School of Economics professor, working with a board
member for the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, last year found Instagram’s age
controls to be close to meaningless.
Still, companies are aware of growing public opprobrium, and many aim to improve services. Microsoft, which owns message
and telephony service Skype, said the companies have worked towards better online safety for many years.
“Skype and Microsoft have a
strong commitment to helping children stay safe online, and we continue to collaborate with advocates, industry partners and governments worldwide to develop solutions and promote effective public policy,” Microsoft
said in a statement.
Would a Digital Safety Commissioner accelerate improvements and set a rigorous example of enforcement, though? If the Australian office serves as any indication of the need for such a role, the eSafety
Commissioner there received nearly 12,000 complaints in its first 12 months of operation – but hadn’t fined anybody.
[All underlining and colouring of text and headlines were added by me, ICOB.]
Also very dangerous, to the detriment of mostly early teenage boys
to young men, and then girls and young women, is how they may come to view and compare themselves, and other young people, as a consequence of now frequent visits by large numbers of 13-17 year old boys / young men to pornography sites.
start watching at around 11-12 years of age.
I knew Richie Sadlier was due to start a monthly Column in the Health Section of The Irish Times. The headline below could not have been more timely,
and the article is a must-read for all parents, guardians, and carers, teachers, and anyone who works with young people, or who happens to be in their company regularly.
"Richie Sadlier: Talking with teenage boys about porn,
drink and suicide
The psychotherapist and former pro soccer player kicks off a new monthly health column in The Irish Times."
Go to www.irishtimes.com, to find his Column; he is also available on Facebook and Twitter. This is exactly what teenage boys, young men need and, of course, girls and young women also.
status boys and young men learn, through watching pornography, to think of as appropriate to women and girls - their perceived lack of personal integrity - and a presumption of their
availability - are likely to cause confusion at the very least, in the REAL world, and certainly likely to cause offence and, possibly, result in violent incidents.
Their idea of consent is very confused. They think they have to be told "No!" for consent to be denied.
Someone unconscious drunk or on drugs cannot say "No!", and that lack of simplicity can lead to very strange, unhappy, and dangerous misconceptions.
Richie Sadlier was interviewed on the RTÉ 1 television
programme, the Ray D'Arcy Show, on Saturday 06 January last: Season 2017, Episode 13.
Go to https://www.rte.ie to search for the programme from abroad.
Go to https://www.rte.ie/player/gb/show/the-ray-darcy-show-30003587/10825024/,
to view it within the Republic of Ireland.
Please don't think your brother, son or nephew, would never do this kind of thing!
All young people are curious.
This is a very warped way to learn
about personal relationships.
The Article below is quoted from The Irish Times of Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 07:00, Roe McDermott's Column.
LIFE & STYLE - Health & Family - Parenting
"How do I talk to my teenage sons about pornography?"
want to ignore the issue but I’ve no idea how I’m supposed to raise the topic."
"Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 07:00, The Irish Times
"Having these conversations with your children isn’t going to just teach them about
pornography; they’re going to teach your children how to be mindful, critically engaged, empathetic, and self-aware."
"I’m the mother of two boys, ages 13 and 15. I’m constantly reading and hearing about how young men are exposed to pornography at a young age, and how it causes issues regarding how they
view sex and women. I don’t want to ignore the issue but I have no idea how I’m supposed to raise the topic with my sons, or what indeed I should say. Do you have any advice on
how to tackle this?"
"You’re right to want to address pornography with your sons. Too
many parents are aware of the potentially damaging messages that young people can receive from pornography, but refuse to open up a dialogue with their children about it. It’s vital to teach your children that sex and sexuality aren’t shameful and – like anything else – they are allowed ask questions about it, in order
"Of course, sometimes you won’t
have all the answers, but it’s then that you can turn to trusted educational resources – together. Being part of your children’s education process around sex
means that not only are you aware of what they’re learning, you’re also showing them that in your home, education
and information are empowering forces.
"By remaining silent and refusing to acknowledge the existence of pornography, you’d be teaching
them not to talk about sex, not to ask questions, not to communicate about it. You’d be teaching them that your embarrassment is more important than their education and empowerment. You’d
be teaching them that sex is uncomfortable, and that that discomfort trumps everything else, including their wellbeing."
Roe McDermott is a writer and Fulbright scholar with
an MA in sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. She is currently undertaking a PhD in gendered and sexual citizenship at the Open University and Oxford.
and highlighting of text and headings, use of italics and enlarged headings, were added by me, ICOB.]
I found the following on the Site, Teacher Training and Education,
on LinkedIn; introduced by Adrian Sladdin, Director of Education at Young Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), it gives very helpful information for families which can be
found at the address http://www.ygam.org/.
The details and help with the real and widespread problem of our youngsters and young people gambling is available at the end of this Post. We need to make sure our information is
local to us.
REALLY NEED TO FIND OUT ABOUT THIS.
Televisions, Computers, Laptops, iPads,
Kindles, Smartphones, Tablets,
/ Cell phones, etc
Below, I list and give brief outline of
studies, digests of reports, and the key findings of some reports. I have been warning about these matters for quite some time, and I'm glad to be able to bring together outlines of some work, one in full, plus
links to everything I've been able to find.
I hope that this can be a two-way communication, for the benefit of many, if you know of current studies or anything just publised, I should be keen and grateful to hear about them.
The Evidence is mounting: please see the digest of the Study
"Decline in Teen Mental Health Attributed to Late Night Stimulation"
By Dr Ramesh Manocha
Links to the Study are given under the Section below.
time: What’s happening in our homes?
see the important findings of the above titled
Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne,
Australian Child Health Poll of 21 June 2017.
Some of the Key Findings are listed at the end of this Post.
INFORMATION on ON-LINE GAMBLING &
and YOUNG PEOPLE
A full Generation
Next article is quoted below, which gives a fascinating insight on personal development, experiencing emotions, and giving space to both, in a world full of people using their devices.
Please See LUKE
Culhane's video on YouTube entitled
'Cyber Bullying: Create No Hate'
which went viral. Luke's video recounts his own experience of being bullied on-line.
Every PGC, and teacher, needs to make themselves knowledgeable about this pernicious
type of bullying. PGCs have to take on the responsibility of learning about cyber-bullying, and then make sure their offspring also know about it, and know they should tell as soon as anything
nasty happens on-line.
Please see below.
THE BLUE-VIOLET ELEMENT OF THE LIGHT SPECTRUM
The BLUE-VIOLET LIGHT which helps us wake naturally, and which is responsible for the increased mental
activity in daylight hours, especially in Spring and Summer, and which is beneficial in concentrating on work and study, can also cause us problems. Now, we are looking at dark mornings and long dark evenings, with few hours of daylight.
We get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight, and many people are unaware that they should use a supplement during the dark days.
WORKING LATE WITH A COMPUTER SCREEN
If, on a regular basis, you are staying late at work, college, or school, to work on a
computer, or are bringing work home to be done on a personal computer, you are running the risk of upsetting your sleep pattern, causing exhaustion and,
possibly, long-term sleep deprivation.
IT IS NECESSARY to make a conscious effort to blink at speed and at
frequent intervals while using a computer, as we actually blink less frequently while looking at a screen.
Using an intensive lubricating eye care product, which is both phosphate and preservative-free, is helpful for avoiding dry, itchy eyes.
'Dry eye' is
a frequent, itchy, and very irritating result of prolonged computer use, and which can lead to an eye infection, resulting from excessive rubbing and scratching of the eyeball, especially when tired.
If you bring any kind of computer-based work home, there can be a notion that working surrounded by one's own things, is working in a more relaxed environment and, so, is less stressful.
However, we fool ourselves!
Some evenings, work is spasmodic due to continual
interruptions; sometimes, we get distracted by household chores, and start the work much later than intended.
HOPEFULNESS, we may plan to work for a specific period of time, at the end of which we shall cease, finished or not. That
is never how it works out! We work hour after hour, with the comfort in the back of the mind that the bed is close by. Unfortunately, frequently, we realize suddenly it is 2.00 am or 3.00 am, or later. Panic stations! - save the work on the computer, brush the teeth, into bed pronto!
Then, one lies in bed - in the dark and quiet, tossing and turning,
growing more frustrated, the head is racing, and there is no way of relaxing. This can become distressing if it happens on a regular basis.
AWAY FROM THE GLARE of the screen, at a minimum, it will take at least ONE FULL HOUR for the synapses in the brain to quieten down sufficiently
to be able to relax and, eventually, hopefully, to sleep.
Getting into such a habit can lead to chronic exhaustion, making
one less efficient, and so perpetuating the unhealthy practise.
This situation, if not dealt with, can lead to a considerable
period of time off work, or off school / college, for stress related illnesses, becoming seriously run
down, and exhausted due to sleep deprivation.
THIS HAS BECOME A REALLY SERIOUS PROBLEM FOR MANY PEOPLE, SOME OF WHOM HAVE NOT YET REALISED
YOUNG PEOPLE, TEENAGERS, YOUNGSTERS,
AND NOTICING HABITS
Even though we came to the end of the
first and longest term of the academic year at the Christmas / New Year break, many PGCs are surprized that although their students had been back in the education cycle for quite some time, they still
need 'support' and frequent urgings getting into a good sleep / awake balance, in order that they can get
up in the mornings to work to their optimum, and care for their mental and physical health.
After a Summer
of texting friends, rather than going out to meet up with a group of friends, and never having a real good, relaxed chat, all together, some young people found being surrounded by classmates,
and many other people, surprizingly difficult.
This problem with interaction can carry on through the whole school term and include the Christmas Break if they have been keeping up
with longterm online gaming, gambling, meeting new people - sometimes on porn sites, which often starts off by mistake, but are frequently revisited.
All of this blue light device activity can make actually meeting people
All of us who have family
living very far away are conscious of how much easier communication is nowadays with Skype, the internet and other platforms, compared to what it was like for families, even twenty years ago. However, grandparents will still say, although it is lovely to hear the children's voices, and see their faces, it is JUST NOT the same as HUMAN CONTACT. And
they are right.
People lose a great deal of the subtleties of communication, when the micro-gestures, and
'tells' are lost while using electronic devices. We miss the little wince that may indicate a friend is unhappy or worried. We cannot take someone's hand and ask what's
People who have got out of the habit of meeting up with friends or visiting family easily and frequently, may find it especially difficult
to get back into the situation of being among large groups of people, such as at Christmas or New Year parties, Mid-Term Breaks, Spring Break and Easter Holidays. This isolation from one's friends,
and the world in general, can happen very quickly, and it is not easy to overcome.
Some people find going out the front door a HUGE problem, and will change clothes a few times, anything to avoid going out the door. All breaks from school / college / university are very good times for PGCs, and the family in general, to pay attention
to the social lives, and possible lack of activities, of youngsters, teenagers, and young people in the family.
Are they going out to call on friends and family?
Do they accept invitations readily and happily, looking forward to dressing up and going out?
Do they think of any excuse not to go out?
Do they just see a couple of close friends in the bedroom, and never go visiting?
At what time of day do they first appear, and do they seem especially
tired and bleary-eyed?
PEOPLE ARE VERY SOCIAL ANIMALS. We are hardwired to gather in groups, and we are tactile.
This seemingly anti-social behaviour can be put down to teenage mood swings, but
it is much more serious than that.
If we have not seen friends for a while, we will have missed out on many of the little strengthenings of connections that are constantly renewed when
meeting up or visiting.
QUICKLY, we can become nervous of going out, replying only on email, calls, and text, to keep up communications. These are fine for short term communication ~ but THEY DO NOT fill
the gap we need filled by SOCIAL INTERACTION WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
If young people get into the habit of watching downloads or gaming during
school holidays for long periods, getting back into the rhythm of rising on time to get to school / college, can be AN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT problem to overcome. If they
didn't get back into a sleeping regime before starting back, it can be done, but it is not easy.
Young people can get VERY cranky as they are trying to work and manage on too little sleep while their
proper balance is being sought.
brain does not mature until around 25 years, up to 30 years of age. To develop FULLY, the brain requires good quality, sustained, sleep.
This is A Simple Fact We
No Matter How We May Wish To.
need to help our students get up on time NOW, even though already back in study, as they need to get into a sleep / awake balance, so they may be able to get up on time as soon as possible.
This is not going to be easy for anyone in the family.
In children and young people, that means nine to ten hours sleep a night.
As I have been told by teachers / tutors at all levels, youngsters and young people frequently arrive in school / college / university, take off the coat, sit at
the desk, AND promptly fall asleep.
These children and young people are
OFTEN, their families are unaware of nighttime activities. If a young person waits until everyone goes to bed, and then turns on his or her devices, there would not be anyone to
see a possible tell-tale light shining from under the bedroom door.
OFTEN, it only comes to light during breaks from school or college, when they are asleep all day, and awake all night.
GAMING is very popular, especially with boys and
young men. Once a serious game starts, all notion of time is lost, the game is everything.
GAMBLING online has become a VERY DANGEROUS habit for many youngsters, and even children.
can become a habit very quickly. The incorrect date of birth entered, making one seem over 18 or 21 years, depending on the Rules of the online gambling company and local laws, and youngsters are free to gamble.
I have yet to hear of an online gambling company checking back fully to ensure that their new customer is indeed of an age to gamble legally, and is the legal holder of the credit card being used.
Who is legally responsible for the possibly colossal credit card bills of under-age gamblers? Guess!!
Young people and down to quite young children, frequently have many electronic devices in their bedrooms. Young people and teenagers may be watching television, DVDs,
YouTube, sports coverage, pornography, downloads, and gaming.
Inadvertently, anyone can find themselves on a sordid, sex site.
Pornography sites are being
used more often by young men, and boys of early to mid teens, on a regular basis - they usually start viewing at 11-12 years of age.
Young children may be viewing cartoons, frequently as a type of electronic 'bedtime story'; what else are they watching?
PGCs KNOW just how many hours daily their children spend on their computers or using smart phones?
ARE THEY AWARE of the possible serious negative health consequences?
This isolation and lack of
personal interaction can lead to depression. This can be difficult to recognise, as knowing what came first is difficult to ascertain. Everything should be done to get a young person to visit
his or her GP.
CHILD CRISIS ARIZONA
Safe Kids, Strong Families
Teen watching TV | Striking the Technology
Balance: How Much TV is Too Much?
A recent study by the American Academy of Paediatrics shows that increasing consumption of digital media by children could be having a negative impact on their development.
Please see the rest of this article near the end of this Post.
ON THE NEED FOR ADEQUATE SLEEP
Dark mornings and evenings can be masked by high levels of light in the
home. PGCs need to look to lowering light and sound levels as the evening comes on, from around 4.30-5.00pm, reducing them to side lamps in main family rooms.
The television may need to be turned off or moved to another room. A calm, quiet, low-lit, room in which to wind-down after homework and dinner, for catching up on family news, and getting
into the best possible frame of mind for a relaxed trip to bed, would of great benefit to all children and young people.
It's the best way to prepare for bed for anyone of any age.
If children and young people don't start feeling tired, and naturally ready for sleep, their body-clocks are
Darker, quieter, rooms help the natural inclination to sleep.
Sufficient sleep is imperative for children, youngsters, and everyone.
CHILDREN DO THEIR GROWING DURING SLEEP, and their bones continue to develop. It is understood that 90
per cent of BONE GROWTH TAKES PLACE DURING SLEEP.
NINE TO TEN HOURS of good quality, SUSTAINED, sleep give
a child, youngster, teenager, and young person adequate rest. This is the necessary amount of sleep for both physical and mental well-being. The human growth hormone is released during this time, resulting in growth spurts.
SLEEP IS ESSENTIAL for the body to rest, and adequate rest means better physical growth.
IS ALSO ESSENTIAL FOR PHYSICAL RECUPERATION, the development of the:
As well as many other systems of the brain and the body.
APPLIES TO EVERYONE, from a child to an older person.
WHAT DO PARENTS, GUARDIANS, AND CARERS KNOW ABOUT
HAVE PGCs made themselves aware of the ubiquitous nature of cyber-bullying, and how extremely damaging it is to any child, young person, or adult?
Go to www.webwise.ie for advice
for PGCs, teachers, and anyone who should make him or herself knowledgeable on cyber-bullying.
cannot leave this job to teachers and the school.
Our children's and young people's welfare have to be our priority - please take this issue seriously. Young people can become isolated, may self-harm and, in some cases, take their lives.
Some truly cannot live with the constant bullying.
LUKE Culhane (then
13), from Limerick, Ireland, created a video entitled
'Cyber Bullying: Create No Hate'
which went viral on YouTube. Luke's video recounts his own experience
of being bullied online.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT VIEWING
FOR ALL PGCs, YOUNG PEOPLE, AND CHILDREN.
was named the 2016 "Child of the Year" / 'l'enfant de l'année 2016', by French newspaper 'Mon Quotidien' for standing up to cyber-bulling.
Cyber-bullying can happen to anyone on a seemingly random basis. Frequently, young people keep
it to themselves ~ they do not tell PGCs and, often, not even their best friends. The results of this COWARDLY bullying can be appalling for everyone in the family, not just
the selected victim.
REALLY NEED to find out about this pernicious activity; when they have informed themselves, they will have a better idea what to look out for in their young people and children.
conversation on the whole topic, at the dinner table, with everyone present, would make the subject easier for everyone to ask about, and talk about. Show Luke's YouTube video, even young children will be able to understand its message, and it would be a good starting point for your conversation.
DIFFICULT PRESSURES ON PGCs
Breaks from school or college
are frequently the times when PGCs realise they are living with a creature who does not come out of the bedroom in daylight hours, except for raids on the 'fridge.
They realise that this is more than just a teenager needing lots of sleep.
IS UNDERSTANDABLE that even when PGCs realize the consequences of their children's late and prolonged use of electronic devices, they have a problem facing up to the glaringly OBVIOUS SOLUTION.
ONCE IT IS DISCOVERED that a young person is over-using electronic devices to the detriment of his / her mental and physical health, relationships and friendships, and his or her wake /
sleep balance, something must be done. If the transition to sleeping nine to ten hours nightly is not made in the last weeks of holidays, young
people may still be finding it difficult to manage study and other activities.
It may take longer than anyone expects to break the habit of being awake a good
deal of the night with electronic devices, and sleeping through most of the following day.
PGCs might have to make some very
unwelcome and drastic decisions
which may cause
in the short to mid-term.
PERHAPS, having conversations with the PGCs of your children's close friends, to discuss the problem, to try to present a united front, giving PGCs mutual support would be useful. PLUS, the youngsters will see it is not just their parents BEING REALLY MEAN!
START BY EXPLAINING calmly that this is a HEALTH and MENTAL WELFARE matter, you are not trying to ruin the youngster's life, FOREVER!
SHOW THEM THE FACTS ~ DO YOUR RESEARCH
[START your RESEARCH with the details of and Links for Studies
on the deleterious mental and physical health consequences of over-use and late night use of blue-light emitting electronic devices. Please see the last Sections of this Post for more details of some Studies, which can be the basis of your explanations and descriptions.
It HAS to be better to SHARE information than to seem to be forcing youngsters etc, to listen to a lecture.]
A television in a common room, should
not be turned on as younger children come in from early childhood education, or as older siblings arrive home from school or college. Making sure the television is not
on, and turning it off if turned on, is one very important, simple, way to start making sure your offspring are not over-loaded with blue-violet light emissions.
enables conversations on how the day has gone, when not competing with the noise and distraction of a television.
/ cell phones should be banned from the table, be they for work or study.
They should be turned off, or left in another room.
For their welfare's sake, teenagers and younger, SHOULD NOT have a television, iPad, smart phone, Kindle, Tablet, or any type of mobile / cell phone on in their bedrooms, after approximately 7.30 - 9.00 pm, depending on age.
There are Rules under the The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), (those
under 18 years of age), entitling young people to degrees of autonomy. Currently, there is a discussion on how much right a parent has
to take a mobile / cell phone from a teenager. The discussion is usually based around the idea that those of 15-16 years are entitled to the use and possession of their mobile / cell phone at any time. There are arguments
that young people of 13 years are equally entitled.
I know the reaction from
youngsters and teenagers may be VERY LOUD, and VERY, VERY,
NO PARENT WANTS TO BE A BADDIE, and the children / youngsters WILL ARGUE OVER AND OVER, that ALL THEIR FRIENDS are allowed to have all these devices in their bedrooms, night and day.
However, Difficult Choices Require to be Made Now!
Studying on a laptop in the relative quiet of a bedroom, but preferably in a common room in the house, is
a good habit, but only in conjunction with reference to actual books, real dictionaries, thesauruses, and the deep reading of novels, sciences, poetry, sci-fi, histories,
biographies. We must encourage and retain our own intellectual 'omnivorism'. Adults have to show the way.
All electronic devices shall
have to be removed from the bedrooms at 7.00 pm to 9.30 pm, depending on the ages of the children and young people, at the discretion of the PGCs.
Having finished study / work, EVERYONE in the family WILL HAVE TO turn their computers off at least 90 minutes before bedtime.
It's good for the younger ones to know the adults are sticking by the same rule.
Apart from saving the work, they younger ones shall then need to BRING ALL DEVICES down to a common room where they can be checked off, TO ENSURE ALL DEVICES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR, while bearing in mind the rights of young people.
GENERALLY SPEAKING, most
young people get a limited number of chances for primary and second level schooling. If they are chronically exhausted due to inappropriate and overuse of electronic devices, THEIR PERFORMANCE IN SCHOOL WILL SUFFER negatively and significantly.
* Eighty-five per cent of parents of young children (aged less than 6
years) said they used screen-based devices to occupy their kids so they could get things done with one in four doing this every day of the week.
* Teenagers spend the most time on a screen-based device at home, of any age group, at almost 44 hours on average per
week – more than the time equivalent of a full time job. Parents averaged almost 40 hours per week. ++
only was educational performance hindered. Important social skills were also diminished", says Lynette Vernon, lead researcher of this study at Murdoch University in Perth:
"The outcomes of not coping –
lower self-esteem, feeling moody, externalising behaviours and
less self-regulation, aggressive and delinquent behaviours – the levels increase as sleep problems increased." * *
See this Study in full below.
We Have to Take Seriously the Well-Documented Difficulties
Students Encounter in these Circumstances
YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT reach their optimum potential at second level schooling, and this has consequences for the possibility of winning a place in a college
or university, or following whatever dreams they have.
THERE ARE NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS for young people of becoming ISOLATED from a social life, if they spend a great deal of their spare time
online gaming, gambling, watching or engaging in pornography, or on X-Box.
VERY IMPORTANT ~ Children and young people NEED three hours of physical activity daily for fitness sake, and
also for psychological well-being.
are less physically active now than ever before.
'Our minds can be hijacked' :
the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia.
Please see this The Guardian report by Paul
Lewis in the last Section of this Post.
is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called “continuous partial attention”, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ."
The industry insiders who often designed the software, are restricting their own use of smartphones, etc.
See more below ...