Pornography accounts for 10 to 30 percent of the internet, depending on who you ask, and with web access available to more children than ever, it’s no wonder they’re watching it. In a 2008 study, University of New Hampshire researchers found that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls reported being exposed to porn by the age of 18. And 26.9 percent and 23 percent of them, respectively, had been exposed by age 13.Research has shown that exposure to sexually aggressive porn may make it nearly six times more likely that young men will perpetuate the aggressive sexual behavior themselves. And in the UK and US, doctors have raised concerns over an increase in young girls seeking labiaplasty due to unrealistic expectations of what their vaginas should look like—potentially fueled by “exposure to idealized images of genital anatomy,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warned.
Tag Archives: Parenting
What should you do if child-protective services comes to your house?
You will hear a knock on the door, often late at night. You don’t have to open it, but if you don’t the caseworker outside may come back with the police. The caseworker will tell you you’re being investigated for abusing or neglecting your children. She will tell you to wake them up and tell them to take clothes off so she can check their bodies for bruises and marks. She will interview you and your kids separately, so you can’t hear what she’s asking them or what they’re saying. She opens your fridge and your cabinets, checking to see if you have food, and what kind of food. She looks around for unsafe conditions, for dirt, for mess, for bugs or rats. She takes notes. You must be as calm and deferential as possible. However disrespectful and invasive she is, whatever awful things she accuses you of, you must remember that child protection has the power to remove your kids at any time if it believes them to be in danger. You can tell her the charges are not true, but she’s required to investigate them anyway. If you get angry, your anger may be taken as a sign of mental instability, especially if the caseworker herself feels threatened. She has to consider the possibility that you may be hurting your kids, that you may even kill one of them. You may never find out who reported you. If your child has been hurt, his teacher or doctor may have called the state child-abuse hotline, not wanting to assume, as she might in a richer neighborhood, that it was an accident. But it could also have been a neighbor who heard yelling, or an ex-boyfriend who wants to get back at you, or someone who thinks you drink too much or simply doesn’t like you. People know that a call to the hotline is an easy way to blow up your life. If the caseworker believes your kids are in imminent danger, she may take them. You may not be allowed to say goodbye. It is terrifying for them to be taken from their home by a stranger, but this experience has repercussions far beyond the terror of that night. Your children may hear accusations against you—you’re using drugs, your apartment is filthy, you fail to get them to school, you hit them—and even if they don’t believe these things they will remember. And, after your children see that you are powerless to protect them, this will permanently change things between you. Whatever happens later—whether the kids come back the next week, or in six months, or don’t come back at all—that moment can never be undone.
Leah Durant was cleaning the unfinished basement of her home in Falls Church, Virginia, one day in October 2010 when she scraped her hand on a rusty nail. Not long after, the then-37-year-old lawyer was seated in her doctor’s office, preparing to receive a tetanus vaccine—a preventive measure that since 1947 has reduced U.S. fatalities caused by the soil-borne bacterium Clostridium tetani 500-fold.
Her physician stood to her left and leaned over her shoulder with the needle.
The pain was immediate, and so excruciating that Durant screamed.
The beloved novelist and children’s author Roald Dahl once wrote an open letter describing how his daughter Olivia suffered from measles when she was 7 years old. Olivia seemed to be recovering, Dahl wrote, and he was sitting on her bed, teaching her how to build animals out of pipe cleaners, when he noticed that she had trouble coordinating her fingers’ movements.
“‘Are you feeling all right?’ I asked her.”
“‘I feel all sleepy,’ she said.”
False: Vaccination can cause autism
In 1998, U.K. doctor Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine could trigger autism. In the years after, MMR vaccination rates among 2-year-olds in England dropped below 80%. But the claim began to unravel in 2004 after journalist Brian Deer reported undisclosed conflicts of interest: Wakefield had applied for a patent on his own measles vaccine and had received money from a lawyer trying to sue companies making the MMR vaccine. Citing further concerns about ethics and misrepresentation, The Lancet retracted the paper in 2010. Shortly after, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council permanently pulled Wakefield’s medical license.
“This is a war against normal life.” So said CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward, describing the situation at this moment in Syria, as well as in other parts of the Middle East. It was one of those remarks that should wake you up to the fact that the regions the United States has, since September 2001, played such a role in destabilizing are indeed in crisis, and that this process isn’t just taking place at the level of failing states and bombed-out cities, but in the most personal way imaginable. It’s devastating for countless individuals — mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers — and above all for children.
Ward’s words caught a reality that grows harsher by the week, and not just in Syria, but in parts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, among other places in the Greater Middle East and Africa. Death and destruction stalk whole populations in Syria and other crumbling countries and failed or failing states across the region. In one of those statistics that should stagger the imagination, devastated Syria alone accounts for more than five million of the estimated 21 million refugees worldwide. And sadly, these numbers do not reflect an even harsher reality: you only become a “refugee” by crossing a border. According to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2015 there were another 44 million people uprooted from their homes who were, in essence, exiles in their own lands. Add those numbers together and you have one out of every 113 people on the planet — and those figures, the worst since World War II, may only be growing.
When they are allowed to apply their natural creativity and curiosity, children love learning. They learn to walk, to talk, to eat and to play spontaneously, by watching and experimenting. Then they get to school, and we suppress this instinct by sitting them down, force-feeding them with inert facts and testing the life out of them.
When Alexandre Louzada and Francisco David decided that they wanted to adopt a child, they had only a small number of specific preferences.The couple wanted a child no older than 6 years of age. They were willing to adopt a child with chronic, treatable diseases such as diabetes or fetal alcohol syndrome, but not one with untreatable conditions — such as blindness or paralysis — which they believed themselves financially and emotionally incapable of supporting.And, unlike many prospective parents in Brazil — where a substantial portion of adopting parents only want a white child — they had no preferences when it came to race or gender. About 70 percent of the children eligible for adoption in Brazil are black or mixed race, which means that many parents who want to adopt are closed off to the possibility of taking most of the ones who need a home.
Quando ho letto Riabitare la realtà della filosofa ecologista Freya Mathews sono rimasta colpita da un passaggio in cui lei spiega che non bisognerebbe mai cambiare casa, ma trovare “una dimora per la vita”, imparare dagli indigeni e abitarla con dedizione popolandola il più possibile di persone e animali. Eppure esistono “persone nate in una patria che non è la loro e che soffrono di nostalgia per una terra che non hanno conosciuto” (Huxley). O come direbbe Chatwin, c’è gente “posseduta dal desiderio di cambiare letto”.
Il nomadismo è cambiato dai tempi dello scrittore britannico: viaggiare in quest’epoca significa inquinare, contribuire allo sfruttamento e all’impoverimento di paesi del terzo mondo. Ci culliamo con l’illusione di un turismo responsabile che “aiuti le popolazioni locali”, quando a volte sarebbe meglio aiutare i vicini di casa invece che volare low cost dall’altra parte del mondo.