January is generally known as the month when the weather takes a turn for the worse, people have overindulged at Christmas, money is tight and it tends to be a month of feeling low. The January Blues are real and sufferers seem to be varied. There isn’t a particular type of person who feels the January Blues, it can be anyone! Claire Eastham has some advice on how to beat the blues this January and to make it to February with your sanity intact. If you want more advice on how to improve your mental health, check out her book We’re All Mad Here.
“I’m worried about my child’s technology use. Why does my son scream when I try to get him off the computer? Is my daughter honest about her Internet activities? Just how much screen time is too much? What effect is all of this technology having on my child’s learning and behavior?” Pg. 11, Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time and Why It Matters by Martin Kutscher
The average 8 year old child spends nearly 10 hours a day on digital media. This makes digital consumption second only to sleep as their leading activity. It’s not news to us that kids are using their digital devices all day, every day. But does this really matter? Many children receive digital devices as gifts but what are the risks of overusing them. Also what can parents do to combat this?
Digital Kids is the first book of its kind to lay out the facts and figures surrounding excessive internet use. Drawing on cutting edge research and expert scientific opinion, Martin Kutscher pinpoints exactly what effect digital addiction is having on our children’s brains and development – and the reasons why we should be worried about it.
Outlining the full range of neurological, psychological and physical implications, from stunted cognitive development and shortening attention spans, to depression, aggression and obesity, Digital Kids highlights the real dangers of too much screen time for the iPad generation.
This book is an eye-opening journey through the ins and outs of cyberspace, offering practical strategies on how to maintain a healthy screen-life balance. The internet, the smartphone and the digital TV are all here to stay, but it’s up to us where we draw the line.
Digital Kids: How to Balance Screen Time and Why It Matters by Martin Kutscher is now available in paperback from Jessica Kingsley Publishers
CJ Atkinson, author of ‘Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?’, shares their thoughts on a series of important topics in the trans world. In this instalment, CJ explains why the internet is just like the pub for trans people.
My grandfather was 95 when he died and a product of his era. Born and raised in the working class north of England, he left school at 14 and worked in the mills until he retired. Not to appeal too much to Monty Python, but you could have subbed him into the Four Yorkshiremen sketch and not noticed the difference. As he got older, he got closer to understanding that things in other places were different. He started to realise that the microcosm of where he’d lived and grown up wasn’t, in fact, representative of the world and a curious thing happened. Instead of being resistant to it, he started to accept everything at face value. After all, he knew who he was, and was comfortable accepting everybody else for knowing who they were too.
Over the near-century he was alive the world had changed so much that it started to feel like perhaps he didn’t know much about anything. Which isn’t to say he lost himself – he was the most him he’d ever been, he just knew that things were different than they used to be, and that seemed to be alright. In spite of all of my differences, he was one of my best friends, and always my greatest supporter.
In the exact same way, I am, fundamentally, a product of my age. I’m part of the Myspace Generation, the first influx of Facebook users, and I absolutely have a tumblr. So it’s interesting to realise that in looking for things to “blame” for “The Transgenders” (which will be my Pretenders tribute karaoke band name), it always comes down to one main culprit: The Internet.
What we need to do is to synthesise what this means. Rather than assuming the internet spreads “propaganda” and “brainwashing”, consider it being a resource that shares “information” and “knowledge”. Not just about gender issues, but about the things that affect people who aren’t you. After all, I have no idea what it’s like to live in your body. As you read this, I have no conception of the world as you face it. The same can be said in return.
For some people, the internet is a resource through which you ask a question to get an answer. That’s not always how it works, though. Exposure (the dreaded “propaganda”) works to give an academic – if not a personal – understanding of issues. Thanks to the internet I’m a smarter person, more aware of life around me and the things I can do to accept and help other people around me. Fundamentally though, it operates in the same way that the pub used to. People talk about themselves, and you find those common threads. I never needed any help to explore my gender, I’ve been myself for as long as I could remember, but what I’ve always lacked are the words. Until I started to learn, I didn’t have the ability to express myself, and the internet – instead of telling me who I was – gave me a language that I could use to articulate myself.
It’s true; people didn’t used to talk about these things. In exactly the same way that rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people changed to reflect an understanding of love that has existed in perpetuity, so have conversations about gender. This is what progress does. There are so many things that the world didn’t talk about, and the countless bodies of people who never survived these times. Not because they didn’t exist but because they couldn’t acknowledge their existence.
How long have trans people been around? Well, historically we know that early Paleolithic cave drawings seem to depict different genders, and the gender binary as we know it is a particularly “Western” concept. Almost every indigenous culture around the world recognises an otherness of gender, and typically values and appreciates these people. If anything, it’s taken the internet and the advances of technology to drag the West into an understanding that the world is more complicated than simply a case of ‘this’ or ‘that’. The internet is a resource, like any other. In its purest form it’s a case of chaotic neutral, where you can find what you want to find. For as long as we have young people looking for answers, and elders who refuse to acknowledge their identities, is it any wonder that the internet is the only space we call home?
CJ tweets at @cjandmiles.
To read other blog posts from CJ, please follow this link.
For more information on the book, please follow this link.
For 2017 the Stationers’ Company is launching a new Graphic Books category in their Shine School Media Awards. The Awards are open to all secondary schools and are designed to encourage team work and develop interest in the world of print and publishing.
JKP will consider the winning entry of the Graphic Books category for publication.
Guidelines for entry:
The winning entry will explore either:
- A contemporary social issue of your choice, such as poverty, refugees, migration, social inequality, homelessness, the situation of a minority
- Or, a mental health issue of particular concern to young people, such as anxiety, exam stress, bullying, lack of confidence, depression
The Graphic Book should aim to leave the reader understanding more about the subject of the book, even to have changed their mind about it. Great Graphic Books combine words and pictures to say something similar that neither words nor pictures can do separately. Consider how your images support the text, and vice versa.
- Entries may be in full colour, a restricted colour palette, or black and white
- Page size should be a minimum of 120mm x 170mm and a maximum of 210mm x 298mm
- Extent, a minimum 8 pages
- The Competition is open to all secondary schools in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Eire
- The closing date for entries is the 7th April 2017
For more information and to enter, visit the Shine School Media Awards website. We look forward to seeing your submissions!
CJ Atkinson, author of ‘Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity?’, shares their thoughts on a series of important topics in the trans world. Here, they explain why using the correct pronouns for a trans person is so vital.
In my life, I know a staggering number of people called Dave. Two of my immediate neighbours are called Dave. My barber’s called Dave. My friend’s boyfriend is a Dave, and two of my best friends, yep, they’re Daves too. In fact, there are so many Daves in my life that it would make everything so much easier if everyone was called Dave. I’d never have to struggle for a name, and I’d always be right. No more awkward “Hello…. You”s while I try to recall a name. It’d be so easy. Hi Dave!
Now imagine if I met you, and called you Dave. You gently correct me because Dave isn’t your name, but it’s funny when someone’s so certain about something that’s deeply wrong. Oh yes, I say, acknowledging it. A little while later, I call you Dave again. Now you’re confused, right? Maybe I didn’t hear you the first time. You remind me again that your name most emphatically isn’t Dave. “Don’t worry about it, Dave”, I say, confident in your Daveness. “You just… seem so much like a Dave.” Now it’s harder. Your name still isn’t Dave, and I’m still calling you Dave. This time when you tell me, it’s not funny anymore. I sigh, and tell you how difficult it is because everyone I know is Dave, and it would be so much easier if you were Dave, and have you even tried being Dave? You never know, you might like it. You don’t have to be difficult. Dave is fine. I’ll keep calling you Dave.
Pronouns – those things that go before words to refer to a person — are causing a bit of a stir at the moment, as the English language has to bend itself a little to make sure it can express human experience. That’s the way it’s meant to go, after all — language works for us, not the other way around. While those of you comfortable with he or she should absolutely feel comfortable referring to yourself thus, there are those of us who slot somewhere in between the binary. What about the singular they, which divides language lovers as surely as marmite? What about zie, or xie? What should you be expected to know? What’s right to assume?
My pronouns are the singular they/their/them, and I could write you an academic thesis on why that feels right to me — it’s comfortable, it encompasses how I see and feel about myself, and it’s an accepted grammatical convention. Not that I expect you to care about any of those reasons. In the same way that I’d like if you used my name, and didn’t just call me Dave, the same goes for my pronouns. You don’t need to worry about it – I’m going to tell you what they are, and once I’ve told you, we can move on. The same would be true if I tell you my pronouns are xe, zie, or any other that I’ve chosen to express myself with. In the same way that my name identifies me, so does a pronoun. When you ignore the possibility that I might not be a he or she, you’re confirming a lot of things I already know about the world: that it isn’t meant for me, that it’s not safe to express myself, and that no matter how I feel, you just don’t care. When you ignore what I’ve explicitly told you, you’re saying something far worse. Now you’re dismissing who I am as a person — just like if I repeatedly Daved you.
Is it easy? No. I asked my friends and it’s taken an adjustment while they get their heads around it — many of whom have known me for longer than I’ve been transitioning, and who have been nothing but supportive as I navigate the complicated route from she to they. Do they always get it right? No, of course not. But here’s a secret you probably don’t know: I don’t always get it right either. Sometimes I slip and misgender myself, particularly when talking about my younger self. It happens, but that’s the thing about language — it’s a habit. Just like you can get used to the change in someone’s surname if they decided to change it once they’ve gotten married, you can learn a different pronoun. It shows that you care about the person you’re speaking to, and that their comfort is important to you. In a world that is increasingly hostile towards people who express their gender differently, that’s something that really matters. I’m also very very lucky – I’m in a supportive environment with the security of experience behind me. For young people who are experimenting with their pronouns and self-expression, it can be a vital way of affirming that you care about them, not about some societal code.
My pronouns aren’t a game, or a treat. An example: I was recently having an email exchange with a person, talking about gender issues. She wanted me to do something, and I wasn’t quite so sure about it. From the onset I’d established my name and pronouns, which is a habit I’ve gotten into as of late, and she’d acknowledged both. When I realised that I couldn’t do what she wanted, she snapped into mispronouning me, and when I reminded her of my pronouns, there was a suggestion that I hadn’t earned them. The message was very clear: for as long as I was willing to do what she wanted, my pronouns were to be respected. The minute I stepped out of line, however, and it was game over. Then my pronouns were going to be ignored. Unsurprisingly I didn’t do what the person wanted, and won’t work with them again.
Yes, it can be hard to get it always right, and maybe you’ll slip, but it’s time to start having conversations about this. If you get it wrong, in exactly the same way as if you forgot somebody’s name, just apologise and move on. Try, and keep trying, because the world won’t end if you do and you might find that you make a really positive difference in the life of someone who really needs it. And if you’re ever not sure, if you’re ever confused, just ask — the difference that makes, over assuming, can make somebody’s day.
CJ tweets at @cjandmiles.
For more information on the book, please follow this link.
Jenny Hulme, author of The School of Wellbeing, discusses her new book and the projects she’s explored that support students’ emotional wellbeing. At a time when the state of young people’s mental health is being recognised as central to their learning and attainment, her book gives unique insight into these projects and features the education leaders and charities behind them, including Place2Be, Kidscape, Beat and more.
When I started writing this book a year ago, the media were talking, ever more urgently, about the epidemic of young people at odds with the world around them. Research was suggesting rates of depression were rising in primary schools and anxiety among teenagers had increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years. Meanwhile, reports noted the rapid rise in hospital admissions for young people with eating disorders. Every story posed more questions than answers about the role of everything from poverty to education policy, exam stress to social media. Other more recent headlines included news of a 14 per cent rise in teenagers being admitted to hospital after self-harming, with the NSPCC saying they delivered thousands of counselling sessions on self-harm last year (as many as 50 a day) via Childline. It was heartening to read at the same time talk of the Government making relationships and sexual health a statutory subject to tackle the problem of sexual harassment and sexting in schools. But developments like this come not a moment too soon. Continue reading
Clinical psychologist Colby Pearce provides a concise and easy to understand introduction to what ‘attachment’ means, how to recognise attachment disorders and how to help children who have an attachment disorder. This extract is taken from his new book A Short Introduction to Attachment and Attachment Disorder, Second Edition which offers a comprehensive set of tried-and-tested practical strategies that can be used in the home, school and consulting room with children affected by an attachment disorder. Colby is also the author of A Short Introduction to Promoting Resilience in Children.
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Try this fun and engaging maths game designed to teach primary school children how to count and recognise simple patterns, taken from Claire Brewer and Kate Bradley’s new book 101 Inclusive and SEN Maths Lessons for P Level Learning.
Pass the Parcel
- A ‘pass the parcel’ set-up with shape symbols in each layer
- Range of matching 2D shapes
- The children sit in a circle.
- In the middle of the circle an adult places all the 2D shapes so the children can see them clearly.
- Play ‘Pass the parcel’. Each time the music stops and a child unwraps a layer to reveal a shape chard, the child has to find the matching shape from the middle of the circle.
- At the end of the game, count all the shapes and see who has the most!