Disappointed by the Parenting Magazine

Recently, my husband brought back one of the local best selling motherhood magazines as he had gotten it for free. I was disappointed to see that it was that particular pretty faced personality covering the front page again. Not one of those A lists, but that is not the reason why, nothing to do with her entertainment performance level. I was mainly disappointed by the chief editor of the magazine. Here’s why.

A couple of years back, I was a single fresh graduate who knew nothing much about parenting and babies. I walked past a newspaper stand and saw the media celebrity endorsing on the same magazine as she had just given birth to her first boy that time. Her words in bold, ” I want him to be a Casanova.” Even then, I frowned and revolted with some disgust inside of me.

So let’s define what is the full meaning of being a Casanova. I Googled and urbandictionary.com defines it as: A smooth-talking charmer who has mastered the art of finding, meeting, attracting and seducing beautiful women into the bedroom. One he accomplishes his goal, he leaves the woman in fear of having a relationship and proceeds to find his next conquest.

This year, she is on the coverpage again and she has 3 boys now. I read her story and readers are reminded that from the previous issue, she wants her eldest son ” to have Casanova-like qualities“. She went on to share that now ” He is good looking and quite the Casanova as lots of girls chase him. He also changes girlfriends often. ” The boy is only less than 10 years old now. The story even went on to say that she wants them to be CEOs in the future and she is in charge of moulding her sons’ personalities by controlling every aspect of their lives. I am not clear what is her rationale behind wanting him to be a successful yet a Casanova. In fact, I feel extremely ashamed that these are coming from the parenting magazine in my country.

Why is the Chief Editor even allowing someone who bares such statements to the parents? Especially in a parenting magazine where parents are looking for inspirations, encouragement and baby trends. My stand is that I am not against her personal wish to desire that for her son and neither do I have any personal prejudice against her as an entertainment artiste.

What is the message is the editor trying to send to the parents who are reading the magazines?

I know that parents are not so naive to tag along with such an aspiration but I believe there has to be a benchmark set somewhere. National media regulators have to play a part and be responsible for what they are saying, especially when it is a parenting magazine which may influence how parents shape and mould their children’s personalities. Though is is not the publisher’s job to educate the kids, they are responsible for what content that channels through.

It is sometimes little wonder that family values start to erode away because the mainstream media made it seem acceptable to do this and that. On top of that, they dress up the stories with public figures so that it seems like since they do it, so let’s do it too. We see this as a norm in fashion and the entertainment industries, but such moral degrading is infiltrating into parenting and families.

I am even more appalled that the Editor is a mother herself and I was not very sure what she was thinking exactly when she decided to let this thing go to print. I hope I havent distorted or exaggerated any facts, this is just my humble opinion when I saw this story.

Whatever it is, this magazine is now like downright dirt cheap to me. Better off to be recycled than stay on my shelf.

Gadget Kids Knows No Play but Apps

Read a tweet on an article ( http://www.greenchildmagazine.com/children-technology-addiction/ ) by Green Child Magazine related to what my husband and I had discussed some time ago- Will our daughter have an iPad of her own next time? ( I dont even own any!) As a tutor, I have heard from parents whose kids can hardly put down their tablets, usually iPads. Besides addicting to it, they have myopia earlier and their eyesight deteriorates even more rapidly. They could play from right after school till mealtime and still playing while having their meals, have to be nagged to go get a shower and then do their homework. Once the tasks are done, they play again till they go to bed.

Parents, however, praise that these iPads work like magic to hush them when they bring them out on the the public transport or to other places. They dont monkey around and they wont disturb or call for your attention. The kids play with their tablets, parents fix on their own phone screens and hardly any communication takes place. Aren’t these scenes a norm on the trains and buses now?

Personally, I am not against tablets or any of these brilliant innovative compnies. I think they are awesome and indeed have brought much convenience and a whole new level of entertainment at our finger tips.

Back to our discussion, we will probably not let her have her own tablet and that she must seek our permission if she wants to play with our phones or his tablet. I applaud for companies that develop great game apps with the best intention to educate but when these kids into these “educational apps”, it becomes a form of gadget addiction. I believe many parents started with the positive notion that it is fine to let them play with the gadgets as these apps really do teach them some songs and ABCs. But, they later then realize it is hard to stop them when the kids got lured to other apps eventually, through app advertisements, of course.

I find it a pity that when kids go out these days, they miss out many learning and discovering opportunities surrounding them as their faces are buried in the screens. In addition, because of the fast motions and thrills of the games, it can cause children to have lack of attention span in other areas, such as reading a book, slower paced games involving toys and probably affecting their academics performance because they can’t concentrate and stay put staring at static stuffs. Parents will later then resort to confiscation and the kids will have the cold turkey effect, begging older siblings to lend them their gadgets. Older siblings will then restrict their usage time or forbid it, another reason for siblings squabbling. I have seen these happened.

The article discusses some of the ways we can discourage being addicted to gadgets. One of them is having parents set as a role model and not a technology junkie themselves. I am kinda guilty here because while I watch my 8month old play with her toys, I get bored after awhile and have this thing in me to reach to my phone to check on my social media accounts or Whatsapp messages. My baby then realized I was engrossed with my phone, she stopped what she was playing with and crawled over and checked out my phone too. She too, stared at the glaring screen and wanted it for herself.

There and then, it hit me that I was sending her a message that my phone seems more interesting that whatever toys she was playing with. Imagine she is only 8 months old and she is already aware of this gadget that Mummy is so engrossed with. Come when she is older, she will want one for herself too! Well, afterall, most of her peers would probably have one of their own too.

The thing is this, be it adults or young children, the gadget is an extremely seductive tool that captures away our attention in a snap. It steals your attention away to what may be more important and priceless; communication with your loved ones, watching your children play and achieve some milestones, studying for exams, appreciating the environment and jeopardizing lives . As a driver, I have deliberately honked extremely loudly at jaywalkers who have earphones on and eyes fix on their gadgets, to shake them out of their virtual world and back to the road.

I appreciate this article very much as it sends me a reminder to keep my phone away while I enjoy my moments with my child. It only takes blinks of eyes and they will be grown. And when that time comes for my child to be conscious enough of wanting to have her own tablet, we will probably question her what is her objective of having her own tablet and what does she want to do with it? Reasons related to peer pressure is not enough to propel me to buy her one and I have no qualm about her being at the ” losing position of being outdated” so she could be in the group of friends. If she is going to use our gadgets, rules do apply.

Like how the article ends, ” There’s no app that can replace the importance of play and time spent in nature.”