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Viewing entries tagged with 'children'

#DearNewZealand

Posted by Philip on 3 September 2016, 12:26 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love this campaign. It speaks to the heart of an issue of fundamental importance: how do we create a strong, robust future society. Our children are that future. I submitted this to the #DearNewZealand website today.

I would solve child poverty by creating a culture where every kid has what they need, for free. Shelter, clothes, food, learning environments, safety and love. All these things should be provided for free by the Government.

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Decision polarity and the space in-between – reflection on the Charley Hooper situation

Posted by Philip on 30 October 2015, 8:07 am in , , , , , , , ,

I am concerned by the ethical argument brewing between the parents of Charley Hooper — who have finished a series of surgeries and hormone therapy to contain her growth and development — and disability/human rights advocates like Disability Rights Commisioner Paul Gibson — who has said the procedure was "unnecessary" and "inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)."

The Hoopers say they have "no regrets" about stopping the growth of their daughter — who "has less control over her body than a newborn, with no head control and no purposeful movement of any limbs. She is blind and does not recognise anyone, including her parents." The procedure has also stopped Charley from having 200 seizures per day and has resulted in her smiling for the first time.

Gibson is calling for a law change to protect the rights of disabled children as a result of the Hooper situation. But whose call is it to define the "rights" and "protection" of children in circumstances such as this?

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Kids, meaning and agility

Posted by Philip on 4 April 2015, 1:03 pm in , , , , , , , , ,

Recently I spent an hour at Rosebank Primary School in Avondale, speaking as a Duffy Books in Homes Role Model. It’s something I’ve done a couple of times each year since connecting with Linda Vagana, Duffy’s GM, when we both did the Leadership New Zealand programme in 2012.

It’s a tough but rewarding gig. Primary-aged kids pull no punches as an audience. I’m not the usual and as I begin to speak, the giggles start.

I resist the urge to ask, “What are you laughing at?” To begin with anyway. Instead I ask all 500 to introduce themselves to me – their name, where they come from and a secret about them – all at once. The hall erupts with noise and laughter.

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Digitally native or colonised?

Posted by Philip on 20 July 2014, 1:12 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

Cartoon baby with iPhoneThe phrase "digital native" has evolved pretty effortlessly into the common lexicon in the last five years. But is it accurate or a misnomer?

The most relevant definition of "native" in this context is "belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature; inherent" (Dictionary.com). So do iPads, Facebook, X-box or anything else in the digital/online/connected world, to which we may refer to young people as being native, belong to them by birth, by nature or inherently?

I'm splitting hairs here, I know. The thought only came to me half an hour ago in a discussion with someone who may well be described is "digitally native," so it's not like I've thought deeply about it. But it's interesting to consider an alternative frame: that kids and young people aren't native to technology — they're being colonised by it.

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Should kids have to keep themselves safe?

Posted by Philip on 26 June 2014, 2:12 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Wednesday Violence Free Waitakere (VFW) launched "'Jade Speaks Up', a new multimedia resource to help keep children safe from violence." The media release said, "The resource aims to help children put safety strategies in place to support themselves, should they feel afraid in their lives whether from bullying, natural disasters, adult threats or witnessing grown-ups fighting."

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Sign the KIDshine petition urging Rt Hon John Key to end our 'national shame’ of domestic violence and child abuse.

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Child criminals are victims — twice over

Posted by Philip on 24 June 2014, 12:27 pm in , , , , , , , , , ,

The arrest of 12 and 13 year old boys for aggravated robbery and murder respectively in West Auckland a couple of weeks ago highlights a growing malaise in society. The incident itself is a tragedy for the victim and his family, but what is alarming to me is that the two offending boys are victims too — of whatever circumstances led them to offend and now, potentially, of the justice system as well.

The bi-polarity of the justice system, which recognises only victim and offender, clearly fails children in these situations. The stories of those like twelve-year-old Bailey Kurariki (NZ 2001), James Bulger's ten-year-old killers (UK 1993) and eleven-year-old Mary Bell (UK 1968), all of whom were charged and sentenced, point toward a "punishment system" that in no way takes into consideration that these children were too young to be held solely responsible for their actions.

A system that believes kids can be guilty of violent crimes without asking, "How did they become capable of violent crimes?", is one that lacks empathy and compassion. Having empathy and compassion for the kids does not diminish feeling for the victims. It simply acknowledges the existence of complex situations that don't follow "victim/perpetrator" patterns.

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Stranger danger — whose responsibility?

Posted by Philip on 6 September 2013, 7:00 am in , , ,

A recent TV experiment in the UK showed seven of nine children followed a stranger out of a park when their parents were distracted by a phonecall. Described as "horrible" and "disturbing", the morning show's investigation prompted Children’s protection charity Kidscape, who produced the advice in collaboration with the ITV programme, to tell the Huffington Post: “Daybreak's investigation has highlighted the potential consequences of our children not being taught appropriate ways of keeping safe in situations involving strangers."

I disagree. I think this albeit insignificant study shows that parents need to be far more vigilant in public with their children. Teaching children to mistrust strangers flies in the face of allowing a community response to the care of childen.

What this study shows is a natural tendency for children to trust adults and the need for parents to take responsibility to keep their kids safe in situation in public.

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Time, incidents and relativity

Posted by Philip on 30 June 2013, 2:54 pm in , , , ,

Sometime ago I learnt why time seems to go quicker as you get older. It's simply because each measure of time becomes less and less, in proportion to your entire life.

So, when you are two years old, one year is one half (50%) of your whole life. When you're 25, a year is one twenty-fifth (4%) of your life. Pictorially it looks like this:

graph depicting the different pecentage of life for 2 year old vs 25 year old

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Is the Health Ministry breaching children's rights?

Posted by Philip on 22 September 2012, 1:19 pm in , , , ,

The current Ministry of Health Consultation on Paying Family Carers to Provide Disability Support 2012 considers "options for paying family carers providing disability support to disabled adult family members" (my emphasis).

I am concerned that this seems to exclude family carers providing disability support to disabled children.

I believe the omission of the needs of children, under current policy and in this consultation, is negligent for the following reasons:

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What is diversity? Ask a 7 year old

Posted by Philip on 8 May 2012, 10:25 am in , ,

Here's what my 7-year-old niece answered in a school project asking, "What is Diversity?"

In my opinion Diversity is when you go another country and you learn, National Anthem and eat new foods, see new flags, famous painting. You can learn different languages, see meet new people (friends), different shops, see a new prime minister. New Zealand isn't the same as other countries we might be better than them we might be worse than them but no one cares we are all different.

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