Archive for the Media Category

Frontline Documentary: Growing Up Online

Posted in Current events, education, family, Media, Parenting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 24, 2008 by len20

If you missed the PBS Frontline documentary “Growing Up Online,” you can watch the entire show on the Frontline website. I think it was very well done.

The reaction to the documentary ranges from accusing the producers of creating another alarmist piece of journalism about the internet age, to complimenting them for embracing the reality that the internet and all that is scary about it is here to stay, and parents and educators need to figure out how to live in that world alongside their kids.

They do a good job of segmenting the various issues of teenagers and the internet:

  • Educating the internet generation
  • Online sexual predators
  • Kids spending too much time online
  • Internet anonymity: trying on new identities
  • Cyberbullying – A very interesting look at a new arena for abuse

“Growing Up Online” argues that the gap between generations (parents and their teenage children) has never been wider. This probably scared me more than anything else. The show features a white suburban family who, by all appearances, have everything going for them. But the relationship between the mother and her teenage son has been strained to a near breaking point. It’s a classic struggle between the parent who wants to protect her kid, and the kid who feels that he’s old enough to have a part of his life be completely private from his parents. After an incident where the mother (head of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization) sends an email to other parents regarding the happenings at a rock concert, the son cuts off all possible interaction (within his control) with his family.

This would kill me. I want to have a relationship with my daughter even when she’s a teenager. I don’t want to have to wait out those years until she grows out of a stage and realizes that I set certain boundaries because I loved her and wanted to protect her.

One of the best things that my mother ever did for me when I was in high school was to tell me (more than once) that if I was ever in a place or a situation that I wanted out of, I could call her; she would come and get me with no questions asked. I didn’t have to tell her a thing. She just wanted to help me get out of there.

Parenting scares me. This documentary points to evidence that it’s not getting any easier from one generation to the next.

The Frontline website has a number of resources, an ongoing discussion, and more information than one can possibly take in.

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Charles Taylor is back on trial – the man is pure evil

Posted in Africa, Current events, Media with tags , , on January 7, 2008 by len20

Charles Tayor on trialI noticed that Charles Taylor is back on trial today. If you don’t know his brand of evil you can read about it in this CNN article.

Taylor, who was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, sexual slavery and violence, and enslavement. He also faces five counts of war crimes, including acts of terrorism and torture, and one count of other serious violations of international humanitarian law.

Taylor, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, is accused of fueling a bloody civil war in Sierra Leone that led to widespread murder, rape, and mutilation.

The remnants of his brutality are still very plain to see in Liberia. In addition to the bullet holes in buildings, the absence of electricity or running water, and the 80% unemployment, there is no shortage of homeless teenagers and twenty-somethings with missing limbs and appendages from serving as child soldiers in his war.

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Study: Adoption Not Harmful to Child’s Self-Esteem

Posted in Adoption, Media, Orphan Care with tags , , , on November 25, 2007 by len20

I’m still searching for a print version of this story, but for now you can listen to it on NPR. I did my best to scribble down notes as I listened to the story, so I’ve likely misspelled some names and gotten some details mixed up. Feel free to correct me.

I think there are some common fears that come with thinking through adoption. Mine especially is what if my adopted child can’t get over being adopted, can’t get over being different from his siblings and he just isn’t happy about it. A study recently published in the journal, Psychological Bulletin is very encouraging to anyone experiencing similar fears.

Femmie Juffer, a Dutch psychologist, used data from more than 80 different studies along with her own research to blow up the assumption that adopted children suffer lower self-esteem than other children. Her conclusions also say that kids adopted into families that are of a different race or culture are no worse off either. “Race just doesn’t matter as much as people thought it did,” she says.

Juffer also reports that psychology’s focus on very early childhood might be overdone. She found no difference in kids adopted between ages one and four, and those adopted before their first birthday. Kids who become part of a loving, stable family are able to adjust fully and overcome traumatic experiences in their first years of life.

The article says that many adopted children exhibit some developmental delays in physical growth, language skills, and school performance, but they quickly catch up with their peers.

Steve Nickman, a psychologist from Harvard, says that Juffer’s report is very encouraging, but has some limitations. It does not talk about kids who are moved from family to family in a foster care system or from one possible adoptive family to another.

In the end, it looks like parents interested in adoption have little to fear regarding children’s ability to adjust to a new family.

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The Buzz about Bella

Posted in Adoption, Current events, family, Media, Orphan Care with tags , , , on November 12, 2007 by len20

Has anyone heard about the movie, Bella? I got to see a screening of it at a big Orphan Care summit in Colorado Springs last Spring. It was a very good movie. There is a subtle pro-life thrust to the over-all story about a soccer star, Jose, wrestling with his guilt after hitting and killing a young girl with his car when she ran into the street. Jose’s life falls apart until he discovers that an acquaintance is considering an abortion and he takes it upon himself to listen to and support her as she struggles with this decision.

The producers of the film are using grassroots marketing techniques to get the word out on the film, which I’ve come to admire. The Bella website has all kinds of materials to equip people to promote the film. The website also includes a growing list of theaters that are showing the film. Theaters are added as the buzz grows and independent donations come in.

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