Saturday, 24 October 2015

Vlogging,Youtube and teaching kids to keep personal details private

My 10 year daughter is obsessed with vloggers, especially Zoella, Bratayley, MylifeasEva, ThatcherJoe, MoreZoella, NerdyNummies, How To Cook That, My Cupcake Addiction and Cookies Cupcakes and Cardio.

Personally I don't get it. All it is is people going around and talking into their phones and doing normal, boring things.

But she can't get enough of it!

I even find her now, sitting there making her own little videos or pretending to make them.

"Hi everybody" you hear her; "It's Betty here from Five Children and Dog. Today I'm playing the Sims 4 and here's how you can play it too!"

What about your children? Are they into vlogging as well? Do they want their own youtube account? At what age would you let them? Do you teach them about sharing too much information?

A few weeks ago Betty came to me and showed me a video on YouTube that two of her classmates had made and I was shocked at how much information they had shared. In the video they told people their real names, where they live, how old they are, their school name, when their birthday was and their likes and dislikes.

After watching the video I contacted the mothers of the girls concerned to let them know and I also contacted the school who held a special class to go over internet safety with the whole school. I then sat down with my children and we chatted about the importance of not sharing personal details on social media, especially details that could help someone work out who they were and where they lived. Betty asked me why I used an alias on my blog for for them all, so I explained it was to help protect them.
"Imagine I used your real name and posted a picture of you and someone who read my blog saw you in the street." I explained. "They could come over and pretend to be my friend and by telling you things which I had posted online they could make you believe I did know them and it was safe to go with them. Now if I always used an alias for you, the fact that they didn't know your real name would tell you they weren't really my friend and you would know not to go with them.

Children are using the internet more and more, to connect with their friends and for schoolwork, so it is important they know how to keep safe. Parental controls can only do so much, we also have to teach them..

My daughter uses Skype to connect with her friends and she plays Roblox, but she also knows not to add anyone she doesn't know in real life as a friend or to say anything online that she wouldn't say to someone's face. I've also told her not to share a picture she wouldn't want everyone to see as a picture is never as private as you might think, all it takes is one person saving it and sharing it for it to go viral.

But the most important thing I teach them all is that mistakes happen and if anything happens which has them scared, worried or concerned or somebody asks them to do something they don't want to or think they shouldn't do, then I am always here for them to talk to them and to help them deal with it. They don't have to deal with it alone!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

I do believe in Faries

Whilst walking Dog this morning,  we made an incredible find!

Proof that Faries do actually exist.

But sadly for this poor fairy, someone must not believe because every time someone says they don't believe a fairy dies

Friday, 16 October 2015

England 5p Bag Charge - Why all the fuss?

On the 5th October 2015, England became the last part of the UK to start charging 5p for plastic carrier bags and since then my newsfeed on Facebook have been full of stories about it. Stories of people taking home their shopping trolleys, stores putting security tags on their 10p bags for life or their shopping basket etc making it appear that they English will do anything to avoid the 5p bag charge.

I live in Wales which introduced the 5p bag charge on the 1st October 2011 and at the time I was working in one of the well known supermarkets on the tills. In fact, the Wales bag charge goes further than the English charge by insisting all shops which sell anything inc takeaways, hairdressers, clothes shops, corner shops, butchers, bakery's etc must charge for a bag, whilst in England only the bigger stores which employ more than 250 or equivalent full-time staff. have to charge (although smaller shops can voluntarily charge)

Yet when the Welsh bag charge came into affect I don't remember any of this fuss. Yes people complained and you would see them stagger out of the shop with their arms full of their shopping, but I don't remember us having to place security tags on baskets or bags.

As the months turned into years the people of Wales got used to bringing their own bags and on the whole, most people I spoke to agreed with the charge. The only time I used to get complaints was from tourists from England (those from Scotland and Ireland were also used to the bag charge) who would moan that it was unfair and their local branch of our supermarket chain didn't charge so why did we. I would always calmly explain that it was Welsh law and that the 5p was going to charity (including which charity their 5p would be going to) and that I thought it was a good idea.

I've noticed since the bag charge came into affect there are less carrier bags spoiling our beautiful surroundings by hanging in trees and bushes or in streams or hurting our wildlife. Not to mention that it takes 10-20 years for a plastic bag to decompose (source - Recycling About). Making people pay for their bags has made them look after them better, even using less. I remember before the bag charge I had one lady who came to my till and who insisted on double bagging all her items and using a separate bag for every 2 items. I worked it out afterwards that she must have taken 10 bags for 10 items! Which is excessive no matter which way you look at it!

Shortly before the English bag charge came into affect, Money Saving Expert did a poll on where people lived and whether they agreed with the bag charge or not and it was very interesting reading. The majority of the Welsh (67%), Scottish (61%) and Northern Irish (55%) people agreed with the bag charge and that 5p was a fair amount compared to those who didn't agree (Wales 13%, Scotland 20% and Northern Ireland 16%) whilst in England the result was a lot more split with 41% for the charge and 33% against. This is even more interesting when you take into account that England was the only part of the UK that wasn't charging for carrier bags at the time.

So what are your views on the 5p bag charge? Do you agree with it?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Home from Holiday

Returning from holiday is always a let down. But what is really surprising is how quickly you get back into routine and how long ago your holiday seems. Only five days ago we were busy working locks as we descended through the Trent and Mersey canal at Wheelock into Middlewich to return our boat, yet it already seems a lifetime ago!

Whilst we enjoyed our holiday it seems to have made my 12 year old son Robert's anxiety worse and this morning he didn't want to go to school. Ever since starting secondary school last year his behaviour has deteriorated drastically. We had always had trouble with his behaviour in school, but this past year it has gotten worse and he has finally been seen by CAMHS (Child and Mental Health Services). I do feel a lot of anger towards his primary school as they should have picked up on his anxiety and behavioural issues earlier, but sadly they didn't. Thankfully his new school is very understanding and supportive of him and it is because of his new school that we have gotten as far as we have, with a CAMHS assessment, in only a few months (we discovered how severe his behaviour was at Easter when we met with the school's SEN (Special Educational Needs) teacher and educational psychologist).

Betty, my 10 year old daughter is happy to be back at school, she is the complete opposite of her brother, where I have to drag Robert to school I have to force Betty to stay home if she's ill. She loves learning and school and being surrounded by her friends. 

Georgie, my 8 year old daughter is also happy to be back at school and with her friends. Georgie is my quiet and undemanding daughter who lives in her own little world half the time. 

Clare is my 5 year old daughter who is very demanding. She doesn't like being five and wishes she was still a baby and acts like a baby a lot. Bedtimes are often a problem with her refusing to go to bed, refusing to stay in bed and usually ending up in our bed during the night! She was also upset to learn she had missed, not one but two, parties whilst we were away.

As for Emma, or as I like to call her Dora the Explorer, she's happy wherever she is, as long as she's with me and she can explore... oh and watch Sofia the First as well!

Last but not least we have little Dog, our 10 week old Staffy puppy. She's definitely glad to be home, she didn't like having to spend so much time in her crate whilst we were away or my parents dog growling every time she got too near. Also now she's had her 2nd injection she is free to go on walks!