Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Parenting

The Hot New Back-to-School Accessory? An Air Quality Monitor

The Hot New Back-to-School Accessory? An Air Quality Monitor

Technology
When Lizzie Rothwell, an architect in Philadelphia, sent her son to third grade this fall, she stocked his blue L.L. Bean backpack with pencils, wide-ruled paper — and a portable carbon dioxide monitor.The device gave her a quick way to assess how much fresh air was flowing through the school. Low levels of CO2 would indicate that it was well-ventilated, reducing her son’s odds of catching the coronavirus.But she quickly discovered that during lunch, CO2 levels in the cafeteria rose to nearly double those recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She shared what she’d learned with the principal and asked if students could eat outside instead.“He expressed surprise that I had any data at all,” she said.Ms. Rothwell is one of a growing number of parents who are sneaking CO2 ...
Parents sound off on testimony about the harms of Facebook and Instagram.

Parents sound off on testimony about the harms of Facebook and Instagram.

Technology
The testimony on Tuesday from Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower, about how Facebook and Instagram can be addictive and harmful to children, set off anger among parents online.Some parents questioned their own complicity in allowing their young children to have social media accounts. Others blamed the platforms for harmful content.Some Twitter users wrote that they had seen firsthand how social media platforms like Instagram had led to body image issues for their children and to bullying. Many said they were not surprised by some of Ms. Haugen’s revelations and had suspected that social media was bad for teenagers all along.Others said they were rethinking allowing their children to create social media accounts and to interact with others online, often ...

They Want to Hand Your Kid a Debit Card. What Do You Do?

Business
Then, a few basics. If you’re seeking regular allowance distribution and management, most services can handle that. But if you’re paying your children for chores and want to check tasks off on a line-item basis before pushing money onto a kid’s card, that’s a feature that you should select for specifically. Gohenry does this, and FamZoo helped pioneer it.Also, what financial behaviors do you wish to encourage — or change? Many parents like to reward savings with automatic interest-rate boosts or goal-based bonuses. “That allows parents to exaggerate the point to make the point,” said Tim Sheehan, Greenlight’s co-founder. So check for that feature if it’s important to you. Greenlight offers it, and FamZoo has a strong offering, too.Then, there’s the goal of overarching financial literacy. T...
New Limits Give Chinese E-Gamers Whiplash

New Limits Give Chinese E-Gamers Whiplash

Business
Many in China’s gaming industry agree that games have some downsides. The most popular games in the country are made for smartphones and are free to play, meaning the businesses making them live and die based on how well they draw users in and get them to pay for extras. The game makers have become experts at hooking players.But top-down attempts to wean children off games — what state media has called “poison” and “spiritual pollution” — have sometimes been worse than the problem itself. Boot camps fond of military discipline have proliferated. So have Chinese media accounts of abuses, like beatings, electroconvulsive therapy and solitary confinement.Even the country’s past ban on consoles like the PlayStation made things worse, Mr. Shi said. That ban helped propel the popularity of the f...
Whales So Close You Can Touch Them: An Adventure in Canada

Whales So Close You Can Touch Them: An Adventure in Canada

Travel
The trail to our yurt was narrow, muddy and peppered with tiny ceramic and plastic gnomes, fairies and bears. My 8-year-old daughter, clutching her stuffed giraffe and gingerly avoiding the knotty roots, spotted a miniature tiger, crouched at the base of a pine tree.She was too weary to offer it anything more than a casual nod as she trudged along behind her father and 11-year-old brother, weighted down by her pink sequined backpack and the six-and-a-half hours we’d spent on the road from Montreal to get here, to a town called Sacré-Coeur that hugs the Saguenay River in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec.It was late June 2019 and we had come here in search of whales, traveling roughly 300 miles northeast from Montreal, crossing the Saguenay by ferry, and driving the final mile on a dirt road t...
The Best of Tiny Love Stories

The Best of Tiny Love Stories

LifeStyle
By Miya LeeBy now, you might have seen — or heard about — the second season of the “Modern Love” TV series on Prime Video.Seven of the eight episodes in this anthology series were inspired by a Modern Love essay, and one, “Strangers on a (Dublin) Train,” starring Kit Harington and Lucy Boynton, by a 99-word Tiny Love Story.To celebrate our Tiny Love Stories, the 100-words-or-less pieces we consider “Modern Love in miniature,” we rounded up 10 of the most poignant, funny and poetic published submissions.If you’re looking for even more, we also have a book.Enjoy!Strangers on a TrainWe met on a train from Paris to Barcelona. Sitting next to one another, we argued over who could use the power outlet. “Désolé, je crois que c’est a moi.” (“Sorry, I think it’s mine.”) Instant crush. A perfect, fl...
Return to Work? Not With Child Care Still in Limbo, Some Parents Say.

Return to Work? Not With Child Care Still in Limbo, Some Parents Say.

Business
Brianna McCain left her job as an office manager when the pandemic started, to care for her two young daughters. By last spring, she was ready to go back to work. But she hasn’t been able to, because her children are still at home.She has been searching for a job with flexible hours and the ability to work from home, but these are hard to find, especially for new hires and for hourly workers. She can’t take an in-person job until school opens for her 6-year-old, and her district, in Portland, Ore., has not announced its plans. She also needs child care for her 2-year-old that costs less than she earns, but child care availability is far below prepandemic levels, and prices have increased to cover the costs of Covid safety measures.“When you’re getting into a new job especially, there isn’t...
China’s Parents Say For-Profit Tutoring Ban Helps Only the Rich

China’s Parents Say For-Profit Tutoring Ban Helps Only the Rich

Business
Zhang Hongchun worries that his 10-year-old daughter isn’t getting enough sleep. Between school, homework and after-school guitar, clarinet and calligraphy practice, most nights she doesn’t get to bed before 11. Some of her classmates keep going until midnight.“Everyone wants to follow suit,” Mr. Zhang said. “No one wants to lose at the starting line.”In China, the competitive pursuit of education — and the better life it promises — is relentless. So are the financial pressures it adds to families already dealing with climbing house prices, caring for aging parents and costly health care.The burden of this pursuit has caught the attention of officials who want couples to have more children. China’s ruling Communist Party has tried to slow the education treadmill. It has banned homework, cu...
The Messy Truth About Kids’ Screen Time

The Messy Truth About Kids’ Screen Time

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.The belief that screen time IS ROTTING OUR KIDS’ BRAINS AND BODIES is getting a do-over.Before and particularly during the pandemic, parents, physicians and researchers have been gravitating to a more nuanced message that might be both comforting and confusing: Screen time or technology can be good for children but also bad. It depends.Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson, a child development expert and mom, said that it’s long overdue to move away from extreme and unrealistic views about children’s screen time. She told me that there are few absolutes about what children should or shouldn’t do with technology and media. And it would be helpful if caregivers weren’t made to feel judged no matter their choices....
I Gave Birth, but My Husband Developed Postpartum Depression

I Gave Birth, but My Husband Developed Postpartum Depression

LifeStyle
“The actual DSM diagnosis of depression doesn’t always fit how men experience depression,” Dr. Fisher said. For men, symptoms may include frustration, agitation and irritability, an increase in dopamine-boosting activities (drinking, drugs, gambling) and isolation.That was my husband — frustrated, irritable and detached. He went to bed before 7 p.m., claiming exhaustion, though I was the one getting up with our daughter every night. He snapped at the littlest things. He just wanted to be left alone.I tried to help with pep talks: “She’s a good kid! We’re so lucky!” Then I remembered how, when I was depressed, such cheerleading only made me feel worse, as if I was letting others down with my inability to snap out of it.So I whisked our daughter off to playgrounds, giving him time to lounge ...