Tag Archives: children

#Facebook selling children’s pain

Just read an article on the Passive Guy about ‘…a leaked confidential document prepared by Facebook that revealed the company had offered advertisers the opportunity to target 6.4 million younger users, some only 14 years old, during moments of psychological vulnerability, such as when they felt “worthless,” “insecure,” “stressed,” “defeated,” “anxious,” and like a “failure.”

I was shocked. I’ve never made any secret of the fact that I don’t like Facebook. I’ve even compared Facebook to Big Brother, but this? This goes beyond anything that I would call ‘normal’ business practices. Is this truly the shape of the new world? Are we truly prepared to accept this behaviour as normal?

But wait, there’s more. One of the comments to the article was this:

‘ If you are that entwined with Facebook then you pretty much deserve what you get.’

Really? I replied with this:

‘I’m Australian and I don’t automatically blame the victim. I loathe Facebook and the more I learn about it the more I hate what it’s doing. If this article is accurate, then it’s Facebook that deserves condemnation, not the young and vulnerable who are only doing what millions? billions? of other vulnerable people are doing worldwide…’

Facebook is a monster that we created because we are the only product that Mark Zuckerberg sells. Think about it.


The Rights of Children

I received this comment from Brandi Walton today :

‘What is your response to children who were raised by gays and say things like “I deserved a mom, or I wanted a dad.” “I wish I hadn’t been created just because two lesbians wanted a kid. It’s not fair I don’t know my other biological parent.”
I ask this sincerely.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised no short answer was possible because there are so many questions implied within that one comment. On the one hand there is the issue common to adopted children of not knowing who their biological parent[s] are and hence, not knowing what their own DNA/family heritage may be. That is real. And then there is the plaintive ‘I wanted a dad.’ I adored my Dad so I could hardly ignore that one. But what of :

  • ‘I deserved a mom’?
  • ‘I wish I hadn’t been created just because two lesbians wanted a kid’?

I believe every child deserves to be protected and cherished and loved. If any of those needs are not met then the child’s parents deserve to be censured, but I can’t see how their gender makes a difference. I also can’t see how their marital status makes a difference. There are bad married parents; there are bad de facto parents; there are bad single parents; there are parents who abandon their children, either to the state or to the care of grandparents or aunts and uncles; there are parents who should never have conceived a child at all because they lack the ability to look after themselves, let alone a child. But in all these sad situations, being gay is not the cause; being gay is simply a fact, like being blond rather than brunette.

Unfortunately, I suspect that Brandi is not talking about that kind of bad parenting; I think she is talking about parenting that makes the child feel ‘different’ to her peers. Not fitting in can be a terrible thing. I know because I have never fitted in.

My parents and I arrived in Australia when I was just four. We were asylum seekers from the Hungarian Revolution of 1957. We did not speak English and we acted ‘strange’. My Mother insisted on bringing me hot lunches and sitting with me at school while I ate. She also brought delicious cakes for the other little kids, but I would have preferred eating sand. But that was nothing compared to her insistence that I wear trousers during winter – ugly, boyish trousers while all the other little girls ran around in frilly skirts and short socks. They almost froze but at least they were…feminine.

And then there was that weird European obsession with learning. While the rest of the kids were having a good time and messing around, my Dad expected me to actually pay attention and learn stuff. Yup, I fit in so well I could have been scarred for life and yet, my parents were hetero.

Now, as a parent myself, I know that no matter how hard I try and how good my intentions may be, I will still get things wrong. But my daughter forgives me because she knows how much I love her.

And speaking of love, I have to say that my Dad was the best Dad on earth. He was a real hands-on father before the term was even invented. He helped me with my homework and took me to ballet classes, taught me to think logically and question everything while holding my hand as I learned how to rollerskate and ride a bicycle. He taught me about beauty and honour and justice, all without raising his hand against me.

My Dad was a good parent, a very good parent, but you know what? Dad was good because of who he was, not because he was a male. His maleness was irrelevant. It’s the person that counts, not the gender.

And finally the question about heritage. I cannot imagine not knowing my parents or the history of our family. Heritage is part of who we are. It’s not everything, but it is an important part and I believe all children should be given that information. The laws are slowly changing to reflect that need, but I can imagine that some children conceived with donor sperm may have a terrible need to know the other half of their heritage. Sadly, the need to use donor sperm is not restricted to lesbian couples and the heartache of the children concerned is a deficit of the law rather than the relationship between the parents.

Finally, I have to wonder whether the child of lesbian parents is so bitter because she lacks a father, or because she clashes with her mother the way I clashed with mine?

My hope is that one day we will all take marriage equality for granted and allow little kids to go to school without being tormented for being ‘different’. I was tormented for looking different; boys like Kenneth James Weishuhn are tormented for being gay. Does any child deserve that? I don’t think so.






Drowning does NOT look like drowning

In many child drownings, adults are nearby but have no idea the victim is dying. Here’s what to look for.

Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why….”

Please, please follow this link to Sunnysleevez blog post on what to look for re drowning. In that post you will learn about the Instinctive Drowning Response, and what it looks like from the perspective of someone outside the pool looking in. This is vital where small children are concerned. But it also applies to adults.

I’m Australian, but I was born in Hungary, and when I was twenty-one I traveled to Hungary to visit my relatives. I was there during summer, and my aunt took me to a huge swimming pool complex called the Palatinus.

Picture a stinking hot day with the sun beating down on hundreds of people, all swimming and playing in the  open air swimming pools. Now picture a long rectangular pool with the shallow ends being along the sides instead of at one end the way ours are.

I assumed the whole pool would be shallow. So I waded in from the side and dove underwater. I swam a few metres to the middle, and put my feet down…

I don’t know whether I exhaled because I expected my feet to touch bottom and my head to be above water, or from surprise. But my feet kept going down and my lungs were virtually empty.

My feet never touched bottom so I could kick my way up. The deep end was straight down the middle. I could see the surface, but I just couldn’t seem to reach it.

I remember this terrible feeling of disbelief when I realised I was going down for the third time. That meant I was drowning didn’t it? But how could I drown in a pool full of people? Yet that is exactly what was happening.  I suddenly knew I was drowning.

Until that moment I’d been fairly calm, just working to reach the surface, and maybe feeling a little silly. And then the panic set in.

According to the research, they don’t know what people are doing with their feet while they go through this drowning response, but I can tell you. You kick madly. Not consciously perhaps, but you do kick. I know because I kicked someone. Hard.

That kick is the only reason I’m here to write this post. It got me to the surface with enough force to let me go horizontal and start swimming. I made it out to the edge of the pool on my own. And not one of those happy, laughing, splashing people knew I was drowning.

My near-drowning happened because :

a) I did not know the place in which I was swimming, and didn’t realise I was way out of my depth, and

b) I had learned bad habits – i.e. exhaling too soon.

Little kids are always out of their depth, and they probably have as many bad habits as I did. Put those two things together and you can have a dead child in 60 seconds. And you won’t know a thing until someone notices that child floating quietly below the surface.

I was so very lucky. Too many kids aren’t.



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