Sleep OR Just One More Check On Instagram, Facebook And Twitter?

It is reported that nine (9) out of ten (10) people are giving up a good night’s sleep so they can stay in touch on the internet.

The driver behind this action? ‘People have a fear of missing out!’

You might have heard all the research now out – showing that the blue light emitted by devices such as mobile phones and tablets, mimics daylight and suppresses production of a brain chemical called melatonin, which helps us sleep. Dr. Chris Idzikowski, Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, says that as technology ‘to keep us connected’ improves, we’re facing a new battle to switch off at night and we should make sure we turn off the technology at least half an hour before bed.

We have been talking with school counselors who say this is such a real issue for children. Parents are seeing changes in the behaviour of their children that are traced back to a general deprivation of sleep. Our ‘online behaviour’ IS addictive – and there comes a point where one simply loses control over ‘putting the technology away’!

As parents – we do have a say in how this can look. Consider looking at our recommendations on this site as to the facts. And keep chatting with other parents and professionals as to how to keep up the boundaries in your home on this issue.

You can read more about sleep and the Internet here.

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9,000,000 Australians use FACEBOOK every day

Are you one of these 9,000,000? I know I am.

In fact 40 percent of Australians visit Facebook every day. (The Age 20/08/13)

One year ago, I would have struggled to believe these figures, but now I can totally see that this is a reality.

If these figures have been exaggerated by the company to show off their product, talking to those I know, the last 12 months have seen people whom I would have thought would NEVER have touch such a media, have Facebook pages themselves.

Pondering this has taken me to ask two questions; where is this ‘new’ form of communication going for a huge segment of the population and what of the other 60% of Australians?

Ten years ago, Facebook was a notion in Mark Zuckerberg’s creative thinking.

What does this look like in ten year’s time from now, for those who are using Facebook everyday NOW and for those who have not or have chosen not to embrace this new way of networking?

I ask these questions when I know I have no gift of foreseeing the future (thankfully!).

I think it is a concern for our wellbeing as a community, as a people, as a family, as individuals.

What do you think?

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Family Filter Says DO NOT ASK

Ask.Fm, the social networking site very much in the news at the moment, have unveiled changes to make its site safer after recent online bullying cases have cause untold damage to families around the world.

It said it would view all reports within 24 hours, make the report button more visible and include bullying and harassment as a category for a report.

REALLY? REALLY? Is this REALLY how they plan to make the site safer?

Allow me to let you know, in case you don’t already, what has taken place over the last two months – JULY and AUGUST 2013.

TWO families have seen their children kill themselves ~ not PURELY because of this site ~ but certainly as a result of having ended up at this social networking site.


David Smith, father of Hannah Smith , 14 years of age, has tragically lived through the horror of seeing her daughter commit suicide. Hannah was found hanged in her home on 2nd August. A parent’s nightmare. He has commended for the action taken to make the site ‘safer’ but has also asked the government to do more in stepping up its regulations.

Sydney Morning Herald reports on this tragedy.

 And the BBC reports on’s response


Daniel, a teenager 17 years of age, jumped off a bridge after leaving messages saying he was better off dead because he didn’t have the money to pay a blackmail threat. Daniel’s mother lives in the aftermath of this tragedy saying “He was a happy laddie, not depressed and the last type of person you would think would take their life.” Daniel became involved in a scam where victims are befriended and tricked into making explicit webcam recordings, these then being used for blackmail. It then emerged that Daniel had been urged to kill himself by anonymous users on

The BBC reports on this.

No matter HOW many safety actions are taken to make these site more secure – reality is – children are better off NOT ASKING STRANGERS about life’s questions …

We need to encourage these conversations between our children and encourage those relationships where there is TRUST and LOVE.


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Family Filter And Teens, Sex And Technology.

When I first saw this brochure I was a little surprised as to the size of the word SEX in the title. HOWEVER, having been to the conference, I can see that this title is actually quite symbolic of what is happening today. Our teens are surrounded by technology and their beautiful sense of who they are as ‘sexual individuals’ is being SURROUNDED by an environment that is pushing in on who our kids see themselves as!

Dr Patricia Weerakoon, a beautifully amusing Christian sex therapist / sexologist / sex everything!, spoke both on the Thursday and the Friday – and to be honest – if we could photocopy her and send her out to every school in the country – our world would be a WAY better place to live in!!!! If you ever get the chance to listen to her – DO! Her frank explantations, complete with a wonderful sense of fun and lightheartedness, bought us to a place where we see how important our conversations are with our young people, about the treasured gift of our sexuality and that our kids CAN stand to protect this in the midst of a world that seems determine to rob it from us.

Collett Smart, another wonderful lady of integrity who presented at the conference; a psychologist / speaker / media commentator you may have already heard of from TV morning shows and from FamilySmart; spoke to the MANY issues that surround our families, teens especially! What I love about her message is, that the world of technology brings a richness to our lives that we have never known in this way before! We were being enlightened by a presentation of the many positive aspects that comes with access to the internet and through the myriad of technical devices that are available to our children today. This was beautiful to hear, as so often we forget that this exists. Collett then took us on a journey that shocked many, making very clear that these ‘positives’ come with dangers. Unprotected and unmanaged, our young teens CAN enter a world that is dark and addictive and she shares of where our children can go when they are exposed to these, and how easy it is for this to happen! The internet sites that she listed are quite accessible to our children. The sites she listed are also unbelievably shocking for our children! WHy would we ever want to leave them vulnerable in these places?

Which brought us to our third speaker of the conference, a man who has sat with the most ‘inaccessible’ teenagers and listened, and empathised, and listened again. Richard Elms is a Christian Councellor who tells the stories of children who HAVE been left in these vulnerable places. The beautifully sensitive way he shared some of their stories, revealed the horrid depths of where some of our children are being taken to. His narrative therapy allows these children to open their thinking, helping them to unlock some of the reasons life has taken them to places they would certainly not choose to go. It seemed to always be a hard journey to take with people. This ‘hurt’ is deep. It was a humble place to sit as we heard these stories.

The combinations of these three speakers certainly bought me back to the title of the conference, to see WHY this needs to be addressed with these priorities. Teens, SEX, technology! It was a VERY helpful combination of schools of thinking and experience. THANK YOU to Patricia, Collett and Richard.

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The Foundations of our Families – rock solid?!

I have just finished taking a beautiful group of parents through this 4 week course on building healthy foundations for FAMILIES.

In most cases, so much of who we are is because of the families we belong to! Our values and the culture that results from those values are often a reflection of those we have grown up with.

An understanding of how these work in building a solid platform off which we ‘launch’ ourselves into the world, is part of appreciating the importance of the family unit.

So what are OUR children ‘launching’ themselves into these days? And how well will they ‘stand up’ to what is thrown to them, at school, in the playground, in their relationships, at work.

My thinking is, by building resilience in our children, they are more likely to have a rock solid foundation to fall back on when the pressures they are under, pull them to and fro.

This Families Course, gives us the privilege of working with parents to help them become more aware of who they are as parents, and how they can empower their children to become responsible, fun loving, rock solid citizens of their own community.What a gift!

If you would like to know more about where these courses are run, OR if you have a group of people who would like to join together to have this course brought to them, contact me here or respond to this blog – and we can help make this happen.

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Put us out of business – Go on – Make our day!

September 7th : To be or not to be? Filtering debate reignited? WIll they or will they not follow UK’s David Cameron’s example, calling on ISPs to introduce ‘family-friendly’ filters for all customers by 2014!

Last year, Australia scrapped the idea of mandatory filtering after a 3 (Three – yes that’s 1+1+1) years of debate!!! The issue that kept them in debate was around the MANDATORY nature of the filtering, seeming to give governments a powerful tool of censorship that was open to abuse.

Cameron has presented the UK with a different, more acceptable, and now implementable option in that it is not mandatory, and homes have the ability to opt out at any time if they so choose!

SO … is the debate dead for Australians or in hibernation?

Both sides are trying the shock tactics in these weeks leading up to the general election, both trying to
out-do each other. We would love it if internet filtering was seen to be a ‘vote winner’ topic and then
taken through to a similar outcome as the UK. With the NBN being ‘out there’ on the platform, surely
both sides could see this as a draw card, taking up the UK’s more conservative option.

Who will play the ‘porn card’ this election. our cry is ~ “PLEASE can SOMEONE stand up and play it!!!!”

See the article found in The AGE here:

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THE NAUGHTY BITS! Education of the best kind!

Our kids can go looking, Or today, it comes looking for our kids!
Its not a new thing.

Kids and teenagers go looking for the ‘naughty bits’ in any literature. Even with the best of Sex Education that our parents, schools, youth groups can provide, there’s still that ‘need to know’ and that ‘sense of curiosity’ as to what its all about!

However, in days gone by, it was something that one would seek out – be it a secret trip to the National Geographics in the library, or a turned down page of a novel where there were some particularly descriptive pieces of writing about a physical encounter of the heroes of the story. Good old Penthouse and Dolly Magazines under the desk! It was often the talk of the playground or the undercover conversations behind the school garden shed. Today, our teenagers are venturing online for their sexual enlightenment and although this is quite understandable, it has two HUGE issues.

Firstly, the material our children are accessing is material that a decade or so ago would have been accessible only in an extreme fetish club! There is a horrendous normalization of violence in sexual encounters that sows a seed in young minds to be played out as ‘this is the way to do it’. Porn also packages sexuality in terms of looks (‘barbie’ sized, non pubic haired girls and six-pack laden, dominating boys) and anything less is a failure.
Violent behaviours seen in porn become indistinguishable from rape.

Look at these examples:

* 16 year old’s long term fascination with porn led him to assault a boy of five because he wanted to know what it felt like.
* 14 year old boy says “Loads of women in porn get tied up and beaten up so women must fantasize about being raped.”
* 14 year old girl from a top independent school tells of her boyfriend watching a lot of porn involving oral sex. He sent video clips to her saying he wanted to try it. She initially consented not wanting to disappoint him – asked him to ‘stop’ when it hurt, but he didnt.
* Slogan: “We take gorgeous young bitches and do what every man would really like to do”
* Another Slogan: “Are you man enough for this?”
* Teenager of professional parents, pretending to do his homework, became stuck in a cycle of addiction, so when at school, would look at his teachers and think about doing to them what he’d seen on the net. HE was so traumatized by these thoughts that he couldn’t wait to get home to log on to his computer because “at least he could control the images here”. He eventually committed an assault. Psychiatrist believe he did it as a cry for help to stop the cycle. (The Week – 22nd June 2013)

Secondly, if the first was not enough, our children are accidentally being exposed to this indecent imagery when they are not even looking for it!! A game of ‘Dr Seuss – GO FISH’, can turn into images of a naked ladies, tied up and being spanked, with a misguided press of a button on the side of the game! Innocence GONE, in one accidental push of a button.

This issue is hopefully manageable with some good filtering.

This generation and the many to come, is being ‘poisoned’ with a soul destroying, culture destroying image of a beautiful gift to humanity – that of sexuality and intimacy. This is Devastating on so many levels.

A Challenge: Sex Education both at home and in schools, needs to step up! I quote a young outreach worker, Shirin Rose Monks, who travels from school to school speaking with teens. “Seeking sexual pleasure as a reason to view online porn, is actually fairly low down on the list of motivations. It’s being used by young people, boys and girls, as a source of information about sex and how it works.

And THEN the trouble lies in the lessons they learn from ‘online sexual enlightenment’!? We need to share with our kids that they will come across pornography online, in some form or another but warn them that this is NOT what most of us think of as sex. Porn sex is often violent, exaggerated constructs that is nothing like the real thing. Learning about sex from this viewpoint is like learning to drive from a phone app game of Simpson Road

Our conversations should be helping our children to know what a healthy sexual relationship should look and feel like? We should be emphasizing that sex is the most intimate way to connect with another human being, and we have a choice in how this happens.

If we dont talk to them about sex, porn will fill the vacuum. And there WILL be a vacuum – because it is part of who we are, part of our created selves, that we express ourselves as sexual beings. And if we dont know how, as humans, we will seek it out!

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What is your child’s favorite toy

What is your child’s favorite toy ?

Walking through the Salamanca markets in Hobart this morning – i was curious to find – in a great little toy shop called “Curious things”, ONE curious little item for sale that (curiously – or perhaps not!) caught my eye. It was a beautifully made wooden toy … Labeled “my first iPhone”. It was a great replica of an iPhone with a set of ear phones that had pieces of chalk as ear pieces and the front screen was a blackboard. I asked the lady why it seemed to be the only item on sale. Her response was – they just don’t sell!!!! Kids want to real thing. Because they can have the real thing. Because parents give them the real thing! And we’ve all seen it. Or happily admit to the fact maybe, that we’ve done it! Given our kids an iPhone at a cafe to keep them entertained. Allowed them to play games on our iPad because some of them truly are great!

Hopefully, the attraction of the good old fashioned wooden toy has not been lost on this technically able, up and coming generation. I so hope not!! (I took a photo of this curious phenomena. Hope it comes out!)

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