INTERNET SAFETY AND KIDS

INTERNET SAFETY BLOG TITLE

IS YOUR CHILD SAFE ONLINE?

The internet is amazing and opens up a whole world of captivating experiences for children. However with the digital world constantly evolving how do we as parents ensure our children are protected?

Parental controls

These are key to keeping your child safe online. They can be implemented to impede distressing or dangerous content, control in-app purchases or manage how much time your child spends online. What can appear to be a harmless search can often produce not so harmless results. If you are concerned about what they maybe looking for on the internet, or who they are conversing with discuss the matter with them. In addition parental controls are key to help protect them and they are straightforward to implement.

Parental controls are software and tools which parents and carers can set up on mobile phones, tablets, laptops, games consoles and the home broadband. They can be utilised to prevent your child seeing  inappropriate content when searching online.

In addition these controls are there to aide parents to limit the amount of time a child spends online and to prevent them downloading age inappropriate apps.

Kids Devices

With an ever increasing number of children having access to a smartphone or tablet here are 5 tips to protect them when online.

  1. Use app store settings to show only age appropriate apps. Check age ratings of apps you are not familiar with.
  2. Ensure app and in app purchases require a password.
  3. Turn off location services so that your child’s location isn’t unintentionally shared with others.
  4. Switch on Google Safesearch to block  explicit images, videos, and websites from Google Search results.  For phones and tablets go to SEARCH settings
  • Find the “SafeSearch filters” section.
  • To turn on SafeSearch, tap Filter explicit results.
  • To turn off SafeSearch, tap Show most relevant results
  • At the bottom of the screen, tap Save.

5. Turn on YouTube Restricted Mode to bar mature content.

 

Agree Digital BoundariesGirl-with-mobile-phone-007

The most important point is to talk to your child about being responsible when online and possibly sharing images  and other content.

 

Have regular conversations with them about what they are doing online and stress the importance of 2 way communication so that you can help to ensure their browsing experience is a safe one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Millions Missing – Our family’s experience of dealing with M.E.

“Millions Missing” is the theme of this year’s M.E. Association fundraising. Millions of people missing from everyday life because they are at home too unwell to attend school or work, and millions missing in funding to find a cure. Sounds unreal, doesn’t it? That’s the situation for many people including up to 40,000 12-18 year olds in England alone who are too unwell to attend school. Chronic fatigue syndrome or M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) often comes about after a period of viral infection. The experience of my 14-year-old son has been an eye opener for our family. It has resulted in tonnes of doctors’ appointments, try this or that, tonnes of missed school hours and missed hours of work for mum. We  hope that at some stage he will be well enough to make even 2 hours a week in school. Here’s our story so far to make more people aware of this devastating illness and its’ effect on the sufferer and their family  and also in the hope that people will donate to this year’s campaign. Included are 2 free PDFs from the M.E. association and other useful informational links at the end of the blog.

Our Story

We live in Scotland. In February 2016, our son who had been happy and healthy , suddenly became unwell with 2 weeks of gastric symptoms after eating an in date, properly heated chicken ready meal.  After 2 weeks, the GP decided to check him for e-coli, campylobacter and salmonella. All 3 results were clear. Further tests for bacterial infection, limes disease, thyroid and diabetes were also clear. After 2 weeks he was exhausted, slept all but 4 hours a day from 6pm to 10pm and would not eat or drink much. Several weeks later still the same. The GP told us that this was just a virus and would go in its’ own time. It was diagnosed as post viral fatigue, quite common. Several months later he was still not able to attend school and still sleeping so in frustration we asked about a Paediatric referral but were told that there was no point as all the tests had been carried out. We sought an independent opinion to find out that there was only one specialist in Aberdeen dealing with endocrinological issues for anyone under 16 in Scotland. With an exhausted child who had extreme light sensitivity, felt dizzy and sick and could not travel anywhere or handle even small noises this was not an option. We were advised the best idea would be an endocrinologist or gastroenterologist to cover hormones, gastric and all other options. We saw both!

The gastroenterologist did not believe in the condition and was of no use other than suggesting a colonoscopy and gastroscopy to check if he had an upset stomach. The M.E. nurse advised against general anaesthetic with ME. The endocrinologist confirmed M.E (which is one of the hardest things to get a confirmed diagnosis for). He felt that our son would get better very soon but could not suggest anything other than trying to get into some sort of routine.

We began searching the web who to get the best  advice from and came across the ME association Facebook page. This was a great help. We contacted Dr Charles Shepherd of the ME Association who suggested getting in touch with the homeopathic hospital at Gartnavel. We were assigned an M.E. nurse who had experienced M.E herself and  who was very supportive and recommended a gluten free diet to cure the gut initially. Although she could advise and recommend homeopathic things to try she could not treat our son as he was 14 rather than over 16. The centre can only deal with adults for rehabilitation and monitoring. We started chatting online with some other ME association Facebook users with teens in similar situations which was both depressing but also in some ways encouraging to hear that others were coping with their education in some way despite their illness.

Facts

The problem with ME is that there IS no routine. Some days the sufferer sleeps all day and are up all night. Some days they sleep all day and night. Some days they are up and sleep more or less normal hours. The problem being everyone’s symptoms differ but more or less with our son we can confirm these trends:

  • Permanent pain all over the body which moves about in severity and which no painkiller works for
  • Brain fog so they cannot read or write easily and forget things
  • Pain and fatigue when talking or walking, dressing, showering, using stairs or even getting up out of bed
  • Pain during sleep that wakes them even if they do sleep and no sleep relieves the pain or fatigue
  • Off food and not wanting to eat anything
  • When they do eat, there are gastric issues within half an hour of eating
  • Eating any sugar seems to completely flatten them so they need to sleep within 15 minutes or so of eating even the slightest amount.

The symptoms differ from person to person and some are so severe they are wheelchair and house bound. As a result, over a period of time sufferers can also become quite depressed – out of school, missing their friends, no social interaction other than online and no normal lifestyle.

Where we are now

Eventually we obtained a referral to a Paediatrician who redid all the tests to re-diagnose M.E. herself. The biggest help has been the M.E. nurse referring us to a Physiotherapist who has not been able to do any work but has chatted to us and actually asked the real question “But who is helping you both coordinate all this between school, physio, psychology, ophthalmology, M.E. nurse, GP, dietitian, and specialists?” The answer here was MUM! She referred us on to a NHS paediatrician who has helped coordinate all the appointments. For school the ASN (additional support needs) Outreach tutor has got involved to offer an hour a week helping coordinate school work. If your child develops what looks like M.E. then I highly recommend getting put under even a general NHS specialist so that for all future specialists’ appointments and education needs, all have access to your confirmed diagnosis. Insist your GP do this referral early on. You need the NHS to help get educational assistance that your child is entitled to.

Lessons Learned

Dealing with work has been hard. I have my own business so can work from home in the afternoons. We also have grandparents in the same street. A good personal support network is important. I have spoken to others who have had to permanently give up their work. Not easy if you have financial constraints. Also, dealing with friends and family can be hard. No one understands unless they know someone who has M.E. They ask if you are better today or getting better. This can be frustrating as there are not continual signs of improvement with ME. It’s a roller coaster. It’s said that sufferers normally just suddenly improve over a few days and there is no build up to this. Some sufferers, unfortunately never recover.

Dealing with people who think you are a “weak parent” and should just MAKE them go in to school or MAKE them walk up the street is difficult. I have found that it’s best to walk away and not get into the conversation. It’s unhelpful and you need to understand that they just don’t get it. Not everyone will. The PACE method (balancing activity and rest to help manage M.E) can have mixed results. It works for some and not for others. M.E. is not like a physical muscular problem. Pull a muscle then you loosen it up and walk a bit more each day, build it up and hey presto, you are then better. With M.E. you walk out into the back garden and can be sleeping the next 3 days or walk a bit further because you feel better and you can be flattened for a week.

There has also been some press about ME being a psychological problem. This can be unhelpful and hurtful. You try to be in pain for a year, not go out of the house, not attend school, not see friends, not be able to think straight, not eat, not cope with light without headaches and then be told it’s in your head! I read one teenagers’ story saying ME is equivalent to doing a transatlantic flight 3 times in a row without sleeping, then going in to work and working through the night, not having any food or drink while doing this then repeating this for weeks on end and then trying to do a normal daily routine. That’s M.E.

I hope that if anyone is struggling with this illness or knows someone who is, or you empathise for people with ME by reading this blog, then please donate so that a cure can be found. Here’s the link to donate: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/meassociation/goblue4me-2017

M.E. affects children and adults, and there is no real understanding of who is getting it and why. A cure is needed and hopefully soon.

Ann-Maree

MD of Labels4Kids

Helpful sites

http://www.meassociation.org.uk/

http://www.tymestrust.org/

https://www.facebook.com/ME-Association-171411469583186/

M.E. related e-books

Just-Diagnosed-FINAL-3-FOR-PRINTING-28-Oct-copy

Explaining-ME-to-other-people-May-2017

BBC Podcast on M.E.

Listen from 1 hour 33 minutes in the recording

Listen here

 

 

 

5 Allergy and Medical Alert Tips for your Kids

If your child has an allergy or any other medical condition, you want to make sure that teachers, friends and family are aware of this. Carrying around a letter with long-winded advice can be quite inconvenient and time-consuming. Here are some tips on how you can make your child’s (and your own) life easier when living with a medical condition.

1. Talk to your child

mum and child (1)

Especially if your child is very young, make sure to explain why he or she cannot do the same thing friends can do. If he or she has to miss out on certain activities, try and suggest alternatives so they don’t feel left out. Encourage them to be honest about how they feel and make sure they understand their illness; for example, why they have to eat special biscuits instead of the ones their friends bring to school.

2. Make hospital appointments fun

Well… we all know that going to see the doctor isn’t the most fun activity ever. But there are definitely ways to make these visits more pleasant for you and your child. When I was a child and had to go to the hospital for check-ups every week, my parents would often take me to the nearby botanical garden or we would have a meal somewhere after the appointment. So I actually have lots of good memories of that time! Pack their favourite book, a board game or, if you have time, plan a fun activity before or after the appointment – the visits won’t seem quite as bad as before.

3. Talk to teachers or carers

medicine box

Your child spends a lot of time at school, so it is important that teachers know about their medical condition. This will also be useful if your child needs to take time off school for doctor’s appointments. Our bag and jacket tags are an excellent way to label items such as bags and coats and have all the important information handy. Our bag tags offer space for 4 lines –  plenty of room for your emergency contact details and a medical alert image. Thanks to the bright colours, the bag tags are very easy to spot, too!

4. Vinyl Allergy Labels

allergy

Our Allergy Labels are handy and quick to design as they come with selection of different allergy symbols. They are easily visible, dishwasher-safe and handy for personal belongings such as lunchboxes and bottles. Alternatively, we offer large vinyl labels which you can customise with even more images and your own text.

5. Be prepared when travelling

travel

When travelling with young children, you want to make sure that all the important information is easily visible. Our handy ID bands offer enough space for an emergency contact number and important information like allergies. If you are looking for a more elegant look, our satin wristbands are perfect. Any medical appliances like inhalers, insulin pens and other objects can be labelled with our vinyl labels.

10 Easter Traditions From Around The World

While many people are used to hiding chocolate eggs and enjoying dinner with family and friends, there are many different Easter traditions around the world.

1. Egg Rolling in Scotland

Easter in Scotland is a mostly laid-back event. Scots do the traditional things commonly associated with Easter, but they also add a bit of fun, particularly for the kids. Easter fun here is all about eggs. After they’re boiled and painted with different designs, they’re rolled down a hill on Easter Sunday.  Apart from fun, the event is symbolic as it is carried out to represent the rolling away of stones on Jesus’ tomb thereby assisting in His resurrection.

2. Golden Eggs Russia

easter blog faberge text

During the early years of the 20th century, the former rulers Czar Alexander III and Czar Nicholas II had some very special Easter Eggs made for them by the jeweller Carl Fabergé. The first egg was a gift from Alexander III to his wife and was made of gold and white enamel. Inside the egg was a golden yolk containing a golden hen with ruby eyes. Inside the hen was a tiny golden crown. It was so beautiful that the Czar said that every Easter, Fabergé should make the Czarina (or Queen) a special egg. The design of the egg was left up to Fabergé, but each egg had to have a surprise in it. Fabergé made eggs for other members of the Russian royal family, and occasionally for the Czar to present to other monarchs. They are very precious, and are kept in royal collections and museums.

3. Egg-knocking France, Germany, Norway and Syria.

The game is played with hard boiled ones and is a bit like the game of ‘conkers’. The object of the game is to hit everyone else’s egg and to keep your own one unbroken. The last player with a whole egg is declared the winner.

4. Bonnets in the U.S.A

NEW YORK - MARCH 27: A group of women known as "The City Chicks" make their way up Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday March 27, 2005 in New York City. Hundreds of people gathered along the avenue sporting all types of Easter outfits. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Easter Bonnets come from European traditions of wearing flowers on a hat to celebrate spring. It was developed over the years into a way of ladies celebrating Easter and of showing off to family and friends as to who had the best Bonnet!

Each year on Easter Sunday, celebrants don festive finery and show off their very best bonnets along Fifth Avenue in New York City. The pageant is a tradition that stretches back to the 1870s.

5. Kite Flying Bermuda

bermuda kite

Bermudians celebrate Good Friday by flying home-made kites, eating codfish cakes, and eating hot cross buns. The tradition is said to have begun when a local teacher from the British Army had difficulty explaining Christ’s ascension to Heaven to his Sunday school class. He made a kite, traditionally shaped like a cross, to illustrate the Ascension. The traditional Bermuda kites are made with colourful tissue paper, long tails, wood, metal, and string.

6. Easter Fires Europe

easterfiresblog

In parts of Northwestern Europe large bonfires, called Easter Fires, are lit on Easter Sunday and Monday. While there are various explanations for the origin of the Easter Fires, the most common Saxon tale is that Easter is a time when spring becomes victorious over winter and the fires were to chase the darkness of winter away. Today, however, the meaning of the fires is simply to bring communities together. The nights are festive with heavy consumption of gin, lager, and snacks.

7. Eggy Fun in Sweden

Easter in Sweden is about fun, food and festivity.  Celebrations commence on Easter Saturday with children dressing up as good witches setting the Easter mood by giving out letters and cards in return for eggs, sweets and coins.

On Easter Sunday, food is typically Nordic fashion and the feast comprises mostly fish. Edibles include different kinds of herring, a selection of smoked salmon, a hint of roast ham and various cheeses. Of course, the main attraction are eggs which are exchanged and later used in a game where participants roll them down roofing tiles to see which egg can go the furthest without breaking.

8. Flying Bells and Omelettes France

French kids don’t get goodies from the Easter bunny, but from the Easter bells. Catholics don’t ring church bells between Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil. As the story goes, in France, the bells are off flying to Rome to get a blessing from the Pope, but when they return they bring chocolate and gifts for the kids.

easter

Don’t forget a fork if you’re in this southern French town of Haux on Easter Monday. Each year a giant omelette is served up in the town’s main square. The omelette uses more than 4,500 eggs and feeds up to 1,000 people. The story goes, when Napoleon and his army were travelling through the south of France, they stopped in a small town and ate omelettes. Napoleon liked his so much that he ordered the townspeople to gather their eggs and make a giant omelette for his army the next day.

9. Eggs and Bunnies Germany

Eggs and bunnies are two of the oldest symbols of Easter in Germany and every spring shops boom with eggs and bunnies made of chocolate, cardboard or flowers in different sizes and wrappings.

easter blog hunt

The Germans have a number of egg games which the children play over the holidays. One tradition is to blow eggs and paint them in multiple colours and patterns on Good Friday. The eggs are then put in a basket for the Osterhase (or Easter bunny) to hide around the house on the night leading up to Easter Sunday. On the morning of Easter Sunday, the children go hunting for the eggs and often find that the Osterhase has also left chocolate eggs and Easter presents for them to find.

10. United Kingdom Simnel Cake

easter blog simnel ckae

Simnel is a light fruit cake decorated with 11 or 12 marzipan balls to represent the 12 apostles, excluding Judas. Christians in the UK and the Republic of Ireland have been serving Simnel cake on the middle Sunday of Lent, when the fast is broken, since medieval times.

 

10 Time Saving Tips for Busy Mum’s (Infographic)

Life as a mum can be busy, which is why our friends over at Mellie Green (who sell lots of cute organic baby clothes btw!) have put together this Infographic for our blog. Lots of good tips for saving time; At home and when you are out and about.

10 Time saving tips for busy mum's

Ready for more time saving tips?

Great. Why not head over to our Pinterest page? Over at Pinterest, we have a fab collection boards with some great resources for Parents. For example, how to get ready for back to school, how to travel with kids and of course what back to school name label packs you should be getting – Because Kids Lose Stuff!

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