Sussex Safety Events for Kids


It’s great to see safety events which are targeted specifically at children, especially the younger generation.  More than 1000 young children of primary school age will get the chance to enjoy a ‘hands on’ safety and learning event this month.  The event is called Safety in Action and is designed to use active learning methods in order to allow children to assess and experience risk in some hopefully interesting and fun scenarios.   This very successful event is now in it’s 23rd year.

The principle is well established, allow children to learn through a series of supervised events rather than classroom based traditional lessons.  This does of course require dedicated and specialized venues but these can be set up relatively simply with the right sort of funding.  It will hopefully allow many 10-11 year old children to learn by experience about safety.

One of the advantages in arranging these dedicated events is that they can cover many more areas than traditional methods.  There’s a wide array of scenarios based upon hazards that children may encounter in their lives.  Sussex Police will be running some scenarios based on road and personal safety – these are especially  important to this age range.  Research has suggested that these lessons are reinforced and more effective when delivered by people in authority such as the police.

Other scenarios are from the Ambulance service who will cover some basic lessons on dealing with a casualty.  East Sussex Fire and Rescue will cover some scenarios such as reporting a fire, arson and some lessons on electrical safety.   Southern railway networks run a very important scenario called rucksack on the railway line which most children find very interesting.  The Lifeboat service will run some water safety scenarios and there will also be representatives from the NHS.  These will include NHS nurses who will talk about alcohol safety to the children.

Most of the event will take place in the month of June as normal, but there will be some carry over to school based follow up events as well.  This web site hopes that the event will continue for many more years as it’s just the sort of initiative which makes a real positive difference in a host of safety areas.   There’s more information on their web site and it’s also worth mentioning the kids safety advice you can find on the BBC kids section.  Although you still need a UK based IP address in order to access the majority of the broadcasts, you can access the rest of the website.

Jenny Handson

Technical Reference and Source here:

Greed, Materialism and TV ADs


For any parent of finite means the feeling will be very familiar.  That time just before Christmas when every commercial break on childrens TV seems to be packed full of extremely expensive gifts.  Plastic rubbish that takes hours to put together which retails at £49.99 – you also know that twenty minutes after unwrapping they’ll have lost interest.

It’s hardly surprising in some ways that there are frequently pieces in the press about how materialistic young people are becoming.  Children are bombarded with advertisements in their daily lives.  Even games that you buy for computer consoles and mobile phones are normally stuffed full of advertisements for more games or add ons.

A study of 8-11 year olds in the Netherlands is the latest to point the finger at TV advertising – citing a ’positive causal effect on materialism’.  In effect TV commercials are increasing childrens desire for material items but worse are leading them to equate happiness with  the aquisition of these items.

The problem is that it takes adults quite a few years to come to the conclusion that on  the whole material things don’t make you really happy.  And we’ve had it easy, we’ve grown up with only a couple of TV stations and very basic advertising.  Our children are targeted specifically with extremely aggressive and very manipulative commercials.  Combined with other forces directed to us at the internet like this post – it’s no wonder our children can get confused at times.

The research showed strong links with how children valued material things.  The study then regulated the children’s exposure to advertising and tried to measure a shift in perceptions.  The strong link between heavier viewing of such adverts and a materialistic attitude to possessions was observed.  IN effect TV adverts make children more materialistic.   It’s something that crosses social and national divides, bear in mind that children are not restricted to the TV and adverts of their native land.  If they use the internet they can access any media sites they like, see this web page which shows to watch BBC Iplayer in the USA, although there aren’t actually any adverts on the BBC to be fair.

So what can parents do?  Well the obvious one is to cut down on the amount of adverts that children and young people watch.  It’s not always easy but devices like Sky, Tivo allow programmes to be recorded and adverts skipped.  Similarly there’s more control with watching online and watching shows without adverts – the BBC in the United Kingdom is an obvious example.  IF you’re not in the UK then check this site out – which can show you how to use technology to access the wonderful world of CBBC and Cbeebies – all quality childrens TV with no advertising at all.


No Internet – A Real Disadvantage


A report in the United Kingdom has reported a worrying trend about internet access for British children.  The UK has one of the highest internet penetration figures in the world, but this doesn’t tell the full story.  If you read the official figures something like 90% of children are able to access the internet at their homes.  However a study has broken these figures down by income levels and found a dramatic change.

If you look at the richest 10% of households you’ll find almost everyone has access to the internet – some 99%.  However in the poorest 10% then just over 50% of pupils have access to the word wide web in some format or other.  This is a huge difference and suggests there is still an enormous digital divide in the UK.  Just to put this into real numbers, the figures equate to about 3/4 million children with no internet access, and about 650,000 who have no access to a computer at home.

This is a real disadvantage to such children in many ways.  Purely on an academic level, they are at a disadvantage as researching subjects and homework is much easier using  the internet.  In fact much home work now relies on access to the internet, rather than traditional learning where a good set of encyclopedias would be sufficient.  The E Learning revolution only increases the problems for such disadvantaged children – my son’s maths   homework is all completed and marked online.

In many countries an internet connection is perhaps more of a luxury, if none of your fellow pupils have access then it’s not such a disadvantage at least locally.  However I have seen many classes of English in some schools relying on content on the BBC website. A Singapore private school assigned pupils a private VPN like this site illustates to watch the BBC anywhere –

But it is not just the academic benefits that can cause a problem.  Many young people rely on social networking sites for much of their interaction – sites like Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter are an everyday part of life.  Pupils who have no access to the internet through computers or phones are also isolated from these social networks and can feel left out.

For Further information:  see here.