Category Archives: Children

Hey! Algorithms, leave them kids alone: Chips with Everything podcast

This week, Jordan Erica Webber looks into reports that YouTube Kids might create an algorithm-free platform to prevent children viewing inappropriate content by clicking on seemingly benign video suggestions

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These days, we hear a lot about algorithms. The word tends to crop up when some or other tech company is forced to apologise for whatever new scandal has thrown them into the spotlight. Whether the issue is big data and profiling, or search results and suggested content, it is the algorithm that gets the blame.

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Source: gadt

​'Before, I couldn't walk 200m'​ – why surgery can be life-changing for super-obese children

As many as 90,000 children in England could be considered eligible for bariatric surgery, yet only 18 operations were performed last year. Shouldn’t there be many more?

When Vicky Counsell was 16, her doctor told her that if she didn’t have surgery to reduce her weight, there was a good chance it would kill her. She was 140kg (22st), her weight gain accelerated by the steroids she was taking for a lung condition, and she had tried everything to lose it. “It was an easy choice,” she says. “It was life or death.” At 17, she had gastric band surgery, in which a band around the stomach creates a small pouch, meaning only a small amount of food can be consumed. Ten years on, she has lost more than 44kg (7st). “Before the surgery, I couldn’t even walk on the flat for 200m,” she says. “Now I walk for miles.” She works as a support worker for older people, a physical job she couldn’t have done before.

Although it has “definitely been worth it”, she wasn’t prepared for how difficult living with a gastric band would be. “I remember the doctors telling me I wouldn’t be able to eat a lot of food, but I don’t think I realised how tough it would be,” she says. “At the very beginning I couldn’t even keep water or juice down. Now I can’t eat bread, pizza or anything high-carb.” It can be difficult going to restaurants with friends and explaining to waiters what she can and can’t eat, and she says her portion sizes are about what you would give a child. It is a lifelong commitment, which as a teenager she says she didn’t really grasp.

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Source: gad

A quick guide to Roblox, for adults – AKA the latest 'next Minecraft'

Some might be baffled by the cheapo Lego art style and janky controls – but, for kids, playing a game that doesn’t always work properly is all part of the fun

If your kids aren’t playing Fortnite – the colourful, cartoonish shooter that has recently become a massive after-school (and work lunch-break) craze – they are probably playing Roblox. Like Minecraft, which colonised the minds of basically all school-aged children around 2012-15, Roblox lets players get creative and build things. But it goes further than Minecraft in that you can create entire games in Roblox, from racers to haunted-house adventures to competitive battle arenas. According to the developer, it has 56 million players.

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Source: gadt

Australian man who raped Indian orphans released immediately after conviction

Paul Henry Dean guilty of ‘unnatural sex’ with young boys and men at orphanage

An Australian man who posed as a doctor and priest to rape children at the Indian orphanages where he volunteered has been released immediately after being convicted.

Paul Henry Dean, 75, was found guilty last month of “unnatural sex” with young boys and men at an orphanage for children with visual, speech and hearing impairments.

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Source: gad

Meet the tech evangelist who now fears for our mental health

Belinda Parmar was a passionate advocate of the digital revolution – but has started keeping her family’s smartphones and laptops locked away to protect her loved ones. Is she right to be so worried?

In Belinda Parmar’s bedroom there is a wardrobe, and inside that wardrobe there is a safe. Inside that safe is not jewellery or cash or personal documents, but devices: mobile phones, a laptop, an iPod, chargers and remote controls. Seven years ago, Parmar was the high priestess of tech empowerment. Founder of the consultancy Lady Geek, she saw it as her mission both to make tech work better for girls and women and to get more girls and women working for tech. Now she wants to talk about the damage it can cause to our mental health, to family life and to children, including her son Jedd, 11, and daughter Rocca, 10.

Parmar made her living and lived her life through these devices, so what happened to make her lock them up? Why did this tech evangelist lose her faith?

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Source: gadt

'Woefully off track': global goals leave behind over half the world's children

Sustainability agenda that pledged to maximise every child’s chances undermined by lack of data in some countries, says Unicef report

More than half a billion of the world’s poorest children are invisible to the international organisations that could help them most.

Children worldwide are “uncounted” in development targets because they live in countries where the data required to monitor and evaluate key areas such as education and nutrition is unavailable, Unicef has warned.

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Source: gad

'I was bought for 50,000 rupees': India's trafficked brides – in pictures

Tahmina, 13, was sold by her sister to a man nearly 30 years her senior. Rescued by an anti-trafficking charity, she is one of the lucky ones – but her story is echoed across India, where hundreds of thousands of women and girls are forced into sexual and domestic slavery

Pul has travelled 2,000km from her home in Assam, north-east India, to a small government-run shelter in another state where her daughter is waiting. Weeping, she reaches out and clutches 13-year-old Tahmina* to her. She had thought she would never see her again.

Six weeks previously, Tahmina had left her home with her elder sister and brother-in-law. She thought they were going to Delhi. Instead, she was taken to a remote village in Haryana and sold into marriage with a man almost 30 years older than her.

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Source: gad

'I'm all alone': the child refugees desperate to be reunited with family

Many young people who arrive in the UK hope to bring loved ones to safety, but the government doesn’t allow family reunion

Enveloped in an oversized puffer jacket and cap, the 14-year-old boy in front of me looks anything but tough. True, he has made the perilous journey from the conflict in his country, travelling alone across the mountains, dodging bandits and snipers on the way. He also survived being robbed of all his money and violently beaten in the Calais “Jungle”. But now he’s rocking in his chair, arms wrapped around himself like a much-needed hug as tears stream down his face. “I’m all alone,” he wails, doubling over in pain. “I haven’t got anyone.”

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Source: gad

Facebook asks users: should we allow men to ask children for sexual images?

Social network admits survey asking whether it should permit adults to ask 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures was a mistake

Facebook has admitted it was a “mistake” to ask users whether paedophiles requesting sexual pictures from children should be allowed on its website.

On Sunday, the social network ran a survey for some users asking how they thought the company should handle grooming behaviour. “There are a wide range of topics and behaviours that appear on Facebook,” one question began. “In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook’s policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures.”

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Source: gadt

Mineral deficiency exposes 19 million babies a year to brain damage risk

Scientists warn lack of iodine leaves 14% of newborns vulnerable to impaired mental development

A lack of iodine in pregnancy and early childhood puts nearly 19 million babies around the world at risk of permanent but preventable brain damage every year, a new report has warned.

Insufficient iodine during pregnancy can adversely affect neurological and psychological development, reducing a child’s IQ by eight to 10 points.

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Source: gad