Fisher Price’s iPad Bouncy Seat Controversy

Fisher Price Ipad Toddler Seat

As the holiday shopping season approached, Fisher Price made headlines for introducing its Fisher-Price Ipad Seat. No, it wasn’t lead paint or faulty safety straps that made the headlines. It was the inclusion of an iPad attachment in the seat, encouraging parents to strap their kids in and put on videos or games for entertainment. This was what prompted the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an advocacy group based in Boston, to call for a recall of the toy. People’s displeasure with the product also led to numerous one-star ratings on Amazon.com.

You can see the actual product and some of the angry comment reactions here: Fisher-Price Ipad Apptivity Seat

Why All the Controversy About a Baby Seat?

Detractors cite the fact that today’s kids are surrounded by media from birth. The American Academy of Pediatricians estimates that the average child spends seven hours a day with entertainment media, and they indicate that excessive use of media can lead to a range of problems, from attention disorders to obesity.

Yet not all TV viewing is not a bad thing. According to TVproviders.com, television can have a positive influence on children. Educational programs help kids learn about the world in a way they can understand. So the question is not whether children should be watching videos and TV, but rather how old they should be before they start and how much they are consuming.

How Media Affects Babies

HealthyChildren.org warns that television viewing has a profound impact on a baby’s growing brain. Children’s brains triple in size between birth and 12 months. The stimuli they are exposed to influences that development, and images on screens do not behave in the same way that the real world does. Babies can’t understand the images on a screen as a result. They are fascinated by the glowing lights, but they glean nothing from them.

Also, screen viewing before age two has been shown to shorten memory, impact language development and harm reading skills, because it prevents children from meaningful interaction with caregivers. It can also have a negative effect on attention and sleep patterns.

Because babies are not interacting with the world around them when staring at a screen, they miss out on important developmental cues their brains need to grow. Even turning the TV on for background noise can limit language development. Adults speak an average of 940 words per hour when a baby is in the room, but that drops to 770 when the TV is on, so young minds aren’t learning.

The Official Recommendation

Because of this, the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends no television or video viewing before age two. The AAP recommends that parents establish “screen-free” zones at home by removing all televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms. This my be a difficult proposition for many, but worthwhile to help your child’s development. In replacement, they can offer educational outlets in non-electronic formats. It is recommended that even children and teens should engage with entertainment media no more than 1-2 hours per day.

In light of these facts, parents are shunning the new Fisher-Price infant and toddler seat. While it may be advertised as the ultimate electronic babysitter, the seat will do more harm than good for the target market. Media is educational and helpful to kids, but only when they are old enough to benefit from it.

Simple put: Parents, don’t be lazy. Play with your kids.

Continue Reading

Santa Claus is Dead. Amazon is the New Santa.

Santa Claus is dead. Amazon is the New Santa. – Clean Cut Media

Sorry kids, Santa Claus is just pen name for Amazon.

This image below needs very little explanation.

We are in a brave new world folks.

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you see this image?

Children Santa Letter Amazon Internet

ps. for those who are dying to know what that gift is.. it’s a $20 remote controlled car.

pps. also it came to light that this letter was not written by a kid at all but a comedian.

Continue Reading

Sobering Cyberbulling Statistics [Infographic]

Sobering Cyber Bullying Statistics

1 in 6 teens are cyberbullied.

Teens who are cyberbullied are 3,5x more likely to attempt suicide than those who aren’t bulled.

Cyberbullying is defined as the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell
phones, and other electronic devices.” Currently 80% of teens are on cell phones and on social media sites giving them the almost unhindered ability to communicate with one another for good or bad. The most sobering of them all is the higher likelihood of suicide from those cyberbullied than those who are not, or even bullied off-line. Check out this cyberbulling infographic below.

cyberbullying online infographic

More Cyberbullying Thoughts

Cyberbullying is a real problem that often goes unnoticed by parents. We all remember our childhood and the cruelty the young are capable of. Just imagine the same thing played out online where users can be anonymous and the stage is not just 1 or 2 kids but the entire school. In previous studies some have shown that 1 in 4 kids have been targets of cyberbullying and 2 of 3 teens have witnessed cruel behavior online. Yet only 10% of parents are aware that their own teens are on the receiving end of these cyberbullying behaviors. This cannot happen.

Cyberbullying Statistics

  • 1 in 6 (16.2%) of teens are cyber bullied [22.1% girls / 10.8% boys]
  • 18.6% of white [25.9% girls / 11.8% boys]
  • 8.9% of blacks [11% girls / 6.9% boys]
  • 13.6% of hispanics [18% girls / 9.5% boys]
  • 15.5% of 9th graders [22.6% girls / 8.9% boys]
  • 18% of 10th graders [24.2% girls / 12.6% boys]
  • 16% of 11th graders [19.8% girls / 12.4% boys]
  • 15% of 12th graders [21.5% girls / 8.8% boys]

Off-line bullying rates

  • 1 in 5 are bullied offline [22% girls / 18% boys]

Top 15 Highest Cyberbullying Rates by State

  1. New Hampshire [21.6%]
  2. Maine [19.7%]
  3. South Dakota [19.6%]
  4. Montana [19.2%]
  5. Indiana [18.7%]
  6. Wyoming [18.7%]
  7. Louisiana [18%]
  8. Michigan [18%]
  9. Kentucky [17.4%],
  10. North Dakota [17.4%]
  11.  Idaho [17%]
  12. Arkansas [16.7%]
  13. Utah [16.6%]
  14. Wisconsin [16.6%],
  15. Iowa [16.8%],

Current Cyberbullying Laws

  • 49/50 states have bullying laws (Montana does not)
  • 47/50 include electronic harassment.
  • 44/50 include school sanctions.
  • 18/50 specifically include “cyberbullying”
  • 12/50 include criminal sanctions.

cyberbullying childCyberbulling and Suicide Correlations

  • Teenagers who are cyberbullied are 3 times more likely to commit suicide.
  • Teenagers who are traditionally bullied are 2 times more likely to commit suicide.

Suicide attempts that require treatment:

  • 1.5% for youths not bullied
  • 2.3% for youths physically bullied
  • 5.4% for youths cyberbullied
  • 6% for youths physically and cyberbullied
  • Only 1/10 victims ask their parents for help.
  • Leaving 9/10 to deal with the abuse alone.

Tips for Parents against Cyberbulling

Tips for Educators against Cyberbulling

  • Teach that cyberbullying is wrong.
  • Listen and respond to all reports of bullying.
  • Have students work on projects against cyberbullying.
  • Have a system for complaints to be documented.
  • Host speakers on the topic of bullying.
  • Ensure that school is a safe place; free from cyberbullying.

Chime In: What Cyberbulling Statistic is the most Sobering to you?

  • Have you or your children ever been targets of cyberbulling?
Continue Reading

Internet Protection & Accountability: Covenant Eyes Review

Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability

The average age of child’s first explosure to internet pornography is 11 years old

Did you know…

  • Americans spend over 20hrs a week surfing the net.
  • Teens spend over 31hrs per week online
  • The average age of a child’s first internet exposure to pornography is 11yrs old
  • Largest consumers of internet pornography are ages 12-17
  • Over 50% of teens, 30% of children surf without supervision
  • 92% of children already have an online presence

Covenant Eyes is an excellent internet accountability & filtering solution. It’s great both for monitoring your children as well as accountability for adults. It’s simple. You can pick accountability partners you trust whether that be a parent, a friend or a mentor. If you visit a questionable site, it’ll let your friend know. Trust me, it is a really strong and helpful preventive measure that can save you or someone you love from a lot of heartache and shame whether it be with spending too much time on the internet, visiting inappropriate sites or pornography that leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Parents! Protect your Children Now!

Parents! It is also a great way to regulate internet use for your kids. Whether on desktops, laptops, iphones or itouches, children and teens now have unfettered access to the internet and we all know how dangerous that could be. Did you know 55% of teens own an iPhone which gives them direct access to the internet. Many who are younger have iTouches. Covenant Eyes has a great filtering program to block bad sites as well as gives parents the ability to limit internet hours. It really is a great peace of mind for the parents as well as can save a child from the numerous dangerous and inappropriate sites on the web. Perhaps it will also get them off the computer and play some sports or actually talk to someone offline.

Covenant Eyes also allows group accounts, so open an account together as a family or with a group of friends to take advantage of the discounted prices. One person can open the account and others can add onto the first account. It’s super cheap too.

If you do not have accountability or filtering solutions, I strongly urge you to give it a go. You can always cancel if it isn’t for you, but why not protect yourself and your family. Some basic details below. Covenant eyes is both an accountability software and a filtering system.

Interested? Use this link to TRY COVENANT EYES

Covenant Eyes Accountability Software

  • Monitors and reports internet use
  • Each site is rated (T for Teen, M for Mature etc)
  • Reports are sent to a person(s) you choose: a parent, friend, mentor, etc
  • Use reports to have conversations about online dangers
  • Available for Windows/Macs, Androids, iPhones, Tablets, iPads etc

Covenant Eyes Filtering Software

  • Blocks inappropriate content
  • customizable block/allow lists
  • Decide the amount of time the web may be accessed
  • Choose the times of day the web may be accessed
  • Available for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability

How Does Covenant Eyes Work?

1) Set it up

  • Create a Covenant Eyes account
  • Download the software on devices you want to protect
  • Covenant Eyes will monitor internet use and rates sites that are visited

2) Get accountability reports

  • Covenant Eyes sends reports to your accountability partner you choose (parent, friend etc)
  • Reports will show how you are using the web

3) Be Accountable

  • Any red flags and inappopriate sites will be flagged
  • Accountability partner can keep you accountable with a simple email or quick call.

4) Experience Freedom

  • Remove secrecy and experience freedom.
  • Uphold your values, be able to resist bad sites or overloading on the web.

So give Covenant Eyes a try. It really may be the best thing you did for yourself and your family. Don’t be naive about what kind of content your children are exposed to. Most children first get exposed to online pornography at the average age of 11. That is the average, meaning many are exposed even younger. The endless inappropriate videos on youtube that go viral grow at an alarming rate. Don’t get caught off guard. It’s a great way to keep them safe as well as yourself.

 

Interested? Use this link to TRY COVENANT EYES. Nice. Protection & Savings.

  • Are you a Covenant Eyes user? Tell us your experience. How has it been helpful?

 

Update: Covenant Eyes has introduced family pricing.

Continue Reading

Three Easy Ways to Protect Your Child on Facebook

Kids Social Network Facebook Connections

The Parent-Kid Cyber-Safety: Facebook Edition

From the bus stop to the home computer, kids are vulnerable little creatures. Even in the comfort of home sitting right beside you on the couch, your child is essentially exposed to online predators and Internet dangers while playing on a laptop. And the moment they log onto Facebook, they’re open to whole new world that, without boundaries and limitations, threatens their safety. While accepting your child’s plea to join Facebook, keep the following in mind:

Familiar Friend Requests

As part of your child’s Facebook privileges, explain that every friend request will be run by you. Kids should treat social interactions on Facebook just like they do in real life, which is why enforcing the “stranger danger” rule for Facebook is a good approach. Communication can only move forward if the child knows and trusts the person with your approval. After a quick friend request, kids can become targets of stalkers, sexual predators, a phishing scam and identity theft. Know your child’s Facebook login and password and regularly monitor their account. You can also manage your child’s social media habits by keeping the computer in an open space in your home. Permit them to log on for a certain amount of time during a particular time of day.

Cyberbullying Online

No longer is bullying restricted to buses, playgrounds, cafeterias and beneath football stadium bleachers. Adolescents, tweens and teens are cyberbullied or cyberbullies themselves — and Facebook becomes the weapon of choice. Insulting status updates and photos can create serious personal anguish, resulting in low self-esteem and anti-social behavior. Cyerbullying can be so detrimental that school authorities and police officials become involved. Earlier this year, a 15-year-old boy in Colorado cyberbullied another student using the photo-sharing app Instagram. Photos were captioned with “derogatory or sexual comments,” explains CBSNews.com.

Create an open forum about malicious communication on Facebook and the topic of bullying on the Internet, whether you suspect that your child’s a victim of bullying or bullying others. Foster a relationship with your child so that they feel comfortable coming to you to handle a cyberbullying scenario.

If you suspect that your child’s the bully, the first step is to avoid denial. No parent wants to admit that their kid is causing harm to others. Do your best to not turn a blind eye to your child’s behavior. The consequences of cyberbullying are far-reaching and can even become fatal. A decisive lack of attention and responsibility for bullying behavior is practically advocating verbal violence and psychological harm among your child and peers. Avoid avoidance.

Facebook Friend Your Kids

Becoming friends with your child on Facebook invites you into their social network. Your child may even feel more protected and secure having you on their side. As mentioned by SociallyActive.com, the most harm children experience on Facebook isn’t caused by their own actions but rather the actions of their connections. Even if children don’t act like it, adolescents and teens actually need and want structure and boundaries set before them. During such impressionable ages, children feel safer and more in control with parental guidance. A presence in your child’s digital life, whether you’re initiating open conversations or installing online controls to safeguard information, creates a harmonious relationship between the Internet and your family.

 

  • What are some other great ways to protect your children online? Please share!

 

Continue Reading

Children TV Shows Options on Amazon & Netflix

What are our kids learning from television? The Federal Communications Commission says children currently spend more than three hours a day watching television. Although the FCC has enacted provisions that require broadcasters to improve and increase the educational content of children’s television, there is no consistent way to ensure that what children watch has any redeeming qualities.

Child Watching TV

flickr image by Jerine Lay

57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)

Children’s television, by and large, neglects education and jumps right to banal programming. Although “Spongebob” is entertaining, there isn’t a lot of educational value in watching Mr. Crabs or Patrick wade their way through thirty minutes of silliness. Of course, “Spongebob” is just one of dozens of examples of children’s television that is simply there for entertainment and not to teach children lessons.

There is even less family-friendly programming during traditional family viewing times in the evening after dinner. There are reality television shows in which people run around half dressed, sex is implied if not practically explicit, and there are comedies that might be funny for adults, but are inappropriate for kids.

Enter Amazon

Amazon is combating the current state of children’s television by attempting to create shows that will also be educational. The company is developing “Sara Solves It,” a show in which two friends, Sara and Sam solve math-based mysteries each episode. In some ways, this may be a 30 minute episode reminiscent of Electric Company and other similar television programs. “Creative Galaxy,” described as an interactive art adventure series, is another program Amazon is developing.

Parents who are interested in finding quality programming for their children will be able to vote with their pocketbooks to determine whether more programs and episodes will be made. The won’t be at the mercy of networks and their advertisers, forced to watch what is already on television. Parents can order these programs directly into their homes and watch them with their children any time they like.

Netflix is Following

Netflix is producing a TV adaptation of the upcoming Dreamworks children’s movie “Turbo.” The show, called “Turbo F.A.S.T.” is about a snail who dreams of being a racer and the glory that would come from it. Then, through an accident, he is able to achieve his dream.

Streaming services are significantly less expensive than cable packages, though more limited in many ways. But if you don’t watch very much TV and are comfortable with content options of Amazon or Netflix, you can get them for as little as $8 a month, compared to approximately $30 a month for a bare-bones cable package, notes Direct2TV.

If children are going to watch television for hours a day, it looks like they will have plenty of educational options moving forward.

  • Do you know of any good children shows on Amazon or Netflix? Please Share!
Continue Reading

Teens Standing up to Cyber Bullies on Facebook

It’s Back to School & Cyberbulling

It’s back to school time. Many schools will be starting this week or the next. It’s the time to think about new classes, new teachers, perhaps new friends, but also a time to think about the many issues in present youth culture.

One of the biggest is cyberbullying. According to a new study, 1 in 4 kids claim to be targets of cyberbullying, nearly 2 of 3 teens have witnessed cruel behavior online, but only 10% of parents are aware that their own teens are one of the recipients. Most of these attacks happen on Facebook where a whopping 92.6% of teens say cruel behavior takes place. It also happens through other mediums such as Twitter 23.8%, MySpace (17.7%), and Instant Messenger 15.2%.

Is Standing up to Bullies Online Safe?

But what is interesting is how teens stand up to bullies more often online. 40% tells them to stop, nearly 21% ended up telling an adult, while 65.8% responded to the attacker. In the small security of not being physically present, teens respond more frequently.

However, beware, 35% of students also end up responding in person and 4.5% of the teens end up in physical fights. 15% avoided school altogether due to an online incident. Worse, 6.3% of people join in the attack.

It is important that parents are aware of what is going on in the online space because it can have dramatic impact on teens especially during the difficult and emotional years of youth. If your child is is often emotionally down or wants to avoid school, you should be aware that cyberbulling is not a simple issues to be ignored. If that doesn’t move you, know that teens who are cyberbullied are 3.5x MORE likely to attempt suicide! Now that is a scary reality.

Check out the infographic below, and let us know your thoughts. Any of the statistics surprise you?

Cyberbullying Statistics Infographic

Continue Reading

Colorado Theater Massacre – Who to Blame?

Gangster Squad Movie Trailer

The Blame of Colorado Theater Massacre

The Colorado Theater Massacre is such a tragic story. I am incredibly saddened by what happened and much prayers go out to the families and loved ones involved.

The alleged shooter is 24 year old James Holmes, who faces 142 criminal counts for shooting at a packed midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises. For whatever reason, motive still uncertain, he proceeded to open fire into the crowds leaving 12 dead and 58 injured.

In most circumstances as people try to make sense of this kind of senseless killing, our first instinct is to want to blame something or someone. Blame parents, blame media, blame society, blame gun-control or blame the individual who perpetrated it all. As usual, there are a lot of questions and lot of accusations, though surprisingly the outcry doesn’t seem to be as loud this time around.

Traditionally media is one of the biggest targets in the blame game. Considering this was at a movie theater, it seemed inevitable that a lot of blame would be casts on media’s influence on the young mind. However whether it is the immediate responsiveness of Warner Brothers, or perhaps of how ridiculously senseless the deed was – there seems to a lot less finger pointing over this event. Still the film industry is being very cautious and has properly shown sensitivity to what has happened by immediately taking action.

Warner Brothers Acts Quickly to Colorado

Warner Brothers, the studio who released “The Dark Knight Rises”, quickly removed the trailer for its upcoming film “Gangster Squad” which has been a trailer proceeding “The Dark Knight Rises.” This trailer features a climactic scene in which mob gangsters open fire into a movie theater. Good move. Warner Brothers also quickly removed the trailer from YouTube and other video sharing sites. It is also said that the studio plans to reshoot parts of the movie in dealing with this matter. The studio hasn’t been clear on how they plan to reedit the movie but it will be interesting to see to what extent they would go in response to this tragedy. Will they cut an important scene all together or make minor edits? Perhaps just tone it down? Either way it will cost Warner Brothers a pretty penny. They also stand to potentially lose money by pushing out the release date from September 7th to January 11th as well have already lost money canceling premieres several key global cities out of respect for the victims.

Warner Brothers also announced it was making a “substantial” undisclosed donation to the victims.

Hollywood is to Blame? Or Not?

Quotes from Hollywood:

“I think it’s a tragedy and to blame the movie business is incorrect and inappropriate…” – Geffen, Co-founder of DreamWorks

“I think it’s just an opportunistic scenario… I leave it to people who sit in rooms with diagrams and charts to try to correlate cause and effect. And I think hindsight is 20-20 and we’re not anywhere near hindsight. This is still fresh paint on the canvas of our culture and it remains to be seen. There’s a lot of healing to go on.” – Diane Lane, Actress

“If you are not raising your kids to have balance in life, that is one place we have to look at.” – Will.i.am, Recording Artist

In response to whether television companies should cut down on violence:
“We think about the images particularly that children see, and as we look at the programming that we design for our schedule — obviously, the programming that we produce is educational — but we think a lot about the images that particularly the most impressionable, and I would say that children are at the top of that list, are confronted with.” – Paula Kerger, PBS President

So Who do We Blame? What Do We Really Know?

I would hope that no one would argue that media has a huge influence on the way we, especially as children, view the world, view people, and the norms of society. Cursing, violence, how to treat other people, self-image, view of women, that life is all about one’s own happiness, that power is respected, that being cool or good looking is what matter, that living rich with comforts will bring happiness, that romantic love is the answer to all things – and so on.

I would imagine, it had some various affects on how this shooter viewed the world and the value of human life – but does that mean media is the only thing to blame for such a tragedy? No of course not. There are so many factors involved, that I wouldn’t even assume to know all that went into it. Perhaps parenting, perhaps influence of bad friends, perhaps he had a tragic past, didn’t have a father figure, grew up in a broken home, I do not know. The only thing I know is that it’s a scary thing that he became a person capable of such things. That as a baby he was no different than you and me – but there was something in him that thru circumstances and influences allowed him to do what he did. That is a scary thought and should really humble us to really be careful about what kind of things we allow ourselves (and our children) to be exposed to and the kind of things we listen to.

What are your thoughts?

Continue Reading

Should Children be Allowed on Facebook?

Child Laptop Internet Facebook

Children Allowed to Open Facebook Accounts?

News is spreading.

Facebook is considering allowing children under the age of 13 to have accounts on Facebook.

The question would had to have come sooner or later as means for continual Facebook growth. Previously anyone under the age of 13 were not allowed to have accounts, though a Consumer Report study estimated that out of 20 million minors on Facebook, 7.5 million of these children were younger than 13. Among these users, 5 million were 10 years or younger and were not being supervised by their parents. Age restrictions have always been difficult on the internet.

This is not a simple matter of whether to let kids have access or not. Keep in mind, part of the reasoning in keeping young children on Facebook is the incredible dangers that it poses.

There are the obvious factors most people would know, such as the presence of sexual predators, and creepy people talking to kids. Also one million kids were harassed, threatened, or cyberbullied on the past in the last year (Consumer Reports). There has been numerous studies on how the internet and social media cause anti-social behaviors in hyper-connected children. We here at Clean Cut Media even posted an infographic about how the internet is ruining your brain! But even more than these obvious issues, there are many other dangers not as well known. For example:

Dangers of Children on Facebook You May Not Know

Photo Accessibility: Photos posted on Facebook or the internet in general can easily spread very quickly. As they say once it’s on the internet, it’s there forever, even if you delete them. Even if you were careful, it can easily be grabbed by someone and posted elsewhere. There are many instances were lives were ruined because of some poor Facebook photo going viral. This is not only for photos you upload, but photos your friends may upload or you upload of your friends. Many lives are ruined because of one photo uploaded by someone who didn’t think through the consequences.

Abuse of Knowledge: Another example many do not consider is how sites like Facebook are used for theft and burglary. Did you just say you and your family are going on a awesome 3 month vacation to Europe? You just announced your home will be vacant for 3 months. It’s scary to think about, but consider how else more dangerous people can utilize such information.

Inappropriate Content: How about dangerous and inappropriate links shared by friends, strangers, malware or clicked on by accident as they surfed the web?

Is your daughter posting pictures of themselves all over the net? Who can access those? Download those?

Any Other way of Handling Pre-Teens on Facebook?

Some may argue that the children are already on it anyway and more should be done to help allow parents to monitor. Is that Facebook’s responsibility to provide the tools to do so or does it mostly lie on the parent? How about the idea that Facebook create a separate sub-site for those under 13 with strict monitoring tools and filters as well as an easy way to transition the account to the main facebook platform? Food for thought. Share your ideas!

Should Children be Allowed to Use Facebook?

So Question:

  • Do you support Facebook opening up to pre-teen accounts?
  • What is the best way for parents to help monitor or prevent children from making terrible mistakes?
  • At what age do you think, children have the capacity to think intelligently about these things?

[poll id=”34″]

Continue Reading

The Muppets Movie Review: Good for Children?

The Muppets Movie: Good for Children?

The Muppets Movie Review: Fine for Kids, but Will They Care?

The Muppets have always been grown-up versions of the “Sesame Street” characters. If you were a little kid in the late 1970s, you probably have fond memories of watching their variety show. I watched it with my grandfather, listening to him chuckle over the antics of Kermit, Fozzie and the rest.

Fast-forward 30 years and a handful of theatrical films later. Most kids know Elmo, but how meaningful is a visit back to Muppet Studios?

“The Muppets,” the latest film excursion for this band of felt characters, catches us up years after Muppet fame has peaked — and crashed. Human character Gary (Jason Segel) is best friends with Walter, who happens to be a puppet. Since childhood, Walter has dreamed of being a real Muppet, so when the friends have a chance to visit Muppet Studios, they jump on it — and are horrified to discover that the studio is run-down and the Muppets disbanded. Tex Richman, an “evil oil baron,” plans to raze the studio. From there, the friends (along with Gary’s long-time girlfriend Mary, played by Amy Adams), scheme to get the gang back together, put on a show and raise money to get the studio back and make the Muppets famous again.

But that’s like saying that Pixar’s “Up” is about a boy rescuing a bird from a hunter.

The Muppets Movie: Funny but Serious

Yes, the film is hilariously funny. Fans of “The Muppet Movie” will recognize the self-referential moments, such as Kermit being introduced with a chorus of angelic singing, only to have a church choir bus drive by. Or when the road trip to gather the remaining Muppets takes too long, and the little group agrees to “pick up the rest by montage.”

But it’s serious, too. Emotionally, the movie aims for a level of sophistication that’s above the average 6-year-old. The puppet characters are filled with regrets. A scene where Kermit and Miss Piggy discussed how they disappointed each other could have just as easily played out with, say, Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.

Time has passed since their hey-day, and we’re asked if the Muppets were left behind. Tex tells them, “You’re relics, Muppets. The world has moved on, and no one cares about your goody-goody, hippy-dippy Julie Andrews and Dom DeLuise hostin’, singin’-and-dancin’ act anymore. You’re dead!” For those who wouldn’t recognize Dom DeLuise, sadly, that may be true.

Muppets Good to Show Your Children?

So, should you even try to get your little ones to watch? If you want to share the Muppets with your kids, it’s sure worth a try — it’s a kid-safe experience. The language is squeaky-clean. I’ve heard some take offense at the “evil oilman,” but along with the soundtrack, Tex is a throwback to the 1980s. Gary and Mary share a hotel room on their vacation, though the twin beds are obvious and their relationship is almost painfully wholesome.

“The Muppets” is a great film for older kids who like sllly humor (and who doesn’t?) and may be able to grasp how friends can get left behind. Be warned, though — it packs a surprising emotional punch. If you were embarrassed when your daughter or son caught you crying at the beginning of “Up,” you might want to prepare yourself. At least on home video, you can slip out of the room for a moment.

Clean Cut Media’s Take

I haven’t seen it, but I have heard good reviews about this movie. Though the note above about Gary & Mary sharing a hotel room bothers me. If it’s a kids movie, why not just have them be in different rooms? However, considering how unclean so many movies are these days, it is refreshing to see a movie that seems to pass all the filters with flying colors.

  • Have you seen the movie?
  • Let us know your thoughts!

About Guest Author

Jennifer Rose Hale is a freelance writer and web producer at an education nonprofit that offers online education opportunities and discussion for a variety of age groups.

Continue Reading

Is Being Hyperconnected Hurting or Helping our Children?

Children Laptop Online InternetDid you know a lot of employees of leading high-tech firms in the silicon valley such as Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard send their children to a computer-free school?

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix. – NY Times

So then comes the questions:

  • Why would high tech employees and internet executives who are so immersed in technology not want their child to use such technology to learn? Do they know something we don’t?
  • Does the use of technology potentially hurt child development…. adult development?

SURVEY: Will Millennials Benefit or Suffer Due to their Hyper-Connected Lives?

A recent survey released by Pew Internet Projects asked technology experts about this issue. The question: Will Millennials benefit or suffer due to their hyperconnected lives?

Child Mobile Phone ConnectedIn this survey, technology experts and stakeholders were fairly split in their opinions about whether highly connected people will end up having a positive or negative impact by 2020. The feeling is that young people who grow up hyper-connected via the internet, mobile web, and the internet will reap the benefit of being more nimble and quick-acting multitaskers. However on the other end, the same experts expect that those growing up fully connected will increase in their need for instant gratification, settling for quick choices, lacking patience, and the loss of social skills. Many expressed concerns of these trends, some mentioning George Orwell’s 1984 as well as fears of control by powerful interests in an age where distractions and quick entertainments rule.

Anyone remember this haunting quote?

” [it’s] easier [online] to be who you want to be, because nobody knows you and if you don’t like the situation you can just exit and it is over. ” – Clean Cut Media

[poll id=”24″]

Internet Connection helps with Learning & Multitasking!

The respondents were encouraged to pick one of two stances. 3% did not respond.

55% agreed with this statement:

In 2020 the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are “wired” differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields helpful results. They do not suffer notable cognitive shortcomings as they multitask and cycle quickly through personal and work related tasks. Rather, they are learning more and they are more adept at finding answers to deep questions, in part because they can search effectively and access collective intelligence via the internet. In sum, the changes in learning behavior and cognition among the young generally produce positive outcomes.

Internet Connection makes People Shallow & Lose Social Skills!

Child Watching TV Media - Hurts!42% agreed with the opposite statement:

In 2020, the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are “wired” differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields baleful results. They do not retain information; they spend most of their energy sharing short social messages, being entertained, and being distracted away from deep engagement with people and knowledge. They lack deep thinking capabilities; they lack face to face social skills; they depend in unhealthy ways on the internet and mobile devices to function. In sum, the changes in behavior and cognition among the young are generally negative outcomes.

What is considered Hyperconnected?

Hyperconnected basically means, you are always connected, a finger tip away. It is a word describing an environment where people are linked continuously through some kind of technology to other people and information.

Another survey from Pew Internet Projects show that 95% of teens ages 12-17 are online, 76% use social networking sites, and 77% have cell phones. Those in ages 18-29? 96% use the internet, 84% use social networking sites and 97% have cell phones. Over half of them use smartphones and 1 out of 4 own tablet computers like the iPad.

Want more Amazing Internet & Social Media Statistics?

[poll id=”7″]

So the same question remains.

  • Will Hyper-Connectedness of Millennials result in greater Benefit or Deteriment in the long run? Let us know your thoughts!
  • OR, at least think of a good caption for that litlte girl on the cell phone. Awesome picture!

Continue Reading

Study says Facebook Users are Narcissist! [Study]

Child using Laptop MediaFacebook & Social Networking Influences on Children

As social media continues to grow in popularity, we are slowly starting to see more psycholgical research regarding the risks and benefits of social media / social networking use.

In a talk called “Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids,” Larry D. Rosen PhD, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominquez Hills, discussed the negative effects social media (e.g. Facebook) has had on children. Rosen conducted a study to determine how overuse of Facebook can lead to the development of psychological disorders in teens. The study was based on a sample size of 1,000 urban adolescents.

Negative points of note:

  • Teens who use Facebook show more narcissistic tendencies.
  • Young adults who use Facebook show more psychological issues such as mania, anti-social behavior and aggression.
  • Children who overuse media and technology (ex. Facebook, Video Games, TV) tends to show negative effects on health. They are more prone to depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems.
  • Middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook frequently received lower grades as Facebook served as a distraction from studies.

Note all research was negative. Below are some positive influences of social networking.

Positive points of note:

  • Adolescents learn how to socialize
  • Young adults who use Facebook are better at showing “virtual empathy”.

Are these really “Positive” Facebook Influences?

I am not sure whether these “positives” are much of a positive at all. It is good to learn “virtual empathy” but in the long run, time is better spend for a child or an adult to learn REAL LIFE empathy. The practice of interacting and socializing in real life context may cause some awkwardness and anxiety, but it is important for children and adults alike to practice so we can become fully functioning contributors to society, our friends, and our families. I do agree that social network does have incremental opportunities to interact and socialize with others, especially those who live far away, but the fear here is when people start to opt to send messages, emails, wall posts over phone calls and real life interactions where real life opportunities are lost.

Larry Rosen’s Advice for Social Networking Use for Children

Larry Rosen, offered some advice for parents by encouraging them to pay attention to the online trends and the latest technologies they are using but be aware that it will be difficult to monitor all of your child’s social networking activities.

“If you feel that you have to use some sort of computer program to surreptitiously monitor your child’s social networking, you are wasting your time. Your child will find a workaround in a matter of minutes,” he said. “You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem, whether it is being bullied or seeing a disturbing image, your child will talk to you about it.”

Social Networking Monitoring Softwares

Despite Rosen’s comments about monitoring your children, if you feel a desire to protect your child from harm, different Social Networking Monitoring tools are slowly coming to public. One such option is ZoneAlarm Social Guard. I have not used this product before, so please by all means, if you have any feedback please share in the comments below. Video introduction of ZoneAlarm Social Guard is below.

Click Here for More Info: ZoneAlarm Social Guard

Social Monitoring Tool Features:

  • Alerts you of “friends” who are much older than they claim to be.
  • Alerts you of inappropriate discussions about drugs, suicide, violence, and sex.
  • Alerts you of inappropriate links that is shared with your child.
  • Alerts you of discussions that suggest cyberbulling.
  • Parents do not need to be on Facebook to receive alerts.
  • Watches your signs that your child’s account has been hacked.

Share Your Thoughts on Social Media Usage

[poll id=”24″]

  • What is your thoughts on this study?
  • What are some other positive and negative effects you see of using Facebook?
  • In the name of irony – like our Clean Cut Media’s Facebook Page
Continue Reading