Archive for the ‘Prime Minister Australia’ Category
The Scary, Online Dating Life of Tweens.
My daughter told me she was hanging out with a boy on Saturday. They went to the park and he asked her to the prom. This came as a surprise to me since I spent most of Saturday with both of my daughters. Also, she is 10. Going to the prom is about 7 years away, and boys are still “others,” usually only talked about when a male classmate did something particularly gross or incomprehensible in school one day.
When I asked her what she was talking about she told me not to worry, this all happened in a virtual world called Fantage, not in real life. And she informed me it’s all moderated — so not to worry.
So, naturally, I did.
Role-playing is the crux of virtual worlds. While everyone knows the stereotype of the geeky guy who creates a super macho avatar and lives out his fantasies in these online universes, kids are drawn to them for the very same reasons. You can be anything and anyone -– you can shop, decorate, socialize, dress and try on different personas, even push boundaries you wouldn’t normally try in real life. In many ways this can be incredibly positive for kids. After all, creating and exploring identity is a natural part of growing up and maturing for tweens and teens, and the best of these virtual worlds can provide opportunities to do that in a safe environment without real life repercussions. Nancy Friedman, in her blog FromHiptoHousewife, detailed her 12-year-old daughter’s first experience of getting hit on by an older man in a nightclub -– all virtually, of course — and how it completely freaked her out. Maybe it will translate into more careful behavior in real life when she gets older, and maybe not. But, it certainly opened the door to a discussion about being in places and dressing in ways that are appropriate for your age.
My daughter was not fazed by her online dating at all. Much like real life, having someone ask you to prom translates into social currency and ups your overall popularity. She even told me that sometimes she prefers the online social world because you can just have fun and relax, move in and out of situations easily and change who you are in an instant.
That appeal doesn’t surprise me, but it does worry me. As much as I think having these virtual experiences can help a kid test out ways of interacting that they can’t in real life, they also can lead to similar disappointments, hurt feelings and in the worst scenario predatory and unwanted behavior.
In the kid-focused worlds this is less of a risk, but many kids are now playing SIM apps that are meant for adults and allow marriage, and for characters to have sex, even though the graphics don’t allow detailed nudity.
So is this any different than kids playing doctor in real life? Is a child pretending to be more mature than their years online really that different from kids playing house, or playing out these scenarios with dolls or Legos? It’s a tricky question, and the fact that when they are online they are interacting with strangers who could be anyone, anywhere of any age, makes it much scarier. But these new playgrounds really are an extension of modern childhood and today’s digital kids are going to use them in much the same way that kids have always used kid spaces to create their own realities and figure out their world. The key for parents is to know what their kids are doing, pay attention to the ratings on websites and apps -– Common Sense Media is a great place to start as are the reviews on the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store –- and keep the dialog going between you and your child.
In the meantime, I’m helping my daughter shop for a prom dress in the online boutique, weighing in on the pink hair versus the blue, and being a little bit thankful that this is all pretend for now.
2012 Olympics: Australia, Japan Criticized For Olympian Gender Discrimination
Australia — Men up front, women in the back.
Not so fast, Olympians.Sports governing bodies from Japan and Australia are being skewered following complaints that male Olympic athletes flew business class to the London Games, while the women sat in the cheap seats.
Japan’s world champion women’s football team took exception to flying economy while their male counterparts sat in business en route to the games.
“It should have been the other way around,” Japanese soccer star Homare Sawa, the 2011 FIFA women’s world player of the year, said after arriving in Paris after the 13-hour flight, with just the short hop to London left. “Even just in terms of age we are senior.”
The Japan Football Association said the men’s under-23 Olympic team members flew in business class because they are professionals. The women, however, are likely be the bigger draw at the games. Only months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan last year, they brought a sliver of joy to their country by winning their first World Cup title.
The Australian women’s basketball team has also been more successful than the men, earning the silver medal at each of the last three Olympics.
On Friday, Basketball Australia said it would make sure the flight flap doesn’t happen again.”(We will) review our Olympic travel policy with the goal of ensuring there is equity between travel arrangements for the men’s and women’s teams attending future Olympics,” the basketball governing body said in a statement.
PNG disappointed by Carr’s sanction threat.
Papua New Guinea’s top envoy to Australia says foreign minister Bob Carr’s threats to impose sanctions on his nation are disappointing.
Senator Carr said on Wednesday any failure by PNG to hold its planned mid-year elections would be a “shocking model” for the Pacific and could result in sanctions.
PNG High Commissioner to Australia Charles Lepani says for Senator Carr to make such a comment “on his first sojourn” as foreign minister is disappointing.
“We were very surprised and very disappointed about this statement,” he told ABC Radio on Friday.
“Though it’s not in a mould that Australia would want it, we do have a very robust system of democracy.”
Mr Lepani said wielding the big stick of sanctions was akin to likening PNG’s predicament to that of Fiji’s, where military rule has been in place since Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2006.
But Mr Lepani says his country is nothing like Fiji and is very proud of its democratic institutions.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has pledged a full, free and fair election for late June but is facing calls – including from his own deputy – to delay.
His deputy, Belden Namah, says the poll should be pushed back for 12 months to give the government more time to implement its polices and to stamp out any potential for fraud.
Mr Lepani said Mr Namah had since retracted this statement and confirmed the PNG prime minister’s position that the elections will proceed “as planned and on schedule”.
He also sought to reassure the Australian government that recent mutinies within PNG’s military would not threaten the stability of its nearest regional neighbour.
“At this stage we are very certain that nothing will prejudice or jeopardise the democratic institutions through military activities in the country,” he said.
He said relations between PNG and Australia were “resilient” and would continue as such despite Senator Carr’s comments.