In a policy statement entitled, "Media Use by Children Younger Than Two Years," to be published in the forthcoming issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has reiterated its 1999 recommendation that children under the age of two are prevented from watching any TV.
Big news considering that in a recent survey, 90 per cent of parents said their children under age 2 watched "some form of electronic media."
On average, children in this age group watched TV for one to two hours a day. By age 3, almost one third even have a television in their bedroom! Further, parents who believe that television has educational value were twice as likely to keep the television on all or most of the time.
As more is known about children's early brain development, what helps and hinders learning, the AAP stands by its recommendation to keep children under age 2 as "screen-free as possible."
The AAP found that while many programs for infants are marketed as educational, there is no evidence to support that they actually are. Unstructured play is still the key to learning for this age group. TV can cause sleep problems and language delays.
Bottom line: young children learn best from -- and need -- interaction with humans, not screens.
Wales may be the first country in the UK to ban spanking, or what it calls "smacking" as a means for parents and caregivers to discipline children.
"The UK is completely out of step," admits Labour AM Christine Chapman. "Thirty other countries across the world have banned smacking."
"Parents who hit children tend to do it when they are angry," Chapman continued. "It is rarely done in a cool, calculated way. We don't condone hitting adults and it is nonsensical to say that children can be hit."
"When does an open hand become a fist?" asked Plaid Cymru AM Lindsay Whittle, another advocate of anti-smacking legislation. "When does an open palm dislocate a jaw or perforate an eardrum?"
The current legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland allows "reasonable chastisement" of children, while Scotland changed its law in 2003 to ban hitting on the head, shaking or punishing with a belt, cane or other implement.
Here in Canada, spanking isn't regarded as a criminal act when force "is part of a genuine effort to educate the child, poses no reasonable risk of harm that is more than transitory and trifling, and is reasonable under the circumstances."
The above doesn't apply to children under two or teenagers. And use of instruments -- such as rulers and belts, or striking a child on the face or head -- is prohibited.
Unfortunately, what constitutes "reasonable" force is always open to debate. Isn't it time Canada put in place a full ban on corporal punishment for children, like Sweden did back in 1979?
You've got to hand it to the South Americans.
When the going got tough, the tough go on strike. Not just any old kind of strike, but a hit-you-where-it-hurts-most kind of strike. That's right: the women of Barbacoas, a town in south-west Columbia, withheld sex until officials finally caved and paved the old horse trail to their isolated town.
When the project failed to materialize, instead of taking the news sitting down, the local women "crossed their legs" in protest, e.g. their men didn't get any until something was done.
"The desire was great and we took advantage of it," said Luz Marina Castillo, the leader of the protest.
Incredibly, the strike, which began in June, only concluded last week when transport minister German Cardona promised to invest $21 million to pave the first 17 miles of the route.
Initially the men laughed, then "reality set in" as they realized the women weren't kidding.
"The day we saw the machinery arrive, we couldn't believe it..." said Castillo. "It was very special, not just for the movement, but for all Barbacoans. Imagine, it was decades of oblivion."
I'm thinking this strategy may work wonders in the GTA, or at the least, my own household.
Fess up. Do you ever use your feminine wiles to get a job you want done?