A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution.
Read more. [Image: Hanna Rosin]
Registering babies at birth may be a routine, almost automated process in the United States, but it’s a rarity in some impoverished nations in both South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report released on Tuesday by UNICEF. In all, there are nearly 230 million children in the world who are nameless and stateless. And they may languish in anonymity for a good portion of their early lives.
Living without any proof of your existence can be a major challenge. The associated paperwork is often necessary to secure healthcare, education, and other basic rights. And children who don’t have identification are also left at higher risk of displacement, exploitation, and human trafficking. In the chaos of war or disaster, reuniting children separated from their family can be difficult, if not impossible, without proper documentation. And with no formal proof of age, marriage, military service, and employment may all become a reality much sooner than appropriate.
Read more. [Image: Stuart Price/United Nations]
When I asked my middle-school students what an AK-47 is, they flung their arms up so quickly that I thought someone might dislocate a shoulder.
A rousing (and mostly accurate) description followed. Then, I asked my favorite question:
"How do you know that?"
As the cacophony of “It’s an assault rifle!” and “It’s the most popular gun!” gave way to debating the merits of various Grand Theft Auto sequels, I silently thanked the violent video-game gods.
Middle schoolers love to talk about things they know, and they love to talk about things they do. Put these two together, and we could very well have an enlightening discussion about gun control.
It was a fitting moment to segue:
"So, what do you know about the gun fired at the LAX airport shooting?"
It may seem unusual to talk to young students about such an unsettling topic, but it’s business as usual for me, as I teach current events to 6th, 7th and 8th graders at an after-school academy in the Koreatown district of Los Angeles.
Read more. [Image: David Goldman/AP Photo]
Every October, as World Series drama unfolds, parents lament that their kids don’t care about baseball.
Their concern is hardly unfounded: Baseball has, indeed, lost its edge with young people, and the usual suspects—video games and competition from faster-moving sports—bear some of the blame. But there is another culprit, one that takes us back to the roots of the modern game. Baseball became our national pastime when its early pioneers turned a wild game into a demonstration of their diligent efforts and sober respectability.
No wonder kids today think it’s a drag.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia Commons/Ed Yourdon]
Thanks to NIH furloughs, children with cancer are actually being turned away from clinical trials.
At 11:02pm, on Thursday, August 29, my son entered the world, taking his first breaths calmly in my wife’s arms.
Since then, I’ve avoided writing about him. For one, I have not wanted to process this experience in real-time. Everything’s always changing, like the little micro expressions that canter across his face and then disappear the second I bring my camera to the ready, and I just don’t know anything yet about being a dad.
Friends of ours who had a baby two weeks before we did refer to their own “birth” as parents when their little boy came into being. That’s how I feel, like a newborn, unsure when to eat, in-and-out of the dream world, and as likely to provide a coherent answer about fatherhood as my little boy is when we ask, “Why are you the most beautiful thing on Earth?”
Guest-starring white people, children, baguettes, and glockenspiels
Toy guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Nevertheless, campaigners in Pakistan are aiming to get imitation Kalashnikovs and Glocks off the streets, saying they help breed a culture of violence among children.
The campaigners have targeted Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of Ramadan (August 7-9) to launch their effort, knowing that children will be eager to buy new toys with the pocket money they traditionally receive during the festivities.
Nongovernmental organizations, poets, singers, and peace activists plan to fight back by staging walks, petitioning the authorities, and talking to parents and shopkeepers in the hope they minimize interest in the toy weapons that traders stock up on during Eid al-Fitr.
Read more. [Image: Morteza Nikoubazi/Reuters]
The United Nations issued a report on Wednesday stating that the number of civilians killed or wounded in Afghanistan rose by 23 percent in the first six months of 2013, with women and children faring the worst — killed by roadside bombs almost every day. An earlier UN report noted that “Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child”. Over a third of Afghans are living in abject poverty, violence is escalating as NATO forces withdraw, and years of international aid has done little to decrease the abuse of women and children. These children, growing up in a country torn by warfare for decades, do their best to live normal lives — learning to cope with the dangers, finding time to play when they can, and learning lessons from the adults all around them. The photos below are part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.