Each year, more parents send their young child to elementary school equipped with a smartphone.
For instance, the percentage of third-graders who reported having their own cellphone more than doubled from 19 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2017. Similar increases took place for fourth-graders and fifth-graders. About half of fourth-graders and 70 percent of fifth-graders went to school with a phone in 2017.
Parents often cite the ability to easily reach their child as the major advantage of giving them a device, which they view as a safety issue. “Stranger danger” and sexual predators are often the first risks that occur to parents. Some public schools are adopting policies that limit personal contact between students and teachers. But bullying and cyberbullying are more common concerns, and in my 2017 research, I found that that giving a young child a cellphone increases the likelihood that the child will either become a victim of bullying or a bully themselves. This study of approximately 4,500 elementary school children in the U.S. found that having a cellphone in elementary school was associated with being involved with both bullying and cyberbullying, both as a bully and as a bully/victim. A “bully/victim” is a child who is, at different times, both a bully and a victim of bullying.
The research found that while more than half of third-grade bullies carried cellphones, only 35 percent of children who were uninvolved in bullying did. Even more dramatically, three-quarters of third-grade cyberbullies carried cellphones, compared to only 37 percent of third-graders uninvolved in cyberbullying. Results were similar, but a little weaker, for fourth- and fifth-graders.
It may be that results were strongest among the youngest children because of their relatively more limited ability to understand how communications works in a digital setting. For example, in my field work at the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, I’ve learned that teenagers are wary of emotions escalating quickly online, realizing that such emotions can lead to fights and bullying. However, younger children typically haven’t yet learned this lesson. It was this gulf that motivated me, with a colleague, to create a children’s guide to getting their first cellphone.
Kids can learn to use cellphones safely, and there are practical steps that parents can take to minimize their young child’s odds of involvement in bullying and cyberbullying, along with cellphone practices that can help ensure the overall well-being of their child.
Here are a few tips:
1. Establish ownership
The phone is not your child’s – it’s yours. Thus, you always have the right to look at it. By checking your child’s phone, you may detect messages or posts that can suggest involvement in bullying or cyberbullying. A 2012 MacAfee study found that half of kids changed their online behavior if they believed their parents were checking.
2. Take cellphones out of dinnertime
A 2014 study from researchers at McGill University found that family dinners helped protect kids from bullying. Dinnertime can be a time to connect emotionally, even when no conversations of deep importance take place. It can also be a time to discuss challenges and difficulties, and to debate solutions and strategies, with input from the people who love you. Unfortunately, family dinners can be easily interrupted by notifications or messaging from cellphones. For that reason, a “no devices” rule at the dinner table can help promote family connections that are protective against bullying.
3. Limit use during homework
Listening to music can be OK, but watching videos and TV shows or playing games shouldn’t happen while homework is being completed. Studies that look at multi-tasking agree that it degrades memory, learning and cognitive performance.
4. Don’t allow use before bedtime
It’s been well documented that bright screens right before bed can delay or interrupt sleep patterns. Sleep problems, in turn, have been linked to becoming involved in bullying. To promote healthy sleep and reduce the odds of bullying, help your child practice good sleep preparation habits by putting away digital devices an hour before bedtime. If they want to read from their device, use an app that has a UVB filter or dim and “flip” the screen to a black background.
To help your child stay asleep, devices should be kept outside the bedroom overnight. Even if your child intends to sleep, a buzzing sound or vibration can wake him or her up. It can represent a strong temptation to send messages, chat or play games.
5. Set a good example as a driver
Encouraging kids to put down the phone when they are in a car can literally be a lifesaving habit that can begin in elementary school. A review of statistics noted that cellphone use is the second-leading cause of distracted driving. Each day, 11 teenagers are killed as a result of texting and driving. To lessen the risks of this happening in the future, parents can teach young children to not use their device in the front seat of the car; it can be a place to talk, instead of a place to text.
6. Instill responsibility
Carrying a cellphone isn’t a right – it’s a privilege. As a parent, encourage responsible cellphone use by linking digital privileges with responsibilities. Show children how to budget internet time with apps like unGlue. Teach your kids that discussing social problems is part of being mature enough to carry a cellphone. And consider having your kids pitch in around the house to “earn” their digital privileges.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
I’m a scholar of black feminism in the Americas, so I have been closely watching Brazil’s 2018 campaign season – which has been marked by controversy around race and gender – for parallels with the United States.
Her successor, then-Vice President Michel Temer, quickly passed an austerity budget that reversed many progressive policies enacted under Rousseff and her predecessor, Workers Party founder Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva.
The move decimated funding for agencies and laws that protect women, people of color and the very poor.
Racism in Brazil
In Brazil, these three categories – women, people of color and the very poor – tend to overlap.
Brazil, which has more people of African descent than most African nations, was the largest slaveholding society in the Americas. Over 4 million enslaved Africans were forcibly taken to the country between 1530 and 1888.
Brazil’s political, social and economic dynamics still reflect this history.
Afro-Brazilians – who make up just over half of Brazil’s 200 million people, according to the 2010 census – are also underrepresented in Brazilian politics, though sources disagree on exactly how few black Brazilians hold public office.
In São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, 105 black women ran for office in 2014. This year, 166 are. In Bahia state, there are 106 black female candidates for political office, versus 59 in 2014. The number has likewise doubled in Minas Gerais, from 51 in 2014 to 105 this year.
As in the United States, Brazil’s black wave may be a direct response to alarming social trends, including sharp rises in gang violence and police brutality, both of which disproportionately affect black communities.
But many female candidates in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, say one specific event inspired them to run.
Brazil has hundreds of black women’s groups. Some, including Geledes, a center for public policy, are mainstays of the Brazilian human rights movement. The founder of the Rio de Janeiro anti-racism group Criola, Jurema Werneck, is now the director of Amnesty International in Brazil.
The fact that thousands of black women, both veteran activists and political newcomers, will appear on the ballot on Sunday is testament to their efforts.
As in the United States, black Brazilian women’s demand for political representation is deeply personal. They have watched as their mostly male and conservative-dominated congresses chipped away at hard-won protections for women and people of color in recent years, exposing the fragility of previous decades’ progress on race and gender.
Black women in Brazil and the U.S. know that full democracy hinges on full participation. By entering into politics, they hope to foster more inclusive and equitable societies for all.
South African artist Thokozani Mthiyane, center, poses with students from the Ember Charter School in Brooklyn, N.Y. after an art workshop in Johannesburg on Sept. 29, 2018. Dozens of students from a Brooklyn charter school are visiting South Africa to explore African cultures and South Africa’s journey from racial tension to reconciliation. (AP Photo/Christopher Torchia) (AP Photo/Christopher Torchia)
South African artist Thokozani Mthiyane told dozens of children from a Brooklyn school to close their eyes and imagine “the worst scenario that you can.”
Then he told his hushed audience at a Johannesburg art gallery to “find a way out,” through imagined trees and sky, to “where we would like to be.”
That was his enigmatic answer to a question about why he is an artist, delivered during a workshop for visiting American students from low-income families at the Ember Charter School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Bed-Stuy is known for its African-American heritage, and the trip is a chance to expose the children to African cultures and South Africa’s journey from racial tension to reconciliation.
The children also visited the Constitutional Court building, constructed in part from bricks that were originally part of a prison during white minority rule known as apartheid.
“We have an opportunity to explode their minds,” said school founder Rafiq Kalam Id-Din.
Mthiyane told the dozens of children, many in their early teens, about his eclectic influences — artists Mark Rothko and Jean-Michel Basquiat, poet Langston Hughes — and encouraged them to find inspiration within themselves.
“How do you feel?” he asked after a drawing exercise.
“It made me feel excited to see what the outcome would be,” one student said to applause.
A student asked: “Did you live through apartheid and if so, what was that like?”
Yes, Mthiyane replied. He said the system that ended in 1994 with all-race elections made him ask “taboo” questions about why it existed.
Apartheid, he said, was bad not just for the people it ostracized but also for “the person who’s exercising that power over you.”
The Rev. William J. Barber II, president of the N.C. state chapter of the NAACP and architect of the protests known as “Moral Monday,” speaks during a Bible study at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. in this June 24, 2015, file photo. Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., and founder of Repairers of the Breach, a leadership development organization, was named one of this year’s MacArthur fellows by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Oct. 4, 2018. In 2017, Barber began a series of “Moral Monday” rallies outside the North Carolina state Capitol to protest laws that suppress voter turnout. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
The Rev. William J. Barber II, architect of the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina and leader of the resurgent Poor People’s Campaign, has won a MacArthur “genius” award.
Barber, 55, pastor of Goldsboro, N.C.’s Greenleaf Christian Church and former president of the state’s NAACP chapter, has long been viewed as a rising star in progressive activist circles.
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, he brought the audience to its feet with a speech that charged Republicans with misusing faith for political purposes and espoused social justice concerns as essential to American democracy.
Earlier this year Barber resurrected the Poor People’s Campaign, first organized by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. before his death to lift up issues of poverty, racism and voter suppression through a series of rallies and demonstrations. The 40-day campaign culminated with a demonstration on the National Mall in Washington in June.
Barber was unavailable for comment on Thursday (Oct. 4) according to a spokesperson, because he was arrested in Chicago while participating in a “Fight for $15” rally convened by fast food and other workers demanding higher wages and the right to unionize.
“Merging moral and activist traditions, Barber is providing a faith-based framework for action that strengthens civic engagement and inspires the country to imagine a more humane society,” the MacArthur Foundation said of Barber. As one of 25 recipients of the so-called genius award, Barber will receive a grant of $625,000 paid over five years.
The Rev. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, speaks at the event on the National Mall on June 23, 2018. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks
Barber is one of 25 MacArthur Fellows announced Thursday (Oct. 4) by the Chicago-based foundation. They include a composer, several artists, a poet, a mathematician, a psychologist, a computer programmer and a community organizer.
It is not the first time the MacArthur Foundation has awarded its prestigious fellowships to a clergy person. The Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, a Roman Catholic priest and now a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, won the award in 1984.
In a YouTube video prepared for the official announcement, Barber said: “My drive comes from a number of places. My father early on taught me that the only purpose of life is to make a difference in the lives of others and to stand up for what is right and just and full of love and full of compassion.”
In 2013, Barber began a series of demonstrations called “Moral Mondays” intended to challenge local Republican measures to cut unemployment benefits, health care funding and environmental regulations. Police estimated weekly attendance of more 2,500 on the lawn of the state legislative building. More than 900 demonstrators were arrested when they tried to enter the state Capitol.
The rallies, which became weekly events, were credited with helping defeat then Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and elect Democrat Roy Cooper.
With his bearlike stature and thundery oratory, Barber lent the movement the feel of a church revival. Demonstrations began with prayer, and Barber’s speeches were inflected with biblical references to Pharaoh, Goliath, good and evil.
MacArthur’s webpage said it awards fellowships to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”