Staying Safe Online

Back in the day, I used to work on a Technical Support helpdesk for an Internet Service Provider. Yes I was one of those guys you ring when your internet stops working. It was around this time, when I began to care less about how the internet worked, instead I cared more about why people used the internet, and how people behave online.

I guess it was natural then that my interested was caught, when I had email come through about a new campaign from Get Safe Online and their partners. This is a campaign aimed at making people think twice before they act online, and not fall pray to scam emails, texts, or other forms of ‘Social engineering’ where fraudsters manipulate victims into sharing confidential information.

They hope that the following advert will “encourage the public to think twice before they act online”


Whilst the advert can possibly seem a fear inducing, I guess its to raise awareness. For example, you cant always believe that you’ve had an email from a friend who has randomly found himself stuck in the Ukraine., and needs money to get home*.

The Get Safe Online website is worth a look for their massive amount of advice ranging from online banking to safeguarding children.  While I’m not likely to send money to someone who says they’re randomly stuck in the Ukraine, resources to help educating our little one as she grows up in a more connected age then myself can only be helpful

David Cameron wants people to attend parenting classes.

Todays news features a speech David Cameron is expected to make tomorrow on parenting, and his want for people to attend parenting classes.

According to The Guardian:

The prime minister will call for a revolution in child rearing this weekend by suggesting that all parents should attend classes on how to discipline their children.

In a move likely to enrage those fearful of an encroaching “nanny state”, David Cameron will say that it should be the norm for parents to receive instruction on how to behave around their offspring.

As part of a speech on the family, Cameron will announce plans for a parenting classes voucher scheme, claiming that all parents need help and that there is too little state-sponsored guidance on offer.

“In the end, getting parenting and the early years right isn’t just about the hardest-to-reach families; it’s about everyone,” Cameron is expected to say on Monday. “We all have to work at it. And if you don’t have a strong support network – if you don’t know other mums or dads – having your first child can be enormously isolating.

“Of course they don’t come with a manual, but is it right that all of us get so little guidance? We’ve made progress. We’ve dramatically expanded the number of health visitors, and that is crucial. But that just deals with one part of parenting – the first few weeks and months. What about later on, when it comes to play, communication, behaviour and discipline? We all need more help with this – the most important job we’ll ever have. So I believe we now need to think about how to make it normal – even aspirational – to attend parenting classes.”

Read the rest over at The Guardian.

A couple of things about this (in no particular order):

I associate classes, with learning how to do something. Is there a right way of being a parent?

David Cameron is expected to say “having your first child can be enormously isolating.” Thank goodness for Sure Start centres already existing, and already helping with this. Oh hang. haven’t a load been closed?  If David Cameron is that keen to start parenting classes, why cant he throw this money into Sure Start and other Children’s centres, and use some of that for parenting classes?

I had the the phrase Nanny State going around my head before its mentioned in the article… didn’t the Conservatives  in the past accuse the (then) Labour government of running a Nanny State? 

I know I’m being negative about this, but I do like the idea of helping people know how to parent if they want it. I can imagine parenting classes being helpful if you’re memories of your own parents aren’t great, or you’re not in a stable position yourself.

It could be the choice of language that I have a problem with? Perhaps “Parenting Support Groups” would be better? Safe places in the community were people can come, with or without kids, and mix and talk with more experienced parents? Possibly have a few “parenting help” videos playing in the corner? A library of books to borrow? Staff who can signpost to other agencies as needed? They can be places of casual learning and support, without the risk of being told the right way of being a parent.

Looking at the above paragraph, I cant help but think that there isn’t much there on top of what other groups (EG Childrens / Sure Start Centres, Nappuccinos, Churches) already do. David Cameron used to speak about a Big Society, why doesn’t he support the people in the community to help parents more, rather then spending the extra money on setting up something massively new?

Besides… Didn’t David Cameron leave his daughter in a pub?

Whats your thoughts on these plans?

Not a post about Pigs…

I dont know about you, but I’m a fan of Twitter. Most of the time its a nice way to keep update on people, websites, and local news, but every now and then something stands out, and well… its kinda funny. When allegations started to break last night of things that David Cameron may – or may not have done to some poor swine, the hammed up puns came thick and fast.

Whilst the toddler was being particularly distracting today, I wondered what people were being distracted from in the news? What are we not talking about?

How about, Free School Meals? Or I guess that they might be going…

According to The Independent:

Free meals for infant school pupils are likely to be scrapped in George Osborne’s November spending review, it has been reported.
According to Sky News, the government is considering the cut despite pledging to continue the policy in the 2015 Conservative manifesto.

Free hot school meals for all schoolchildren between four and seven, regardless of their parent’s income, were introduced by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2014. It was estimated that it would cut costs to parents by £400 per year, per child.

Government departments were ordered by the Chancellor to cut their budgets by up to 40 per cent in July, under his spending review due in November.

The Department for Education has the majority of its spending budget protected.

However, £14 billion of spending within early years education is subject to cuts and the Universal Infant Free School Meals programme (UIFSM), which is estimated to cost between £600m and £800m per year, falls under this category.

I guess time will tell if The Conservatives will keep school meals fair.

While we are waiting, please sign this petition to ask the government to keep Universal Infant Free School Meals in schools.

In the mean time, I guess we could always talk about the amount of tax paid by Lord Ashcroft, our response to the Refugee Crisis, use of foodbanks, the price of bacon…

The Dad Network

News Biting A Bit Close To Home.

You know that feeling when you see something a bit bad in the news?

You know that feeling when that bad thing is where the parents live…

You know when you decide to call… just in case… and it turns out that this report is your parents place…

Sadly this turned out to be spot on, as this thatched roof belongs to the Mackay Cottage at Oldborough. (It was only their place that was affected – ignore that bit in the report). Thankfully they’re ok, the house is saved… if in a bit of a mess.

New roof needed, new carpets needed, and maybe some work needed where water has come in around the tarpaulin that has been put up by the thatcher.

From what I’ve heard, the Fire Service were AMAZING.

I guess any prayers / good vibes you could send their way would be appreciated.

Devon Toddlers Toilet Seat Training

Parenting ideas are a strange thing, there are some parenting ideas that seem to last for ever, others seem to be fashionable for a while. One particular fashionable idea seems to be how to toilet train toddlers. After reports of one toddler getting his head stuck in a toilet seat, it seems to have happened again in Exmouth, Devon.

According to The Express and Echo:

Exmouth fire crews came to the rescue of a three-year-old boy who got a toilet training seat stuck on his head this morning.

One fire engine was called out to Richards Close in Exmouth at 11:21am and released the child by cutting through the plastic seat with snippers.

The firefighters said the little boy, who had managed to ram the loo seat down past his ears, was a bit “perturbed” when they got there but was fine as soon as it was removed.

“Perturbed”, that means, “gently upset”, right?

Seen this story before? It last happened in East Devon only about a month ago…

Breastfeeding Mum? Thinking about Voting UKIP? Nigel Farage has something to say to you…

There seems to be an interesting combination of headlines about breastfeeding today. On one hand, new research has been released reporting that, new mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their children up to the age of 18 months to save the NHS money. On the other hand Nigel Farage reckons breast feeding mums should go in the corner, rather then feed in an “ostentatious” way. Which I think is a fairly “ostentatious” word itself.

According to The Independent website:

He said some people feel “very uncomfortable” and “embarrassed” about seeing women openly breastfeeding, although it isn’t a scene that he is “terribly hung up about”.

“I’m not particularly bothered about it, but I know a lot of people do feel very uncomfortable, and look – this is just a matter of common sense, isn’t it?” he said on LBC Radio.

“I think that given that some people feel very embarrassed by it, it isn’t too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that’s not openly ostentatious,” Mr Farage said.

His comments come after a mother was given a large napkin to cover her baby while feeding her baby in Claridge’s to avoid causing “offence” to other guests.

“Frankly, that’s up to Claridge’s, and I very much take the view that if you’re running an establishment you should have rules,” he said.

When asked if women should perhaps sit in a toilet if they want to feed their babies, he came up with another solution.

“Or perhaps sit in the corner, or whatever it might be – that’s up to Claridge’s,” he said.

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that Nigel Farage isn’t aware that according to the The Equality Act, it is illegal to stop mothers breastfeeding their babies in public places. It is a surprise that as someone who tries to position himself as “a man of the people”, Nigel Farage has made such a pro-business comment.

Or maybe breastfeeding mums dont count? Thinking about it, I dont think I’ve ever met a mum that feeds in a pretentious way…

On a slightly different note, the official UKIP twitter account for the fictional town of Trumpton had this to say.




For more reading check out:

More mothers should breastfeed for 18 months to save NHS money, say researchers
Trumpton UKIP