Why Social Media is Ruining Your Relationships

Consider social media’s role in modern life, its ability to mold relationships, and how it impacts an individual’s self-image.

How would you define a friend? Is it someone you could turn to no matter what? Just call my name and I’ll be there? Or is it someone who you’re in near-constant contact with, speaking to all day, every day? Is it the person you’ve got the longest “Snapstreak” (chatted on Snapchat for over three days straight) with? How much one-on-one time do you have together? And what are your conversations like – deeply engaged and empathetic, or more interrupted and punctuated into bite-size snippets?

The impact that social media is having on all of our relationships, spanning our families, friends and romantic couplings to our very relationships with ourselves, has been fundamentally altered by the way we use our devices to communicate with each other. What we now need from our networks is in flux, and the very nature of friendship and the foundations on which we believe they should be based have changed almost beyond recognition. The question is: is social media enhancing our social lives, or is it doing the exact opposite?

Humans are by definition social beings. From a genetic perspective, we have evolved to live in social groups for both protection and reproduction. Being social makes us buoyant: connection to a group makes us happier; social exchanges reduce the stress hormone cortisol, while simultaneously raising feel-good oxytocin and serotonin. Being social is basically like biological crack – so is it any wonder that we’ve become so very quickly, so very deeply infatuated with social media?

Read the full article from utne.com by clicking this link

Why Warmth is so Important

It is really important to nurture and protect your warmth. Warmth deserves more attention than it usually gets. Warmth holds a very special place in the life of both the developing child and the adult, because it works throughout the entire spectrum of human experience. There is physical warmth, emotional warmth—the warmth of love, of generosity, of true morality—and all of these “warmths” pour over and merge with each other. Perhaps most importantly, warmth is the essential ingredient in transformative work. Without warmth we cannot change, and our life is full of processes of growth and adaptation. Warmth helps us be healthy human beings on many different levels.

We actually already know warmth very well, but too often we think of it in mundane ways. Consider for a moment your kitchen and how you cook. Warmth allows different objects and ingredients to be blended, to develop whole new flavors, and to become well integrated. While this may seem like a simplistic example, the human being is actually continuously called on to integrate: to become comfortable in new situation, to penetrate and maintain the substances we take into our body, just generally to develop a sense of security and understanding about all the new and unusual experiences life brings. To bring what is in, out; to make what is foreign, one’s own. Warmth is essential in that process.

Waldorf teachers and Anthroposophic physicians have been talking about the importance of warmth for almost 100 years, out of the understanding that fostering physical warmth helps us better integrate on physical, developmental, emotional and spiritual levels. And while it is an understanding born out of many ancient healing traditions, it continues to be “proven” in the 21st century:

To read the full article from The Denver Center for Anthroposophic Therapies which includes tips on maintaining your child’s health through warmth please click this link

Why do young people think some drugs are ‘safe’ or ‘harmless’? Put simply, we tell them ‘lies’ and we don’t teach them to ‘respect’ all drugs

The most commonly used definition of a drug is “any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically.” Drugs can be legal, illegal or pharmaceutical and can be taken in a variety of ways, including “via inhalation, injection, smoking, ingestion, absorption via a patch on the skin, or dissolution under the tongue.”

Over the past 18 months I have been talking (and writing) about a number of substances that appear to be becoming increasingly popular with school-based young people – nitrous oxide (‘nanging’), ‘jungle juice’ (or amyl nitrite), cannabis, and ecstasy/MDMA. With all of these, growing numbers of students are telling me that they (or at least, their friends) believe these drugs to be ‘safe’ or ‘harmless’ – two words that you don’t ever want to hear young people use in relation to drugs. Now, before you start to panic and think that we have a major drug epidemic amongst Australian school students, it is important to acknowledge that according to the latest data, illicit drug use is relatively stable amongst this group. The two exceptions are ecstasy/MDMA (which has unfortunately doubled in use in recent years) and cannabis (which has begun to increase in popularity in recent years but is still at far lower levels than it was in the 90s). My great concern is that when anyone, but particularly the very young, start to believe that a drug is ‘safe’, that’s when things begin to go horribly wrong …

Read the full article from “Doing Drugs with Paul Dillon” by clicking this link

This article has been recommended to parents by our Wellbeing Worker Annie Barrett

Simplifying childhood may protect against Mental Health issues

When my Dad was growing up he had one jumper each winter. One. Total.

He remembers how vigilantly he cared for his jumper. If the elbows got holes in them my Grandma patched them back together. If he lost his jumper he’d recount his steps to find it again. He guarded it like the precious gift it was.

He had everything he needed and not a lot more. The only rule was to be home by dinner time. My Grandma rarely knew exactly where her kids were.

They were off building forts, making bows and arrows, collecting bruises and bloody knees and having the time of their lives. They were immersed in childhood.

But the world has moved on since then. We’ve become more sophisticated. And entered a unique period in which, rather than struggling to provide enough parents are unable to resist providing too much. In doing so, we’re unknowingly creating an environment in which mental health issues flourish.

When I read Kim John Payne’s book, Simplicity Parenting one message leapt off the page. Normal personality quirks combined with the stress of “too much” can propel children into the realm of disorder. A child who is systematic may be pushed into obsessive behaviours. A dreamy child may lose the ability to focus.

Payne conducted a study in which he simplified the lives of children with attention deficit disorder. Within four short months 68% went from being clinically dysfunctional to clinically functional. The children also displayed a 37% increase in academic and cognitive aptitude, an effect not seen with commonly prescribed drugs like Ritalin.

As a new parent I find this both empowering and terrifying. We officially have a massive opportunity and responsibility to provide an environment in which our children can thrive physically, emotionally and mentally.

So, what are we getting wrong and how can we fix it?

Read the full article from raisedgood.com by clicking this link

Why technologists are limiting their families’ screen time

Fears over the side effects of digital devices and social media are prompting tech experts to limit the time they and their children spend online.

Michelle Simmons is Australia’s most decorated technologist. So it may seem surprising that for her three children, aged 11, 14 and 15, smartphones and social media are off limits.

“I saw how addictive it was if they had phones or iPads with them at Saturday sport,” Simmons, the 2018 Australian of the Year, says.

Like many of us, Simmons has witnessed the unnerving spectacle of a small child utterly transfixed on a phone or tablet. “If you try to take a device from them before the age of five, you normally get a pretty strong reaction because they get addicted to it pretty quickly.”

The Scientia professor in quantum physics at the University of NSW doesn’t use social media herself, and seems to find it disheartening how frequently others do.

“You have got half an hour spare, and you can do something that might be quite productive or engrossing, or you can look at the phone. I often see people choose the latter.”

She’s determined to prevent this behaviour at home. “When children are young, they can get access to things they aren’t mature enough to know how to deal with. Limiting access, from that perspective, is about helping them to appreciate their childhood as much as they can.”

Read the full article from The Age by clicking this link

STEAM not STEM: Why scientists need arts training

In 1959, the British physicist and novelist C.P. Snow delivered a famously controversial lecture at Cambridge University. He described a post-war schism between two groups — scientists and the literary world.

Snow identified this as a newly emergent divide, across which each party was more than happy to sneer at the other: Scientists proudly unable to quote a phrase of Shakespeare, and literary types untroubled by the second law of thermodynamics.

Those divisions within the university seem now more deeply entrenched than ever before. And those working within the arts and the sciences face a third antagonist in society: Populism, with its attendant and increasing distrust of intellectuals.

This powder keg occurs in a context of growing economic disparity and, incongruously, the increasing role of technological innovations in our daily life.

I’m a computer scientist who studies digital culture. I try my best to bridge the divides, but constantly ask the question: How can universities train our scientists, technologists and engineers to engage with society, as Snow suggested, rather than perform as cogs in the engine of economic development?

I believe we need our educational system to engage students with issues of ethics and responsibility in science and technology. We should treat required arts and humanities courses not as some vague attempt to “broaden minds” but rather as a necessary discussion of morals, values, ethics and responsibility.

Read the full article from thecoversation.com by clicking this link

“Fortnite” may be a virtual game, but it’s having real-life, dangerous effects

“They are not sleeping. They are not going to school. They are dropping out of social activities. A lot of kids have stopped playing sports so they can do this.”

Michael Rich, a pediatrician and director of the Clinic for Interactive Media and Internet Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital, was talking about the impact “Fortnite: Battle Royale” — a cartoonish multiplayer shooter game — is having on kids, mainly boys, some still in grade school.

“We have one kid who destroyed the family car because he thought his parents had locked his device inside,” Rich said. “He took a hammer to the windshield.”

A year and a half since the game’s release, Rich’s account is just one of many that describe an obsession so intense that kids are seeing doctors and therapists to break the game’s grip, in some cases losing so much weight — because they refuse to stop playing to eat — that doctors initially think they’re wasting away from a physical disease.

Read the full article from the Boston Globe here

Boredom – The Cauldron of Creativity

Søren Kierkegaard said, “Boredom is the root of all evil.” Indeed, idleness has been looked down upon for centuries. Recent studies on the matter have brought much new information to light, but for many of us, the long-standing notion that a bored person needs an “activity” can lead to a reactionary approach if our child is bored. In a worst case scenario, a bored child places themselves before a screen. In a better scenario, we schedule them in activities to limit boredom or present them with a list of possibilities……..But, psychologists, neurologists and child development experts are now encouraging a third option: just let them be bored. No rescuing, no ideas, no schedule and no screens. Just let our children sit in the stew of inactivity. But why?

Read the full article from the Waldorf School of Philadelphia here

I cannot plant imagination into my children. I can, however, provide an environment where their creativity is not just another mess to clean up but welcome evidence of grappling successfully with boredom.”

CBRSS congratulates Byron Bay’s Bundjalung people on their land and sea native title determination

Byron Bay’s Bundjalung people celebrate long-awaited land and sea native title determination

A native title claim for areas of land and sea around Byron Bay in northern New South Wales has been approved almost two decades since it was first lodged with the Federal Court.

“There is no fear in native title,” Ms Rotumah said. “Native title is a recognition of people’s rights and interests in lands and waters. It means [the Bundjalung] can continue to be sustained by the ocean, to go out and fish, and beach worm, get pippies — all those things we’ve been able to do, and now we’re having a rubber stamp put on it giving us the thumbs up.”

Read the full article by ABC news here.

How the iPhone rewrote the teenage brain

Lawyer and social researcher David Gillespie has been delving into the complex business of the teenage brain. He says the usual teenage compulsions like smoking, drinking and drug taking are in steep decline, as teenagers are now more likely to seek a pleasure hit from their screens.

But the games and social media apps they use are deliberately engineered to be addictive.

Unlike drugs and cigarettes, their devices are supported by parents, with few restrictions on their use.

Listen to an excellent interview with David Gillespie by Richard Fidler on the ABC’s Conversations here

David’s Book on this subject is called Teen Brain and is published by MacMillan

New Waldorf 100 Movie

“Becoming…” – a new film explores early childhood around the world in the 21st century.

On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Waldorf Education, Waldorf 100 in cooperation with the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf early childhood education (IASWECE) presents a film about early childhood today in the mirror of different cultures worldwide.

No age has a deeper impact on the whole of life than the first years of childhood. “During those first seven years, children develop their bodily foundation for life. They explore and experience the world with their senses and through meeting the other. These early encounters in life have a deep influence and long lasting effect on the making of their own being,” says Clara Aerts, coordinating member of IASWECE and co-producer of the film, which was shot in the USA, Israel, Japan, India, South Africa, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Germany. “The experiences that we make possible – or withhold – for our children at this age form the most elementary basis for their further lives and thus ultimately for the future of humanity.”

“Becoming…” is the third film in a series of short films produced on the occasion of the centenary of Waldorf Education under the direction of the award-winning Californian documentary filmmaker Paul Zehrer, and which provide an insight into the inclusive diversity of Waldorf Education under the most diverse cultural, social, religious and economic conditions around the globe. “Becoming…” was premiered at the international IASWECE congress “Inner Freedom – Social Responsibility”, which took place in April at the Goetheanum in Switzerland. The film is now available on the websites of Waldorf 100 and IASWECE.

Today there are almost 2,000 early childhood centres and around 1,200 schools worldwide that work on the basis of Steiner/Waldorf education. In 2019, the anniversary year, a large number of events, congresses and activities take place all over the world, dedicated to the challenges of the present and the future and involving pupils, parents and teachers alike.

Waldorf 100 coordinates these activities. On 19 September 2019, the central worldwide celebration will take place in Berlin’s Tempodrom.

For further information please contact Henning Kullak-Ublick, hku@waldorf-100.org.

Watch the video by clicking this link

I Don’t Want Parents to Feel Guilty, I Do Want Them to Trust Their Child More

Limiting screen time or even going full bore screen free has been equated with some kind of super-involved, activity-curating parenting. If you walked into my home, you would know this is quite a myth.

We may have more “messes” and odd “junk” lying around than the average family, but perhaps less parent involvement. I do love to play with my kids and do it quite often. But, my husband and I both work, I run every day, we always cook at home and like to talk to each other once in a while. That means I cannot possibly be playing with my children all the time.

Being Screen Free Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Take Time for Myself

“I need a moment’s peace,” or “I refuse to feel guilty about screen time when it’s the only way to make dinner,” imply that those parents who don’t utilize screens in this way take no time for themselves. I think it’s quite the opposite.

It’s actually rather narcissistic to believe that we are the center of our child’s universe. We are critically important, but make no mistake, your child is the center of their world.

Let me also say that I bear no grudge or judgment against parents who do use screen time in a limited fashion for specific purposes. However, I do disagree with the idea that it is typically necessary.

Being Screen Free Does Mean I Trust my Child

When I go for a run, do yoga, make dinner, read, talk to my husband, filter through permission slips and bills, or any other activity that requires my full attention, I trust my child to find something to do. This is called “self-directed play” and it means that I recognize the need to get out of my child’s way, at times. I think this sends a very different message than handing over a screen when I cannot pay attention. To me, handing over the screen seems kind of apologetic, “I’m so sorry I can’t pay attention to you. Because I feel guilty about that, here’s some curated, highly engaging content so you don’t have to be aware of my lack of attention”

I want my child to know I cannot pay attention to them sometimes. I want them to sometimes struggle with that. I want them to know that I believe they can do it. They can handle the struggle. They can find something interesting and creative to do that is far better than anything I could curate for them. I want them to have continuous small exposures to negative emotions (jealousy, boredom, loneliness), so they do not feel the need to distract themselves from these emotions later in life.

Read the full article at Screen Free Parenting here

Why Kids Need Wilderness And Adventure More Than Ever

Let your kids be wild.

These days, our kids’ lives are overscheduled, filled with pressure, and can be pretty intense. School, homework, sports and/or other extracurricular activities fill the week and often consumes many weekends as well. We all can feel like there is no time left to fit anything else in. There has to be. Our younger kids and teenagers need wilderness and adventure in their lives and who better to model it to them than us, their parents. I would actually argue that it is more important than a lot of the scheduled activities we have them in now. Wilderness and adventure will help develop them into well-rounded young adults.

Read the full article here

Screentime Is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy:

Six Ways electronic screen time makes kids angry, depressed and unmotivated

By Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D.

Children or teens who are “revved up” and prone to rages or—alternatively—who are depressed and apathetic have become disturbingly commonplace. Chronically irritable children are often in a state of abnormally high arousal, and may seem “wired and tired.” That is, they’re agitated but exhausted. Because chronically high arousal levels impact memory and the ability to relate, these kids are also likely to struggle academically and socially.

At some point, a child with these symptoms may be given a mental-health diagnosis such as major depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD, and offered corresponding treatments, including therapy and medication. But often these treatments don’t work very well, and the downward spiral continues.

What’s happening?

Both parents and clinicians may be “barking up the wrong tree.” That is, they’re trying to treat what looks like a textbook case of mental disorder, but failing to rule out and address the most common environmental cause of such symptoms—everyday use of electronics. Time and again, I’ve realized that regardless of whether there exists any “true” underlying diagnoses, successfully treating a child with mood dysregulation today requires methodically eliminating all electronics use for several weeks—an “electronics fast”—to allow the nervous system to “reset.”

If done correctly, this intervention can produce deeper sleep, a brighter and more even mood, better focus and organization, and an increase in physical activity. The ability to tolerate stress improves, so meltdowns diminish in both frequency and severity. The child begins to enjoy the things they used to, is more drawn to nature, and imaginary or creative play returns. In teens and young adults, an increase in self-directed behavior is observed—the exact opposite of apathy and hopelessness.

It’s a beautiful thing.

At the same time, the electronic fast reduces or eliminates the need for medication while rendering other treatments more effective. Improved sleep, more exercise, and more face-to-face contact with others compound the benefits—an upward spiral! After the fast, once the brain is reset, the parent can carefully determine how much if any electronics use the child can tolerate without symptoms returning.

Read the full article here

The positive benefits that Eurythmy gives to children.

The life force or life energy which makes a plant grow is the medium through which Eurythmy functions. Look at a healthy child – rosy cheeks, radiant energy, clear eyes and good muscle tone. Eurythmy fosters and maintains this healthiness. Specific movement sequences are introduced with imagery, which is in itself life-giving – e.g. Rather than being instructed to move in a straight line and then a curve, the teacher might say “let’s walk across a narrow bridge to a sandy island in the middle of a lily pond and then run around the shore on a white pebble path”. Eurythmy strengthens and renews this life force that is so often depleted through our hectic lifestyle.

We have been created and born with the help of spiritual forces that stand behind what we call the 12 zodiac signs and the 7 planets. The sound of each consonant and each vowel rings from one of these cosmic forces. Each has created a part of our body or maintains the functioning of an organ. The ‘music of the spheres or the LIVING WORD is reflected in the healthy functioning of the child’s body. The spiritual energy, life force, etheric force or chi behind the physical movement of the arms for each consonant and each vowel maintains and strengthens this connection between the macro cosmos and the micro cosmos (the child). A beautifully spoken poem or verse where these consonants and vowels sound together in harmony, moved with the arms or the whole body, alone or in a group with others in the room on different forms, strengthens and balances the whole being of the child – body, soul and spirit.

The spiritual essence that, which the child calls “I”, gives and maintains its uprightness. It takes hold of the baby when it stands upright for the first time.

A strong calling of the name of a child who is dreaming away calls on this “I” or self. You often see it become more upright in its posture when called consciously. Rhythmic activities with copper rods strengthen this uprightness or presence of self and improve the posture. The metal copper has a stimulating effect on the blood circulation, which is the physiological carrier of this I AM, force. Rhythm carries life! The name Eurythmy means beautiful rhythm or pleasant flow.

All movements in Eurythmy are rhythmic or life-filled. This strengthens the life forces that maintain the health of the body and brings harmony into chaotic forces redness and a deepening concentration (finding the centre or SELF). We can all experience how effective it is doing the same thing at the same time each day.

The LIFE BODY, the organism that maintains our physical body, is also the carrier of thought (intelligence). The brain itself is more a reflector than a computer. Through moving in a eurythmic way where every movement is filled with meaning and where the feeling life of the child is also engaged, we foster intelligence through will activity.

Better concentration, co-ordination, better posture, better spatial awareness and social relations are the result. Dyslexia has been successfully treated with special eurythmic movements.

There is a whole field called Curative Eurythmy that works through life movement directly into the physical body. The Anthroposophical doctor who has knowledge of Eurythmy and its effects on the child prescribes the specific exercises.

Listening and speaking: The heard, understood and spoken word is what makes us truly human. In Eurythmy the child’s etheric or life body listens or speaks – makes the word visible. You can sense corresponding movement in and around the larynx when someone speaks beautifully. This region also cringes or contracts when it vibrates to the horrible screaming of a furniture seller on TV. We love to listen to a well-modulated voice and we dislike stridency. The life body of the child engages the physical body to make the corresponding movements to what it “hears”. The child’s arms move and it becomes as it were a gigantic larynx through which the spiritual world “resounds”.

It is important that the content of the poem or the piece of music is beautiful and has a deeper meaning behind it. That engages the child’s feelings as well as its thinking and when children move beautifully – eurythmically – to a well spoken poem they make the flesh become WORD just as so many years ago the WORD became FLESH.

Find out about the benefits of Eurythmy yourself. CBRSS now offers Eurythmy for Adults on Wednesday mornings,  see the post earlier in this Bulletin for details.