Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Vacation!!!

Well I'm off to my Christmas vacation now so I'll be seeing you in around 2 weeks. Meanwhile, let me leave you with an entertaining but thorough quiz which will test you with your knowledge of child safety. I think the questions in this quiz accurately reflects the safety queries parents are dealing with in real life. Better know the answer now rather than later!

Click to take the quiz.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Food For Thought

I just recently came across an article which raises a rather controversial issue related to child care and safety...

A 12 year old girl in Scotland was hospitalized due to a degenerative bone condition, leaving her spine to be like that of an 80 year old woman's. The report, which can be read at Times Online stresses that the condition was caused by the lack of Vitamin D, typically obtained by consuming liver, oily fish and dairy products. The girl was also found to have contracted a severe form of rickets and a number of fractured bones, possibly caused by the strict Vegan diet had been imposed her by her parents, who were also Vegan.

A Vegan Diet or Veganism, as defined by Wikipedia, is a diet and lifestyle that seeks to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Now I am not a Vegan but I am also not intolerant of other people's beliefs and practices. In fact, I don't like eating meat all that much (but I am just a sucker for seafood). I also love vegetables and I really would encourage everyone to eat more of it. What I am though, is a firm subscriber to the idea of balance.

What do I mean by this? There are two important points which occurred to me here, which ultimately leads to one word.


First off, lets discuss the obvious. If we take the news at face value, it is quite apparent that diet played a huge factor in what happened. Lets say the parents argue that it was not the diet that debilitated their child. While it is true that Vitamin D is mostly found in animal based foods, it is also said that some mushrooms provide vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) in variable amounts. Sun exposure also helps, Ultraviolet (UV) B radiation with a wavelength of 290-315 nanometers penetrates uncovered skin and converts cutaneous 7-dehydrocholesterol to previtamin D3, which in turn becomes vitamin D3. These are facts that can be found on the webpage of National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, which I'm pretty sure is accurate.

The website also says...

"Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis."

Given these premises, it can easily be concluded that the girl perhaps did have Vitamin D deficiency. However, Vegan or not, her parents should have seen to it that she got a balanced diet and that her nutritional requirements were being met. There is just no excuse for not doing so.

Second point. This is pretty straightforward and will sting a lot of parents who gets to read this. I am not a parent, but please correct me if I'm wrong when I say...

A good parent should know when to say "yes" and when to say "no" to a child.

Individually, to be successful in life, we need to know when to say "yes" and when to say "no", am I not correct? When a business proposal sounds good, what do you say? If a friend tells you to do a bad thing for him, what would you say? If your kid asks you for a candy before eating lunch? What about after? It's all about making the right decisions at the right time... right?

Of course nobody is perfect, but we should always strive for it. If we can't have it, we should at least be able to have a high rate of successes in decision-making. Aim for the mountains and you'll hit the trees. Aim for the stars and you'll hit the mountains. I think that's how the saying goes.

Parents should double or even triple the effort in attempting to make the best possible choice. Why? Because parents choose to have a child, they should be aware that their child's life relies on how well their decision making is. The choice and consequences of bringing a child into the world is theirs and theirs alone.

Like naming a child. A child has not one iota of power to decide what he is named at birth. The choice always belongs to the parents. Take for example an interesting case where a couple decided to name one of their child, of all the names...

Adolf Hitler!

Poor kid. Read the rest of the story here.

Similarly, do you think the 12 year old girl that I had mentioned earlier had a choice, lifestyle-wise? Highly unlikely, I think.

Which brings me to the word Deprivation. She was most certainly deprived and denied a choice from the start. Whether a Vegan diet or lifestyle is beneficial of not, she really wouldn't know because it was already imposed on her from the beginning. The people responsible for giving her love and care obviously made a wrong choice at the wrong time. And so we see its disastrous repercussions.

So what do you think?


Beginning the this post earlier, I was planning to write an informative article about diet but I guess I got carried away again. Anyhow, going back to the subject of balance, here is a link where you can find a good deal about the Food Pyramid. Again, I'm not in a position to say the Vegan Diet is wrong, but I personally would recommend following a diet scheme similar to what you'll find here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Something I've Just Read

I've been reading a lot today, browsing my Digg, Delicious, Mixx etc. and I came across this article about torture in videogames. I would have to say that I totally agree with the author. Sure bring it on!

Did you read the article? Now it may seem that I'm just echoing the author's sentiment here, and you may also be wondering why in God's name I am agreeing to more violence in videogames. Hasn't Grand Theft Auto done enough damage? Okay let me start by saying no, I am definitely against the display of senseless violence, may it be on TV or whatever media. Also I would like to add something else to what was written in the article, something pretty obvious though.

As you may know, I too am a gamer. Although I haven't been playing a lot of new games (haven't had the time, sadly) I think I'm not yet that far behind in game innovations. A lot of new games strive for ultra-realism, in fact, creating a new videogame now is no different from creating a hollywood movie. There are actors, there's a storyline, production costs etc. A really powerful movie, take for example "Schindler's List", it was very graphic and intense. It had torture. However, I'm betting that the sex and violence were not intended to titillate or entertain, it was quite for the opposite in fact.

How does this relate to videogames? And to child safety even?

The movie I mentioned was rated R and is geared towards mature audiences. And yes videogames also have a rating scheme. However, I am really sure that a lot of teens and preteens have already finished playing GTA. I have played GTA.

But I stopped. Why? It really did not give me anything. What I was playing was something I was already seeing and hearing in the news. What was in the news, I wanted to stop. Drive-by's, drug running, gun smuggling. Organized crime. Prostitution. The works.

Comparing apples to oranges you say? Ok, both have violent and sexual content. Both are very powerful visual media. Movies and videogames are meant mainly for entertainment. Let's say you make a 10 year old play GTA. Make him watch Schindler's List. I predict very different results.

One gives senseless gratification while another raises awareness. Just my 2 cents I guess. Of course there are also movies which promote senseless violence. There are lots and lots. However, I feel that children, the youth, gravitate more towards videogames, which parents may not know a lot about.

So parents, be careful what you buy for your kids this holiday okay?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh Really Now?

shannon, Your Karmic Alignment is: Optimistic!


Score: 6 In general, you tend to create poitive actions. You have a caring personality which gives you positive Karma. Every now and then you slip up and harvest negative Karma. But, all in all, you follow lines similar to the Monks on their way to enlightenment.

If it's true, then... COOL!
Yes I StumbleUpon it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One Kid's Horrifying Story

Okay, I think I have to post this before anything else, as the peak of the holiday season is just around the bend.

I have a short story for you. This is true, mind you.


A father and his kid daughter went into a mall one day. It was a big mall and everyone inside were busy as bees going about their last minute Christmas shopping. The holiday music playing at the background calmed no one, it was merely being drowned by a cacophony of footfalls and crowd murmur. There were a lot of tinkling and ringing and beeping but it was not at all musical. It was irritating, frightening even.

They proceeded into a department store. Parents would do what parents do in a mall and so would children. For adults, the mall is a place for business. For children, it is a playground with lots and lots of things to look at. A child's first impulse, understandably, would be to look for interesting things while their parents conduct their boring affairs.

So as the dad fleetingly looks away to talk to a saleslady about something, his daughter gravitates towards the adjacent aisles, mesmerized by stacks upon stacks of toys. It seemed apparent that diverging interests were intent on separating the two.

The child, after gazing at the wonders, soon enough took her pick. A pink "My Little Pony" toy was the request of the day. She turned around for her father, hoping that her doe eyes would ensure the purchase of the toy. What greeted her instead were unfamiliar and indifferent faces.

The shock came slowly but surely. Realizing that she was alone, the child began to search around the aisles. Her father should just be around there... somewhere? But he wasn't. He was nowhere.

"The car! He could be waiting for me at the parking lot!" the kid thought. She walked and scouted around, all the while attempting to recall how to get there, but every corner and hallway she went to looked the same. A lump in her throat began to swell.

It could have been around 30 minutes, maybe an hour? Or two? It seemed like forever for the panic-stricken little girl. Her fear began to escalate as a man in a blue uniform and hat started to follow her. He began talking and asking questions, but the girl did not answer. She was told by her parents never ever to talk to strangers.

She ran.

With her head throbbing and tears already flowing, she makes a move for the escalators. But another suspicious looking person in a suit quickly intercepts her...


It is a true story! I swear!

How did it end? Well, the man in the blue suit uniform was a security guard and the other man who intercepted her was the store detective. She was then returned safely to her dad, who was also in tears.

I'm guessing that you already know who the kid in the story is? It definitely wasn't any fun, I tell you! ;p

But in all seriousness, who do you think the ordeal was more horrifying for?

One can never hope for a child to mind himself situations such as these. As always, it is only the parent who has the responsibility and capability to make sure that his or her child is safe and protected.

Here are some simple but indispensable "Do's and Dont's" of holiday child safety which you can keep in mind to avoid similar harrowing experiences.

There's no denying that the ending of the story could have been different, so it's certainly better to be extra cautious.

Now that I recall, I didn't even get to take home the pony!

Have a Happy Holidays ya'll! :)

Hello World!

Hello World!

If you're a computer programmer, by any chance, you'd get the phrase written above. If you did not, it's just me, Shannon, introducing this blog to the world! (just imagine Simba being presented on a cliff!)

I've decided to create this blog for a noble cause, as you shall see. I'll be updating this with lots of informative and (hopefully) entertaining stuff about me and my topic of choice.

This is my first blog post. See'ya later!