Categories
Life

There’s conflicting advice on sleep. So what’s true?

Young woman sleeping on a bed on her back
Image: iStock

Sleep is vital for health. Everyone needs adequate, quality sleep. According to Healthline, effects from a lack of quality sleep can include:

  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Various mental health problems (irritability, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts)
  • Weakened immune system, which can affect a person’s ability to ward off illnesses
  • Increased risk of chronic conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and heart disease
  • A vulnerable respiratory system. This leaves a person more susceptible to the flu and common colds
  • Weight gain and obesity

Is going to bed earlier healthier?

Although effects of a lack of sleep seem clear cut, the ‘right time’ is not.

Last week, The Australian published an article suggesting that going to bed earlier can have health benefits. The ideal bedtime is between 10 to 10.59 pm.

Going to bed at midnight or later may increase a person’s risk of heart disease by 25%.

According to lecturer, Dr. David Plans, the reason seems to be our 24-hour body clock.

Our study indicates that the optimum to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviation may be detrimental to health.

Dr. Plans said that the riskiest time to go to bed is after midnight, as it decreased the body’s likelihood of seeing morning light.

Independent researcher, Dr. Neill Stanley blamed later bedtimes on modern lifestyle.

Like Dr. Plans, Dr. Stanley also advocates for people going to bed at a regular and earlier time. It’s suggested that going to bed even ten minutes earlier can increase health.

According to a large study by researchers at the University of Colorado going to bed an hour earlier may decrease a person’s risk of depression by 23%. This finding was published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal.

There is a physical affect of going to bed earlier. A late night may result a rise in blood pressure that carries on to the next day.

So, it seems quite clear cut. Going to be earlier and at a regular time increases both physical and mental health. Well, maybe… but maybe not.

Are bedtime needs determined by biology?

A dark-skinned sleeping baby
Image: iStock

A 2019 article from the ABC website drew different conclusions.

Health psychologist from Sleep Health Foundation, Moira Junge claimed that the ideal bedtime was a ‘myth’.

Dr. Junge said:

It’s a vague science to prescribe a bedtime for people.

Glorica Micic from the Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health at the Flinders University agreed.

She suggested that if people didn’t have commitments and could go to bed when tired, times will vary from person to person.

However, most people were believed to fall into a pattern. Most people fell asleep between 9 pm and midnight and wake up at 6 – 7 am.

Dr. Junge and Dr Micic advised to go to bed when you’re tired. They advised against going to bed earlier.

It’s possible to adjust a person’s sleeping and waking times slightly, often with professional help.

 

So, what’s the truth? Did Dr. Stanley and Dr. Plans debunk Dr. Junge and Dr. Micic? It’s always possible.

Personally, I can kind of see both arguments. However, I’m more willing to go with Dr. Junge and Dr. Micic. I think ideal bedtimes vary from person to person.

What do you think? Are you a night owl or early bird? Do you think one is better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

Categories
Media

Britney Spears is free from Conservatorship

People celebrated the freedom of Britney Spears (Image from Sloan video “Britney Spears is FREE! Now What?)

Last week, Britney Spears’ supporters got the news they were all waiting for. After fourteen years, Britney Spears is free from her conservatorship.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Spears had argued for months that she should be free with her money and assets.

Finally, Judge Brenda Penny ruled in Spears’ favour.

As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated.

 

In June, Spears spoke passionately at a hearing. She slammed the restrictions against her as “abusive”. Spears demanded that the restrictions end without another mental assessment.

Events started turning in Spears’ favour

Despite scepticism from legal experts, the judge granted Spears the right to choose her own lawyer. Spears chose Matthew Rosengart. This turned out to be a great choice.

Rosengart’s first goal was to have Spears’ father, James Spears, removed from the conservatorship. His next goal was to scrap the conservatorship completely.

Rosengart and his team also investigated James Spears. They found mismanagement of Spears’ finances. He told Britney that she could pursue legal action. He also suggested that the New York Times’ documentary allegations that a listening device was placed in Britney Spears’ room be investigated.

James Spears’ lawyers attacked Rosgengart’s allegations as impossible. They insisted that Mr. Spears had only acted in Spears’ best interests.

Spears’ rights taken away

In 2008, the battle between Britney Spears and her father began.

Spears alleged that her father had forced her into a psychiatric ward. People exaggerated Spears’ mental health symptoms.

Spears also told the court that nurses had invaded her privacy. She alleged that nurses forced her to take Lithium, a medication commonly used to treat bipolar, schizophrenia and depression.

In addition, a judge granted James Spears conservatorship on potentially dubious grounds. The behaviour of the judge was questionable at least.

And the kicker: despite forced psychiatric visits, etc, Mr. Spears still had Britney performing.

Campaigns on social media

YouTuber, Michael Sloan Hooks (aka Sl04n), has tirelessly exposed the corruption behind Spears’ court cases. He also exposed how Spears has been betrayed by her father, sister, Jamie Lynn Spears and former business manager, Lou M Taylor.

#FreeBritney gained momentum on Twitter in 2019. To this day, people are still using the hashtag. Britney has publicly thanked the people behind the #FreeBritney campaign, saying that it saved her life.

An injustice that shouldn’t have happened

I’ve never been a big Britney Spears fan. However, I have followed this fight a bit and am glad that justice for Britney has prevailed.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Britney Spears has been repeatedly exploited and betrayed by those she should have been able to trust.

Claims of her mental health and institutionalisation was a farce. It was used as an excuse to have all her rights and property taken away.

I hope that Britney can live her life in peace, now. I hope she can live her life happily, the way she wants.

 

Have you followed the #FreeBritney movement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Categories
Media

Alan Jones leaves Sky News Australia. Why are people surprised?

Alan Jones leaves Sky News Australia

Radio and TV anchor, Alan Jones left Sky News Australia.

Sky News Australia has made a collaboration with British media personality, Piers Morgan.

Jones announced on Facebook that Sky News Australia wasn’t renewing his contract for his nightly show.

 

Was he sacked?

Was Alan Jones sacked? It depends on perspective.

The Guardian Australia wrote that Jones was “dumped” due to disappointing ratings.

However, Guardian Australia acknowledged that Jones was offered a contract for a weekly show on Foxtel app, Flash.

Jones reportedly turned the offer down.

Andrew Bolt: “Alan was not sacked”

Andrew Bolt offers a heartfelt farewell to Alan Jones

Last week, Andrew Bolt gave Jones a heartfelt farewell. Bolt clearly has a lot of respect for Jones, as did his guest, TheAustralian’s Sophie Elsworth.

Bolt strongly claimed Jones “was not sacked”. 

Jones’ controversies

Jones’ critics conclusion Sky News Australia dumped Jones isn’t totally unfounded. His career was littered with controversies.

In the years following September 11, tensions mounted between Muslims and non – Muslims. Jones’ commentary didn’t help.

In April 2005, Jones went on a tirade against Lebanese-Muslim Australians. He described them as “vermin” who “rape and pillage”. 

A few months later, tensions boiled over and a riot erupted in Cronulla in Sydney’s south. 

Keyser Trad brought Alan Jones to the NSW Decisions Tribunal. In 2009, the tribunal awarded Trad A$10,000 in damages. Trad also demanded an apology.

In 2012,  Jones attacked then – Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. After Gillard lost her father, Jones barked that he “died of shame”. After backlash, including from his supporters, Jones apologised.

More recently, Jones caused outrage with his views on COVID-19. In July, 2GB’s Ray Hadley attacked Jones for suggesting an autopsy be carried out on a 27-year-old covid victim.

 Hadley, slammed Jones as “ill – informed”. He also slammed Sky News Australia and its CEO Paul Whittaker for letting it Jones’ comments go to air.

Jones’ controversial comments about covid didn’t stop there. He repeatedly compared covid to the flu and championed controversial treatments, such as Ivermectin.  It sparked YouTube to ban Sky News Australia for uploading their videos for a week. Shortly after that, the Daily Telegraph stopped publishing his columns.

 

While Alan Jones was a talented presenter, he was also a liability to the media companies he worked for. Through hyperbole and misinformation, Jones repeatedly put his employers in a tough position. 

He cost his employers money, and reputation. While not sacking Jones outright, I believe they deliberately gave Jones an offer he could refuse. 

 

 

Alan Jones is beyond retirement age

Let’s put the culture wars aside. Alan Jones is 80. That’s way beyond the average retirement age. I’m not saying Jones should have left Sky News Australia. But it was going to happen at some point.

Let younger people in the media

In the past, people have called out the media for ageism, especially against women.

Audiences have slammed Channel 10 and Prime7 for  letting go of middle age women and replacing them with yonger women or men. Speculations were rampant that ageism and sexism were at play. (The women were in their 40’s or early 50’s at the time).

To me, Jones’ situation different. Like I said, Jones is way beyond retirement age. So, why can’t someone younger take his spot. Give a new and younger presenter the mic!

 

Love or hate him, Alan Jones had a big impact in Australian media. He always let his views known. He resonated with many Australians.

 

But everything comes to an end; including careers. And it seems like this was Alan Jones’ time.

What do you think of Alan Jones? Are you a fan? Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

New rules introduced for Santa and family photos

Santa holding a small coffee cup
Image: iStock

Santa is coming to town.

But the lead up to Christmas is going to be different this year.

Herald Sun reported that Westfield has introduced strict COVID safe guidelines when Santa comes to town.

Strict social distancing guidelines will apply for both adults and children.

Children will not be able to sit on Santa’s lap, regardless of age. Instead, they will sit 1.5m (4.92 ft) away from Santa. It’s also possible that face masks will have to worn in all States and Territories, except Western Australia.

Also, interactions with Santa will need to be booked in advance. This is to avoid crowds.

Despite these restrictions, people are still optimistic.

Group General Manager of Centre Experience, Lillian Fadel said:

We’re delighted to be welcoming Santa to our centres to meet families this festive season.

Five – year – old, Mia Angell is excited.

I have been a little bit naughty, but a lot nicer. I am very excited to see Santa because he gives me presents.

Proof of vaccination

Staff will ask shoppers over the age of 16 to show proof of double vaccination. This will happen as shoppers enter.

Well it’s not ‘essential shopping’. So… I guess, I get it.

Changes to family photos

Family photos will also change. Retailers are asking families to remain social distanced. Photographers will make the photos landscape, rather than portrait.

 

Some Herald Sun commenters aren’t happy. One complained that this will make the family photos more expensive.

They have also pointed out inconsistencies. TheVictorian Government has allowed the Melbourne Cup, where thousands of people will be.

I get distance between the families and the photographer. But the families themselves?

When will it end?

I get it. COVID-19 is still around. It’s still infecting people around the world.

When is enough, enough? When will people be genuinely free? Frankly, it makes efforts that people have made look pointless.

What about vaccines?

New South Wales have already surpassed 80% double vaccination goal. 55.5% of people in Victoria are fully vaccinated.

I thought the whole point of vaccinations was going back to ‘normal’.

So, it should be OK for children in NSW to sit on Santa’s lap. Right?

Why do children have to be social distanced? Is it because children below 16 can’t get vaccinated (for now)?

In further news…

According to Forbes, malls in the US have tried to implement similar restrictions.

Children are expected to social distance from Santa and sit behind a protective window or dome. In some malls, Santa will be given a mask.

Also, for the rest of the year, US shoppers are expected to avoid shopping at malls, or only go once.

Shopper tracking firm, Sensormatic predicted a 22 to 25% drop in shoppers compared to 2019.

 

It seems like we need to live with this long term. The virus is not going to go away. The restrictions are not going to to away, either.

I’m glad that children are able to see Santa in stores. It’s better than nothing.

What are your views of these moves by shopping centres? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

 

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary Social media

YouTube cracks down on misinformation. How far will they go?

YouTube logo
Image: iStock

YouTube has vowed to crack down on vaccine ‘misinformation’.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported YouTube was cracking down on ‘misinformation on the COVID-19 and other vaccines. As a result, YouTube has already removed over 130,000 videos. 

YouTube has seen a worrying trend surrounding vaccine misinformation.

“We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general.

YouTube said they won’t penalise creators for sharing personal experiences. They also promised to allow content that talked ahput vaccine trials and historical successes and failures of vaccines.

Controversial osteopath and lawyer among the banned

YouTube banned American osteopath, Dr Joseph Mercola. 

He lamented on Twitter:

Anyone who asks questions or challenges the hard sell is immediately censored on social media.

Lawyer, Robert F Kennedy has also complained about the crackdown Through a representative, he lamented:

Free speech is the essential core value of a liberal democracy. All other rights and ideals rest upon it. There is no instance in history when censorship and secrecy have advanced either democracy or public health.

These bans have caused outrage overseas. YouTube banned Germany’s RTDE from posting on their channel. YouTube has also banned Russia’s RT channel from uploading further content.

Russia’s foreign ministry has slammed YouTube’s actions as “flagrant censorship and [a] suppression of freedom of expression”.

“Ad – pocalypse”: a reason to be wary

When I first read about this, I was skeptical.

I can’t help but think about what happened in 2016 and 2017. The ‘ad – pocalypse” saw the relationship between content creators and YouTube irreparably damaged. 

For those who don’t know, YouTube cracked down on content they deemed not “family friendly”. One YouTuber that fell victim to this crackdown was Swedish gaming YouTuber, Pewdie Pie. 

In 2017, Ad – pocalypse heated up. Major businesses, such as Amazon and Coca Cola revolted against YouTube after their ads were found on extremist content.

This revolt made Google lose almost US$1billion (US$750million to be exact). 

In response, YouTube cracked down on questionable and “borderline” content. Meaning: everyone who is not CNN or MSNBC have seen their AdSense revenue, views and subscriber count tank or climb at a snail pace.

Content creators have turned to other means of making income, such as Patreon and SubscribeStar to keep afloat. 

Secular Talk‘s Kyle Kulinski has been a vocal critic, claiming that his analytics have suffered ever since.

This is why I’m skeptical about Google’s latest move. Any independent creator with any criticisms or queries about vaccines will probably be penalised. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News will remain favoured by YouTube’s algorithm. 

I find it hard to believe that people who open up about adverse effects from vaccines will not be penalised. YouTube’s algorithm are less than perfect. From my understanding, they rely on tags. Tags don’t usually tell the context of the video.

So, if you talk about the ‘covid vaccine’ as a tag, YouTube may disable AdSense or otherwise penalise you, regardless of your intent.

Big Tech corporations have a habit of going too far when monitoring content. This should make all social media users wary, regardless of your views.

What do you think about Google’s anti – vaccine crackdown? Justified or too far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Mental health crisis: ED patients in mental distress say they won’t go back

Emergency Department sign
Image: iStock

 

TW: suicidal ideation, mental health distress. If these issues are triggering for you, please proceed with care. Seek help if you need it.

A mental health not – for – profit conducted a study that had worrying results.

The Black Dog Institute surveyed 911 participants in NSW and the ACT. Almost half of respondents who experienced suicidal distress said they would refuse to return to emergency departments or seek out further treatment.

43.5% of respondents said they wouldn’t seek out help from ED staff if they experienced suicidal distress.

Reasons given included: long delays, incomplete assessments and a lack of resources.

Associate Professor for Black Dog Institute, Fiona Shand outlined problems faced by many professionals and patients:

They know what the problems are, and they want to do more, but the processes and lack of resourcing don’t allow them to spend adequate time with patients or work in the way they would like.

 

A sign of a broken system

A participant from ACT opened up about her harrowing experience. She claimed that she went to the ED for suicidal thoughts in 2019. It exacerbated her anxiety.

Staff fast – tracked her, only to abandon her for hours. She said the experience left her “agitated”. The isolation could’ve been dangerous. When left on her own, she claimed she could leave the facility with no detection, or self – harm.

If this isn’t a sign of a broken system, I don’t know what is. Something needs to change. And it needs to change now.

People with serious mental health issues are being let down

Depressed woman sitting down distressed
Image: iStock

I’ve written before about the need to fix Australia’s mental health system.

I firmly believe that Medicare should cover mental health completely.

For patients who are diagnosed with a severe mental illness, psychology therapies should be free. An example of a country that does this is the UK.

The Government needs to expand Medicare

Why the hell are people with serious mental health issues going to ED? Because people can’t afford psychology appointments?

Will lifting the cap on Medicare reduce the need for ED admissions? Maybe.

However, if suicidal people do appear in ED, doctors and nurses need to know how treat them.

Effects of good mental health

There are reasons why I keep banging on about this. Good mental health means a better society.

If we improved mental health in our society we will improve:

  • Employment prospects: According to Urban Design Mental Health, poor mental health damages a person’s employment prospects. People with mental illnesses are 10 – 15 per cent more likely to be unemployed.
  • Family: When a person has a severe mental illness, family members are most likely to be carers. This can affect the carer’s employment, health, etc.
  • Homelessness: Another issue that people pay lip service to. 30 – 35% of homeless people are seriously mentally ill.

Too many people are literally dying because of poor mental health. More people are suffering in silence or are getting inadequate care. Enough is enough.

If you’re Australian, feel free to sign this petition for mental health to be properly funded under Medicare. 

 

 

 

Categories
Culture Social media

Instagram linked to poor mental health in young people

Instagram app on device
Image: iStock

The Wall Street Journal uncovered troubling findings on the impact Instagram has on teens.

Instagram’s parent company Facebook Inc conducted the research.

One slide from Facebook’s internal message board last year claimed:

Thirty-two percent of teen girls said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.

Another slide noted:

Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves

Facebook Inc has conducted the research over three years. The consistent findings are worrying.

While not a cause, Instagram has shown to exacerbate depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicidal ideation. 13% British and 6% of American teens blamed Instagram for their suicidal ideation.

Facebook CEO and Head downplay the findings

Not surprisingly, Facebook Inc has downplayed worrying findings.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg argued:

The research that we’ve seen is that social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits.

Likewise, Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri has also minimised the findings, claiming size of the issue was “quite small”.

Instagram banks on young people

Young people are abandoning Facebook. They have been for almost a decade. However, the number of young people using Instagram has exploded.

People aged twenty-two and under make up 40% of Instagram’s users. On average, US teens spend 50% more time on Instagram than Facebook.

That’s why Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Head Adam Mosseri has downplayed the alarming research. At a Congressional Hearing in March this year, Zuckerberg argued:

The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have mental-health benefits

Mosseri downplayed the issues. He said the extent of the problem was “quite small”.

Of course, Mosseri and Zuckerberg will want to minimise links between Facebook, Instagram and youth mental health. Young people on Instagram have become their cash cow.

Instagram and the exploitation of underage children

Canadian Youtuber and podcaster, Josh Barbour is vocal against influencers who exploit children. His campaign was triggered by Myka and James Stauffer’s adoption and ‘rehoming’ of a Chinese child. (I’m not going to use the name the Stauffers gave him).

The case exploded Barbour’s channel, The Dad Challenge Podcast. Since then, Barbour has exposed a whole underbelly of child exploitation on social media.

Piper Rockelle and Liliana K

Two revolting instances of children being exploited on Instagram are Liliana Ketchman (aka Liliana K) and Piper Rockelle.

 

I remember when I saw his video on Ketchman, her account was mass reported. Liliana was underage (twelve, I think). Unfortunately, Instagram refused to take the account down. Reason? Her ‘mother’ (I use that term loosely) ran the account.

I was infuriated. I seriously thought about deleting my Instagram accounts.

A few months later, Barbour exposed the exploitation of Piper Rockelle. Unlike Liliana K, Rockelle was over the age limit (she was fourteen, I think).

The images are beyond revolting.

For me, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I deleted both my Instagram accounts. Please note,  I don’t begrudge those who still have an Instagram account.

However, if people delete their accounts in revolt, I’m all for it. People should hold Facebook Inc accountable.

Platforms like YouTube and Instagram are potentially putting children in danger. The full impact on child influencer culture is yet to be seen.

 

I’ll be fair to Mark Zuckerberg for a second. Do I believe that he  deliberately created Instagram to exploit children? No. But he is responsible. And Facebook Inc is failing a whole generation.

I’m passionate about mental health. I think that mental health care, especially therapies, should be free for clients. If you feel the same consider signing the Green’s petition hereYou can also write to your MP.

Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Let’s broaden discussions on mental health and fix the system

Paper head with heart in the brain

Image: iStock

 

Content Warning: mental health and suicide

Last week had RUOK Day and Suicide Awareness Day. Media personalities and my former high school were encouraging people to check in on loved ones and reach out.

That’s all lovely. I mean it. Everyone has times when they need to talk about issues. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on.

But what if your issues run deeper? What if you are really at crisis point?

Psychotherapies: a major gap in mental health

When RUOK Day comes around, there’s focus on depression, anxiety and the devastating affects of suicide.

While these discussions are a must, I believe there needs to be more. There are more mental illnesses that need advocacy and treatments. These include (but not limited to):

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Substance use disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

All these disorders have a higher suicide rate compared to the general population.

The mental health discussion doesn’t go into the need for psychotherapies such as: dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These are beyond the scope of Lifeline and Beyond Blue.

Mental health: a gap in Australia’s Medicare system

Australia has Medicare. It was first introduced in 1984. For the most part, Medicare allows Australians to access GPs and public hospitals for treatment without being left thousands of dollars out of pocket.

However, when it comes to mental health, there is a massive gap.

The Better Access Initiative

The Better Access Initiative is a scheme that gives eligible people the access to mental health services they need.

Unfortunately, it has its limits. According to Australia’s Department of Health website, the scheme offers 10 individual and 10 group therapy sessions a year.

For some people, this may be adequate. But if you require weekly or bi-weekly therapy, it’s not. For example, to be affective, a person with BPD needs bi-weekly DBT sessions a year. That’s at least 52 individual and 52 group therapy.

Australian Psychological Society encouraged change

In 2019, the Australian Psychological Society published a media release. They warned that the access to mental health services to Australians who needed it was inadequate.

In the media release, APS made a number of recommendations including:

  • More individual sessions available
  •  Group therapy sessions
  • An increase in therapy sessions for families and carers

Now, I’m guessing the Australian Government has implemented the changes by making the increase from ten to 20 sessions a year.

The APS should fight for more.

Follow UK’s example: make mental health free

Australia should look toward UK’s National Health Service (NHS). I get it has its pitfalls, but it’s philosophy is good. Mental health services should be free, even if a referral from a GP or psychiatrist is required.

Maybe the current Medicare Levy may need to be increased. Boris Johnson recently increased NHS rate another 1.25%. Maybe we should do similar here.

How much is a life worth? How much is mental health worth?

At minimum, the Government should  offer free services to people with serious mental health conditions. It may just save lives.

 

People with serious and chronic mental health issues need more than platitudes. They need more than once – a – year campaigns. They need services that they can access without going out of pocket.

What do you think? What changes can the Australian Government make to improve mental health care? Let me know your thoughts below.

Categories
Pop Culture

The Wiggles cast is expanding to promote diversity

 

Australian children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles will welcome new cast members next month. 

Four new members will join Anthony Field, Emma Watkins, Simon Pryce and Lachlan Gilespie. They are from a vast range of cultural backgrounds. Ethiopian – born Tsehay (pronounced Suh- hai) Hawkins, Indigenous ballerina, Evie Ferris, John Pearce, who is Filipino descent and Asian – Australian Kelly Hamilton will be the new members.. 

There are also new characters: Shorley Shawn the Unicorn, Officer Beaples and Bok, the hand puppet. They are non – binary.

The Wiggles accused of going ‘woke’

Not surprisingly, the changes have caused some backlash. Liberal Senator, Matt Canavan is critical of the move. He told The Australian:

The Wiggles are free to do what they like. It was nice while it lasted. But you go woke, you go broke.

Former Australian Christian Lobby Managing Director, Lyle Shelton also attacked the move. In an article published by Eternity News, he savaged the non – binary characters and attacked the use of a rainbow umbrella as a prop. 

Writer and former Australian Defence Force officer, Catherine Mcgregor,  condemned corporate ‘virtue signalling’ as an “absolute insult”. 

Is promoting diversity to children a bad thing?

How does promoting diversity affect children?

Children are naturally curious. Not only that, according to Beyond Blue, promoting diversity to young children can enhance their own self – esteem. It also helps children work out their own place in the world. 

Promoting diversity to children can happen in a number of ways:

  • Allow situations where children can listen and learn from people of various cultural backgrounds
  • Be a role model by being respectful towards people yourself
  • Schools and early education services can translate newsletters and notices to other relevant languages
  • Allow children access to a variety of media that explores people from other cultures. 

Gender identity

Let me say this once. Yes, children DO know about gender at a young age. 

According to healthychildren.org, many children develop their understanding of their biological sex and their gender identity between the ages of two and four. 

It’s this time that children also observe and pick up on gender roles. Many children who identify as gender diverse develop their sense of identity around the same age as cis – gender children. 

Parents can promote gender diversity to young children in a number of ways: 

    Give children books and puzzles that show non – stereotypical gender representations
    Allow children to play with a wide range of toys, regardless whether they are ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ toys
    By age of six, children play with other children and toys that fit their gender identity. Parents, caregivers and teachers should support these choices. 

Stop fear mongering about diversity!

Let’s stop fear – mongering about diversity. People are different, get over it! 

No, children are not ‘brainwashed’ to be a certain gender.

A four – year – old is not ‘too young’ to know their gender identity. 

 

Yes, let ‘children be children’. And let children be themselves, regardless of their ethnicity or gender.

What do you think of the upcoming changes tovThe Wiggles? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Categories
Uncategorized

PATRON ONLY: The history of The Wiggles

In 1991, Anthony Field founded The Wiggles.

According to New Idea, Field dedicated The Wiggles’ first album to his niece Bernadette. She’d tragically died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 1988. At the time, he was touring with his original band ‘The Cockroaches’. 

The Wiggles formed

Field was studying Early Childhood Education in the late 1980’s when he met Murray Cook. 

Field, Greg Page and Jeff Fatt met through music. Fatt played keyboard for the ‘Cockroaches’ and Greg Page was their roadie. 

In 1991, initiated by Field, ‘The Wiggles’ released their first self – titled album. Field dedicated it to his niece Bernadette. 

Field also came up with the band name, after a song he’d written. 

Their first song was Get Ready to Wiggle. 

The Wiggles sold 100,000 copies, despite scepticism. Cook, Fatt, Page and Field had to produce the album themselves. No one would agree to invest in them. 

Due to The Wiggles’ successthings started to turn. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), printed and distributed the album. 

The Wiggles explode

By the late 1990’s, The Wiggles’ career exploded. Everyone wanted a piece of them!

In the mid/ late 1990’s (1996- 1997), the Wiggles started their own TV show. It was featured on the ABC. The 13 – part – series was eventually bought by Channel 7 and Disney Australia.

‘The Wiggles’ gained international attention. They performed in Disneyland in 1998.

Amazingly, The Wiggles’ songs also reached non – English speaking audiences. Their songs were performed in Cantonese and Spanish. 

Unfortunately, by mid 2000’s the original Wiggles started to disband. In 2006, Greg Page left the band after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. 

Murray Cook and Jeff Fatt left The Wiggles in 2012.

Cook has revealed to New Idea that he got very tired of touring:

We toured constantly for ten months of the year for 21 years! I think I was just tired of that part of it. Sometimes, in the middle of a tour, I’d wake up, not having slept much, thinking. ‘Do I have to get up?’. It was quite tiring. There’d be times when you’d be counting the days until the tour was over. 

The original characters

If you know The Wiggles, you know about their beloved characters. 

Since 1991, ‘The Wiggles’ have featured four main characters. They are: Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Captain Feathersword. 

Dorothy the Dinosaur

Dorothy is a beloved green, yellow spotted dinosaur. Opera singer, Carolyn Ferrie voiced the character. She started playing Dorothy when she started going out with Anthony. 

According to Wiggles Fandom, Ferrie voiced Dorothy from 1996 – 2001, 2005 – 2009, and 2010 – 2018. 

Corrine O’Rafferty has played Dorothy since 2017.

 

Henry the Octopus

Jeff Fatt came up with Henry the Octopus. He played Henry at first. Then, Paul Paddick took over the role.  

 

Wags the Dog

Anthony Field originally played Wags the Dog. Paul Paddick ended up playing the lovable dog.

 

Captain Feathersword

Captain Feathersword has been a Field family affair. He’s been played by both of Anthony’s brothers, John and Paul. 

Captain Feathersword added humour by tickling The Wiggles cast with his feather sword.