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Opinion/Commentary

People are worried about Christmas costs

Six Christmas gifts wrapped in red, green, white and good wrapping paper and with ribbon bows
Image: Liliboas, iStock

‘Tis the season… to be extra frugal. And, unfortunately, worry about finances.

According to Herald Sun, recent research revealed that some people are planning to go without gifts this Christmas, due to financial strain.

40% of survey respondents told online market researchers, Toluna, that they are stressing about not having enough money for gifts. 19% of couples plan to forego gifts altogether.

Young adults under thirty- four have been hardest hit financially, with 75% of young adults saying they’ve changed plans due to cost pressures.

Even workplace Secret Santa is causing stress.

Toluna director, Sej Patel isn’t surprised that people are stressed about Christmas.

…it’s not a surprise that Aussies are also feeling the pinch this Christmas.

Our research shows that despite being under financial strain, the social pressures and expectations around gift- giving are making this a particularly difficult time of year, with some saying it is dampening their Christmas spirit

Sej Patel as told to the Herald Sun, 1 December 2022

Cost of living also a worry in Britain and the U.S.

Australians aren’t the only ones worrying about costt of Christmas.

Prices of essentials have skyrocketed in the UK.

Experts predict that inflation will remain at 11% for the rest of the year. According to British Retail Consortium, the cost of fresh food increased by 14.3% in November.

To ease financial stress, UK’s government has offered Brits a one- off paymebt of £650 (A$1154). That may help a little bit in the moment.

Regardless of what governments have done, people are struggling. Recent events around the world has turned everything on its head, including at the ‘most joyful time of year’.

Not surprisingly, cost of living has hit the U.S, too. According to the Ameican Psychological Association, almost 90% of U.S adults says inflation is causing stress.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 90% of people are literally losing sleep because of financial stress.

This is catastrophic on people’s health. Lack of sleep causes a number of health problems including:

  • Loss of short and long term memory
  • Troubles with concentration
  • Increase risk of accidents
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure
  • Higher risk of heart disease

Tips on easing stress of Christmas spending

Young woman at laptop with credit card online shopping
Image: Geber86, iStock

So, what can you do to combat financial stress this Christmas?

Lisa Rapaport wrote some tips on Everyday Health. These include:

  • Don’t avoid financial reality. Deal with debts, expenses, etc with eyes wide open. Ignorance isn’t going to make it go away.
  • Set financial boundaries. Only buy gifts and other festivity items that you can afford. It’s a good idea to plan in advance and write a list of what to buy.
  • Focus on experiences, rather than gifts. Make the gift exchange into an event. Do a potluck or a family meal that will create lasting memories.
  • If you are in real dire need, turn to the local food banks in your area. Don’t feel ashamed if you need to turn to these services. The last couple of years have been a rollercoaster for everybody. Try and allow yourself and your family to enjoy Christmas. If you need extra support, get it.

Whatever you do for Christmas, try and make it as enjoyable as possible. Preferably without a massive debt following you into 2023.

Have you adjusted your plans this Christmas? Leave any thoughts in the comments below.

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Opinion/Commentary

Herald Sun accuses Facebook users of trying to rort NDIS

Image: iStock

Newscorp columnist, Andrew Koubardis wrote a list of requests Facebook users were allegedly trying to claim.

The opening sentence is pure sensationalism:

From dog washes, electric toothbrushes, iPads, vinyl floorboards, personal training sessions and sex workers – nothing is off limits.

Full list of NDIS claims Australians are trying to claim, Andrew Koubardis, 22 October, 2022

No explanation on what iPads are used for? Vinyl floorboards?

The article copped some backlash:

Without knowing the specific needs of any of these people, or the severity of their disability, we really can’t judge their request.

Martin — 23 October 2022

Commenters attacked the using of Facebook as proof for dodgy requests:

This are posts [sic] from a Facebook group… they are not advice or pollicy of the NDIS. Several of those items absolutely would not be justified as a purchase in the legislation, and this article takes the advice of random people on Facebook as confirmation it would be abused. The sort of article that does nothing but make the general public hate on people with a disability, even more than they already do.

Sandy — 22 October 2022

Koubardis and commenters were slammed for misrepresenting NDIS funding and why it may be needed:

This article and many of the comments being made are shockingly inaccurate, there are so many people with significant disabilities who can barely get enough NDIS funding to cover their everyday care needs, yet people commenting here seem to think NDIS is a free bucket of cash to spend on luxury items!! An iPad is a reasonable and necessary disability expense for someone whose disability means they are unable to communicate verbally. An electronic toothbrush is a reasonable and necessary disability expense for someone whose physical disability means they struggle to manually brush their own teeth effectively. Meal deliveries are a reasonable and necessary disability expense for someone whose disability means they are unable to cook for themselves (far more effective than a support worker having to come and cook for them everyday). Just because something is a luxury for one individual doesn’t mean that it isn’t a reasonable and necessary disabilty expense for person with disability. *

Lucy — 21 Octobe4 2022

*Comment is published how it was written in the Herald Sun.

History of Newscorp attacking the NDIS… and the people on it

This isn’t the first time a Newscorp columnist has attacked the NDIS.

Andrew Bolt has been a critic of the scheme from the start. He slammed fifty lawnmowing and gardening companies for allegedly signing up to the NDIS to help famiilies with children with autism.

An unnamed business owner allegedly “secretly wondered” whether all his clients needed his assistance.

A landscaper and cleaner allegedly claimed that 2500 people in Tomakin, New South Wales were signed up to the NDIS.

In 2017: Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine was slammed for suggesting there was an “autism boom” when the NDIS was rolling out. And, like Bolt, Devine suggested the NDIS was just a pot if gold to be exploited.

I’m saying that the NDIS can’t and has never been exploited. But this constant demonisation from, arguably Australia’s largest commercial media outlet is wrong. It doesn’t do any good, especially for the people already dealing with complexities of the NDIS.

We’re talking about people’s lives. Lives that have been ignored and abused for too long.

Nobody has the right to judge the needs for someone from a marginalised group. It’s up to GPs, psychologists, occupational therapists, etc to determine a client’s disability and their needs. Not click – bait hungry journalists.

What do you think? Do you have any experience with the NDIS? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Opinion/Commentary

The issue with Kanye West is lack of accountability. Until now

American rapper, Kanye West wearing a navy blue cap with 2023 in white block numbers
Tucker Carlson gave soft interview to Ye West

Content warning: antisemitism and mention of the Holocaust

American rapper, Ye West (formerly Kanye) has caused a stir after a number of scandals.

He was seen at Paris Fashion Week with conservative commentator, Candace Owens. They both wore ‘White Lives Matter’ shirts.

Twitter deletes tweet for antisemitism

On Thursday, Twitter deleted one of West’s tweets. His tweet is condemned for antisemitism. West has hit back, claiming he can’t be antisemitic because he’s black.

Candace Owens also defended him on her show. She claimed:

[shows deleted tweet] That was the tweet and people subsequently demanded that the Tweet be taken down for antisemitism. Now, if you are an honest person you did not think this tweet was antisemitic. You did not think that he wrote this tweet because he hates or wants to genocide Jewish people. This is not represent the beginning of the Holocaust.

Candace Owens, Candace Owens Podcast,

Instagram also reacted, restricting West’s account.

In the aftermath, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson gave a relatively soft interview toward West. From the start, he strongly defended West, castong doubt of the antisemitism claims. He also defended the display of the ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt.

Tucker Carlson on Fox News defending Ye West. On the right, a picture shows West and Candice Owens wearingvshirts with 'White Lives Matter' on the back
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson defended Ye West on his show, including denying Ye’s tweet was antisemitic

Is bipolar disorder to blame?

Ok, let me say this from the outset. Mental illness is never an excuse for being abusive, bigoted, etc. Having said that, a number of commentators, including Ana Kasparian fron The Young Turks and Kyle Kulinski from Secular Talk have pointed out West’s bipolar disorder as an explanation to his recent behaviour.

However, London – based forensic psychiatrist, Sohom Das disagrees. While he acknowledged West’s bipolar diagnosis, Das said that his recent behaviour isn’t usually indicative of grandiosity in mania.

According to Verywell Mind, grandiosity (or grandiose ideation) in bipolar is an exaggerated sense of self – importance. In contrast, delusions of grandeur are delusions of superiority with no evidence to back it up.

Latest update: There’s a backlash against Ye West. According Billboard YouTube channel, LeBron James pulled an entire episode of The Shop which featured West. He cited ‘hate speech’ to defend the axing of the episode.

On Tuesday, Missouri Attorney General, Republican, Eric Schmitt caused controversy for posting a tweet supporting West after he wrote the antisemitic tweet.

America needs a @kanyewest @KidRock tour

After an uproar, Schmitt deleted the tweet from his personal account. In his defence, Schmitt said that he liked both Kid Rock and West’s music. However, he was quick to point out that he didn’t always agree with their views.

This comes less than a month before the US Midterm elections.

So, what’s up with Ye West? In my opinion, West is an attention seeker. I also think that he’s got away with so much over the years (i.e. the 2009 VMAs, pretending to kill Pete Davidson in a video, etc). I think he’s pushing the envelope, to see how far he can go.

Luckily, people are waking up. I really think he needs less ‘yes’ men and more accountability.

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Opinion/Commentary

Treatment guidelines for ADHD have been revealed

Image: iStock

Earlier this year, the ADHD Professional Association came under fire for recommending ADHD medication under six as a first resort.

This went against the Therepeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA warned against using medication as a first resort for children under six.

Well, treatment guidelines for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have come out.

ADHD treatment guidelines are implemented

According to the ABC, the first official guidelines for treating ADHD have been approved.

It’s hoped that these guidelines will help improve the lives of approximately 1 million Australians that live with the condition. It also offers a uniform treatment for those who have ADHD.

So, what are the guidelines? Was AADPA’s initial controversial proposal approved?

Guidelines

According to the guidelines, diagnosis and treatment are extensive and conplex. Both psychological and medicinal treatments are discussed.

Here are some of the recommendations:

  • Clinicians (General Practitioners or psychiatrists) conduct a “comprehensive assessment” to determine ADHD diagnosis
  • If the patient has a cardiac condition, GP must contact the patient’s cardiologist for an opinion on treatment
  • The ADHD symptoms must cause “significant impairment” before medication is prescribed
  • If close monitoring is required, clinicians are advised to offer short – acting stimulants (i.e. immediate release methylphenidate or dexamfetamine)

Medications that clinicians canQQ prescribe include:

If a certain medication isn’t working, clinicians are advised to try out other medications. If all else fails, psychological interventions are advised.

People with ADHD should have access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Trigger warning: mental illness and suicide

Another recommendation suggests that people diagnosed with ADHD should have access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Since we’re talking about severe ADHD, in theory, I agree. However, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has badly let people with mental illnesses down.

There have been a number of reports of people with mental illnesses waiting too long to have their NDIS plans (funding) to be approved.

Unfortunately, the result has been tragic. There have been reports of people taking their own lives while waiting for plans to be approved.

Again, people with psychosocial disabilities —including ADHD — should be supported. But the NDIS needs to be fixed so people with mental illnesses can be aporoved.

What else can be done? Make mental health free under Medicare

First, for non – Australians. Medicare is meant to make medical care in public doctors/ public hospitals more affordable. If you go to a GP, for example, you are bulk billed.

Australians with a Medicare card can go in a doctor’s office or public hospital and not get slugged with a multi – thousand dollar bill.

However, mental health care isn’t properly covered. Under the Better Access Scheme, only ten therapy sessions a year are given half price annually. This includes people who are diagnosed with serious mental illnesses.

I think this should change. I believe if you are diagnosed with a serious mental illness, all therapy should be government funded and completely free for patients. I know sone people won’t agree, but it’s how I feel.

Question to readers: I looked up medications I listed while writing this post. Lamotragine is an anti – seizure medication. Aripiprazole is an antipsychotic. How are these supposed to help with ADHD?

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Opinion/Commentary

Workplacement a hindrance for single parents in university

Young mother carrying baby and university books
Image: iStock

When I was twenty -four, I was studying the Diploma in Conmunity Services online. I didn’t conplete the Diploma for one main reason: I couldn’t complete the workplacement.

According to the ABC, many university students are falling over a similar hurdle. Especially single parents.

Tess Williams is one of those parents. The mother – of – two tried to study to become a teacher. Unfortunately, after her marriage ended, completing six weeks of unpaid workplacement was proving difficult:

I was trying to fit it all in like a jigsaw. I’d organised for my mum to come and stay. All of these moving parts had to fit together to be able to make that placement work.

Finishing the degree would have made Williams max credit cards and get deep in debt. Unfortunately, Williams didn’t finish the degree. She only had six months to go.

That was eight years ago. She’s remarried, but never went back to finish her degree. She believes she still couldn’t afford it.

University drop out rate is astounding

Williams is not alone in dropping out of study. The drop out rate is shocking. According to the Grattan Institute, in 2018, 70% of part – time students did not finish their studies.

Clashes between study and family commitments was a main reason why students couldn’t finish their studies. Chief Executive for ‘National Council for Single Mothers’ , Therese Edwards reinforced the finding.

Female dominated degrees most affected

There is a sex – based bias here. Many of the degrees that require extensive, often unpaid workplacements, are dominated by women. As you can see above, education is one such field.

When I saw the article on Facebook, some commenters claimed that Social Work students also found workplacement to be a common hurdle. (Social work was the degree I had my heart set on when I wa# in my mid twenties. I don’t feel so alone, now).

Universities in Australia need an overhaul

The more I read (and sometimes write) about universities, the more I realise that something is broken. The way that universities operate needs an overhaul.

From students having to choose what debts to pay off to the drop out rates, the way Australian universities are being run isn’t working. Too many people are not having their career dreams fulfilled because of roadblocks placed by university bodies.

The university sector isn’t friendly to young students that aren’t already wealthy or mature – aged students, especially if they’re parents. I mean, what’s the point? More importantly, what can be done?

I think that university degrees (especially bachelors) should be government funded. With that, I also support the number universities places being capped.

Secondly, workplacement requirements need obvious reform. I think workplacements should be paid, similar to apprenticeships and traineeships. Maybe the federal or state governments can subsidise these wages. Maybe the wages don’t nedd to be that of a full-time employee, but they should be fair.

Everyone should be given a fair go. And currently, university students aren’t getting that. I think that should change.

What do you think? Should the university sector in Australia change? If so, how? Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments below.

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Opinion/Commentary

Thai massage therapists are being asked for ‘happy endings’

Man getting massage with hot stone
Image: iStock

CW: sexual harrassment, including descriptions. If this is a triggering topic for you, feel free to skip this post.

Massage therapists are being asked to give male clients ‘happy endings’.

According to SBS News, Susan* has been working as a massage therapist in Australia for a decade. The Thai – born visa holder did massage therapy in Sydney to comply with the conditions of her visa.

Massage is easy for a non – English speaking visa holder to get into. Unfortunateky, these workers are easy for people to take advantage of.

Clients ask for ‘happy endings’.

Susan told SBS News:

Ninety-five percent are good clients. When you are given good feedback, it feels really good… I love my work.

Yet, some of the five percent are… well sleazy. Men have asked Susan to give them ‘happy endings’, i.e. to masturbate them to orgasm.

Susan also says that clients have tried to touch her while she was performing the massage.

University studies sexual harrassment victimisation among migrant communities

Needless to say, this is sexual harrassment, pure and simple. Unforrtunately, Susan is not the only one who has been harassed.

Monash University has partnered with Harmony Alliance and Women’s Alliance to get a glimpse into sexual violence suffered by migrants and refugees. According to Associate Professor Marie Segrave, migrants and refugees are often overlooked in sexual violence studies in Australia.

When the SBS article was published last week, 1,000 people had responded to Segrave’s questionnaire. More people were expected to respond.

How Susan protects herself

It’s disgusting that this is happening. However, experienced therapists are able to deal with potentially sleazy clients. They often have to read between the lines.

Susan told SBS News:

My experience, when the guy asking about full body, I have aware what is meaning [sic]

Massage isn’t sex work

Let me start with a statement. If someone wants to do sex work, erotic massage, etc, that’s their perogative.

If someone wants to give clients ‘happy endings’ or sexual services, that’s their perogative.

This is NOT what massage therapists are about. In fact, massage therapists vehemently reject the idea that they are sex work services. If you look up massage and sex work on Google, you will see link after link with the same arguments.

This message should go out far and wide. Because what is happening to many massage therapists is sexual harassment, pure and simple.

The race aspect

We obviously need to talk about race, too. Many massage therapists that face sexual harrassment and indecent assault are often migrants or visa holders from non – English speaking backgrounds.

Why aren’t those with a working visa in Australia being offered transalation services? Aren’t they being told what their rights are? What the laws are?

Are migrant workers being told who to turn to if they are being harassed or indecently assaulted? If migrants and work visa holders aren’t being told this, then there’s huge flaws in our migration system. Then again, I guess it isn’t surprising, given how many migrant workers often get financially exploited.

This shouldn’t be happening. No one, regardless of where they come from, should be abused, harassed or exploited at work.

Anyone facing harassment at work can contact the Fair Work Commission: 1300 799 675

To get more information, you can go to the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

*Not real name

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Opinion/Commentary

Queen Elizabeth II’s death and free speech: where is the line?

Image: iStock

Queen Elizabeth II passed away last week. She was ninety – six – years – old.

The news of her passing has left many grief – stricken. A national day of mourning has been called for the 22 September. Australia will join the mourning, with businesses closing down as a mark of respect.

Mourners have come from around tge world; including Australia and the U.S. However, not everyone has been grieving. In fact, some have been disrespectful.

Professor wished Queen a “excruciating death”

A Carnegie Mellon University professor had a tweet degrading the Queen censored.

According to The Intercept, Professor Uju Anya wrote:

I heard the chief monarch of a thieving, raping, genocidal empire is finally dying. May her pain be excruciating.

Uju Anya via Twitter 9 September 2022

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos was quick to condemn the tweet. Twitter was quick to deem the tweet “abusive” and Twitter removed it.

Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski pointed outvthat Anya is friends with a pro – Union protestor. Bezos has fought tooth and nail against unions.

NRLW player kicked out of Round over Instagram post

Last Friday (9 September), Newcastle Knight’s Caitlin Moran was penalised for an Instagram post degrading the Queen. Moran used a derogatory term against her (I won’t repeat it).

The tweet was deleted eight hours later. On Tuesday, the NRL banned Moran for a game and 25% of her pay was cut. The NRL has also ordered Moran to undergo education on appropriate social media use.

Newcastle Knights’ coach, Ronald Griffiths defended Moran:

The relationship bwtween Indigenous people and the monarchy is a complicated one.

If Caitlin has done something, then it will be investigated by the Integrity Unit and we’ll work our way through the process.

Ronald Griffiths

The NRL rejected Griffiths’ defence, condemning Moran’s comments as unacceptable. They claimed that players were expected to not make comments that could potentially cause “damage to the game”.

Lastly (on this incident), the NRL has been accused of double standards. People have highlighted the belated suspension of Penrith Panthers’ Taylan May.

May was found guilty of assault after Panthers’ premiership win last year. His two match susoension has been suspended.

There are calls for the NRL to reverse Moran’s ban and apologise,

The Markle effect

Let me start by saying this. Queen Elizabth II’s death is devastating for those who knew and loved her.

That said, the Queen’s death has obviously opened a can of worms. The legacy of the British Empire is still felt. And it’s not all positive.

What Anya and Moran said was disrespectful. And probably attention seeking, to be honest.

However, I can’t help but think the panalities they faced were excessive. They should have been called out and criticised. They should have been debated.

People don’t have to like what they said. Remember the whole ‘I may not like what you say, but I’ll defend the right to say it’?

This is about power. This is about how the British Monarchy has become something to be protected at all costs. I have felt this since Meghan Markle left the UK and took Prince Harry to the US.

Since then, criticism of the monarchy hasn’t been tolerated. To me it’s defending the status quo.

I don’t condone disrespect. But you either defend free speech or you don’t.

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Opinion/Commentary

Queensland paper condemned over domestic violence ‘joke’

Image: Pixaby

TW: domestic violence

A regional Queensland newsletter has been condemned for publishing a ‘joke’ about domestic violence.

Murgon Moments published the joke in its August monthly newsletter.

I won’t go into detail on what the joke was. I’ll just say that implied that domestic violence victims should just keep their mouths shut.

Yeaaah. How anyone thought tbat was a ‘joke’ worth publishing I’ll never know.

Not surprisingly, outrage has been swift. Queensland’s Attorney – General and Women’s Minister, Shannon Fentiman expressed her outrage on social media on Wednesday.

…[it’s] a stark reminder of just how far we still have to go. Already this month, it has been reported that several women have lost their lives due to family violence — that’s just in Queensland alone.

Queensland’s Attorney – General Shann9n Fentiman

Numerous people commented their agreement with Fentiman’s criticism. Commenters said the ‘joke’ was “horrific and unacceptable”. Another commenter exclaimed:

Are you kidding!!???? It wasn’t funny or appropriate in 1963, let alone today. That’s a disgrace.

Another commented:

Appalled and ashamed. My heart goes out to every woman who has read this and had their abuse belittled like this.

Sexual consent activist, Chanel Contos shared Fentiman’s post on Instagram stories. She wrote:

[it’s] genuinely disgusting that an Australian newspaper would publish this.

Sexual consent activist, Chanel Contos

On Thursday, Fentimore confirmed that a complaint against Murgon Moments had been lodged to the Australian Press Council.

Publisher pulls joke and ‘apologises’

I know I’m using inverted commas a lot in this post, but it’s warranted. In response to the outrage, Murgon Moments’ publisher has pulled the ‘joke’ from the website and has offered an ‘apology‘. If you can call it that.

In a now – deleted post, Editor, Leo Geraghty wrote:

To my valued readers, I am sorry you found it offensive. Perhaps it might be better to remove all the snippets that used to be classed as jokes from the Murgon Moments which I have voluntary done for the last 190 issues.

Perhaps doing the copy for print at one o’clock in the morning, I should have been more careful to what I was including instead of including jokes from the 2007 edition.

Leo Geraghty

I find it ironic that Geraghty opened the apology with a common gaslighting statement (“I’m sorry you…”). I’m not saying Geraghty meant to. Just an observation.

Domestic violence is NEVER a joke

Needless to say, donestic violence is never, ever funny. It wasn’t funny in 2007 and isn’t now.

Domestic violence is such a serious issue. According to Australian Institute of Health and Wellness, around 1 in 16 men and 1 in 6 women over the age of fifteen have experienced partner violence.

In 2016, the PSS (Personal Safety Statistics) revealed that 3.6 million Australian adults reported experiencing some form of domestic violence. In more than ten per cent of cases (11.8%), the perpetrator was a partner.

Final point: domestic violence is NEVER the victim’s fault. They shouldn’t just keep quiet if they’re being abused.

To all victims and survivors of abuse, my heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for the trauma you’ve suffered. I’m sorry for those who’ve had old wounds open because of this story. I genuinely hope you find peace and the support you need.

If you’re in Australia and need help, you can contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

If you or someone you love is in danger, call 000 (or your national emergency number).

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Opinion/Commentary

Wren Eleanor and the not – so innocent world of kid-fluencers

Home screen with TikTok and other apps
Image: iStock

People are getting concerned about children safety online.

According to The Australian, concerns over American toddler, Wren Eleanor has Australian influencers question posting their children online.

Wren’s mother, Jacquelyn, has received backlash after inappropriate comments were found under videos of the three – year – old. Videos of Wren eating attracted worrying comments.

Jacquelyn called the comments “disturbing”.

Influencers start questioning posting images of their children online

The scare over Wren has made other influencers think twice about posting their children’s images online. Social media creator, Caleb Finn told The Australian:

[Wren] is going to grow up and the mother claims it’s a digital scrapbook for her daughter to look back on, but if you go on any of the videos, it’s all these older people pining for this baby.

Adding to Finn’s comment, many of the comments on Wren’s and other children’s accounts appear to be by men.

Concerns for kids on social media isn’t new

The issue of children on social media has been discussed on social media since 2020. This was largely sparked by Myka and James Stauffer, who exploited, then ‘rehomed’ their Chinese – born adopted son.

Canadian YouTuber, Josh Barbour has been particularly critical of family vloggers who use children. He covered the Stauffer case, and has since exposed other family vloggers such as: Cole and Sav Labrant, Jessfam and Ruby and Kevin Franke (formerly Eight Passengers).

His argument has been consistent: children can’t give informed consent. When asked whether children can give informed consent, former Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and professor, Dr Kirk Honda said: “No. It’s obvious”.

In late 2020, Dr Kirk Honda confirmed that kids can’t properly give consent to having their images/ videos shared online

Barbour has exposed what I mentioned above — that young girls’ accounts are often targeted by men. Children such as Everleigh Labrant (Cole & Sav) and Piper Rockelle are exploited and numerous men make inappropriate comments.

Even infants and toddlers aren’t safe. More recently, Barbour has exposed TikToker, Maia Knight and the inappropriate parasocial relationships created between her twin infant daughters and Knight’s audience.

TMI: parents divulge sensitive and traumatic information

Apart from the sexualisation of young children, family vloggers tend to overshare. They divulge very personal information about their children, especially medical.

Barbour has slammed family vloggers who share their children’s sensitive information and traumas to their subscribers. Earlier this year, he slammed Tiffany Nelson for exploiting adopted daughter, JourNee’s traumatic past.

JourNee is twenty – three, but the video was so uncomfortable to watch. JourNee looked visibly uncomfortable.

Tiffany went into detail about JourNee’s living conditions in Russia before being adopted. JourNee didn’t remember it. Barbour was angered by these revelations.

Having adopted sons himself, he knows how information about trauma should be handled. It’s up to the adopted child when they’re an adult. They can access their file, or let it be. It’s not up to adopted parents to disclose the infornation or make it public.

Family vlogging may have sounded cute and fun. But there’s no other way to say it. It’s exploitation. Every day a parent decides to profit off their child’s image or video, they’re exposing them to danger.

Say it with me: kids can’t consent.

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Opinion/Commentary

Controversial guidelines suggest medicating children under six for ADHD

Image: timnewman, iStock

New treatment recommendations for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is causing an uproar.

The 2012 Current Clinical Practice advises against using medication as a first resort for very young children.

The guidelines read:

Psychological, environmental and family interventions should, if possible, be trialled and evaluated before starting any medication treatment. If all of these other interventions have not been effective then stimulants might be considered.

Currently, the Therepeutic Goods Administration (TGA) does not recommend ADHD medication for children under six.

However, this could change. There is a push for medication to be the first port of call rather than last resort.

Financial interests

The Australian ADHD Professionals Association (AADPA) admitted on their website that members have financial interests in ADHD medications.

However, Professor and AADPA President, Mark Bellgrove insisted:

…we’re entirely confident that we have taken the necessary steps to minimise any impact of conflicts.

Professor Bellgrove claimed that all researchers were:

…exonerated and cleared of any misconduct regarding their declarations about links to pharma.

Professor Bellgrove may be right. All members of the AADPA may have followed all their laws and guidelines. But the question of whether children under six should be given ADHD medication still remains.

The heartbreaking effects of ADHD

ADHD can be a devastating condition for the sufferer and people closest to them. According to WebMD, untreated ADHD can have a wide range of effects in both children and adults. These can include:

  • Impulsivity can make school and work harder
  • Children may not be able to retain information and fall behind in class
  • Difficulty relating to others; may have issues with sharing, taking turns and reacting appropriately in certain situations
  • Difficulty making friends (and dating in adolescence)
  • May suffer low self – esteem
  • impulsivity may result in frequent injuries
  • Conflicts with parents
  • Risky behaviours such as: alcohol and drug abuse, smoking and risky sexual activity
  • Eating disorders (especially in girls)
  • Depression
  • Being involved in car accidents
  • Work issues such as: being on time and trouble completing tasks

ADHD is no joke. It’s clear that it needs to be taken seriously.

My take: ADHD should be treated. But get financial interests out of it

Let me say from the outset: ADHD is real. I don’t doubt that it is debilitating for many sufferers. However, the push from AADPA reinforces ideas that many critics of ADHD already have.

Psychiatry has been bastardised by the pharmaceutical industry. Real illnesses, like ADHD and depression are often given Band – Aid solutions, rather than lasting change.

It’s easy to see why.

In 2019- 2020, the Australian Government subsidised A$566million for mental health prescriptions. Under Medicare, Australians still pay a small amount for medication (approximately A$8 to A$60). So pharmaceutical companies are making bank.

I have not been able to find the amount the Australian Government or consumers spend on medications like Ritalin alone. That’s suss.

I’m not saying medication is never the answer for mental illnesses. But the pharmaceutical industry need to forget their financial interests and focus on helping people who are genuinely suffering. And offer real, long lasting solutions.

Do you think children under the age of six should be prescribed ADHD medications? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.