Don’t Let The Blue Whale Bite Your Children!

Blue Whale Blog - 11 Sept

Dangerous gaming apps like the Blue Whale Challenge have taken the world by shock. The game designed by a Russian has resulted in 130 children suicides in Russia and 3 casualties in  India. The game gives children (generally teens are the victims) tasks to do, tasks as risky as, cutting a body part. The 50th and last challenge is the winning challenge, which is death by suicide. Experts warn parents of this contagious and addictive  game and share steps for prevention

  1. With both parents working, children are often alone for most parts of the day. Make sure you spend time with them once you get home. Ask them what they have been watching or reading on the internet. Sometimes, loneliness is not the reason, it is curiosity or the desire to do something ‘thrilling’ which gets children to play the game.The media has been sharing the consequences of games like Blue Whale Challenge, so your children probably know about it; but even so, do take time out to tell them about the game.
  2. Don’t gift them latest gadgets; it sends them the wrong signal. Children are young and have studies and other activities to focus on. They don’t need smartphones. A basic phone, primarily for communication purposes, is more than enough. In such cases, there is a lower risk of them succumbing to games like these.
  3. Monitor your child’s behaviour closely. Keep a lookout for mood swings, dull behaviour or even when they spend too much time locked in their rooms with phones or laptops. Keep a check on their usage of these gadgets and be stern about when they can use it. For eg, discourage the use of phones during dinner or an outing. However, parents must find a fine balance between monitoring and curtailing the child.
  4. Apart from monitoring your child in the real world, monitor his/her virtual world too. Use parental controls on all devices used by your children. Monitor their digital footprints and give them limited access to social media. For e.g., if the quantity of data is being consumed during odd hours, like between 1 am and 2 am, it is a sign of abnormal virtual activity.
  5. Attend workshops which are conducted by psychiatrists or cyber experts. These workshops will guide parents on how they can prevent their children from falling prey to such apps and even understanding signs of psychological changes or behavioural changes.
  6. Parents and schools must look out for these signs and treat them as they would any other illness; instead of attaching the stigma associated with mental illness.

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Advantages of home cooked food

17thapril

How often do you get the urge to eat out? Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings are the most likely candidates. The former because we feel we deserve it for all the hardwork we put in during the week. The latter is a result of a feeling that we are also entitled for a break from the household chores at least once a week. Well, you are justified on both counts.

If you are a single working professional, then chances are that you either depend on a food vendor in your neighbourhood in the afternoons and settle for a home-delivery from a fastfood joint in the evenings.

However, it is essential to know about the harmful effects of eating out on a daily basis. Outside food tends to have the following disadvantages:

  • Use of inferior quality ingredients and left-overs.
  • Use of additives and preservatives.
  • Over-priced as they pass on the overheads to the customer.
  • Food is repeatedly cooked robbing it of its nutritional value.
  • The most important, however is hygiene or the lack of it with restaurant food.

The advantages of home-cooking are many and we will look at some of them in an effort to encourage you to try your hands at home cooking.

  • Hygiene: With home-cooking, you are in-charge of quality and that is one less thing to worry about.
  • Freshness: Get fresh ingredients on the way home. Cook just about enough food for your needs. Never buy a large fridge as it tempts you to cook more food for later use.
  • Nutrition: Your well-being depends on what shape you are in physically. Home cooking allows you ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Finances: There is never enough of this precious stuff. Home cooking allows you to start saving money and teaches you the importance of money management.
  • Hobby: Cooking is a great way to unwind after a hard day’s work. You will find that it is also a great way to make friends with like-minded people in the community.
  • Life skill: Cooking is an important skill that is often overlooked. But it can come in handy when you are on your own in an alien place.

It is essential to point out at this stage that the aim of this article is not to suggest all outside food is of inferior quality, but to point out the advantages of home-cooked food. There are enough honest and hardworking people out there who serve delicious and hygienic food.

Finally, home-cooking as an activity is priceless. It helps to strengthen family bonds and has something to offer to everyone. It is an activity that involves more than just cooking food.

  • If you are a professional and single, just pick up the phone and call your mother or a favourite aunt to consult about a recipe. Any excuse to get in touch with family is a good excuse.
  • If you are a married man, there is no better way to express your love for your wife by helping her out in the kitchen.
  • If you are a married woman, there is no better way to spend some quality time with your husband.
  • If you have kids, there is no better way to instill discipline in them by pointing out the virtues of home-cooked food and its superiority over junk food.

Importance of spending quality time with your children

3rdapril

Time and tide wait for no one, they say. Time flies and often makes us wonder whether an hour these days is really made up of as many minutes as it was when we were young. In those days life was a more leisurely affair, and everybody seemed to have time for everyone else.

Alas, that is no longer the case. Our lifestyles and habits have changed beyond recognition, trying to keep pace with life in the fast lane in the modern times.

Five to six days of work a week, and spending Sunday trying to recover from the bruises sustained during the week leaves us with very little time or inclination for social interaction.

We still have exactly the same number of hours made up of exactly the same number of minutes as you had when we were, well, young. But strangely, everyone is pressed for time.

However, when it is time for our children to move out, many of us wonder why we never noticed it. Empty nest syndrome is a fact of life, but dreaded by every parent. Parents are suddenly filled with remorse for not spending enough time with their children.

Why it is important to spend quality time with your children?

Bonding between child and the parents: It is absolutely necessary to provide enough time and attention to this vital aspect of parenting. The bonds that are formed during the formative years remain strong even without physical presence.
Family as support system: Children learn through observation and the importance given by parents to family life will play a major role when it is time for your children to start a family of their own. A healthy society is just an extension of healthy family life.
Reading vital signs in time: Spending quality time with your child will help you notice abrupt behavioral changes that may be early warning signs of some serious condition.
Taking stock: Spending regular time with your kids will help you take stock of your child’s activities, and may be, make a course correction at the right time.
Leaning on each other: A great way to solve a problem is to depend and lean on each other. Knowing that someone is always there for them will make your children take on life boldly and with supreme confidence.

Finally, family life is all about being there for each other, and caring for each other. Spending quality time is a term popular with child psychologists, and social anthropologists, that emphasises the importance of quality over quantity.

The trick therefore is to, not spend a lot of time but enough time that can really make a difference – to the child and to us, the parents.

As they say, it’s not the hours of work that you put in that matter, but it’s really all about the work that you put in those hours.