Won’t Someone Think of the Children?! (Samsung Mob!lers)

When I was a nipper, my Gran was impressed (and no doubt a wee bit scared/hacked off) that I could program the video recorder whereas she had trouble turning on the TV. Some things never change and kids are still often more au fait with new technology than many of the older generations. It’s second nature to them and they have no fear of ‘pressing the wrong button’ – though this is probably because they didn’t buy whatever they’re fiddling with and so have no concept of how expensive it would be to replace.

Either way, I have it on good authority that the small annoying people (that would be children) love technology and often borrow their parents’ devices to ‘play on’ (read keep them quiet while Mummy tries to stave off the fourth migraine of the week). The guys at the Samsung Mob!lers obviously aren’t aware (and why should they be?) of my disinterest in all things kiddiefied (unless you include cartoons, stuffed animals and brightly coloured sweets which, for some strange reason, seem to be aimed primarily at kids – I quite like all of those things) and have asked me to come up with app ideas for under 5s (They’re the one’s that are about *holds hand a couple of foot above the ground* this big, yeah?). If I haven’t made it clear before, children and all the surrounding hoo-hah, do nowt for me. But hey, I like a lot of stuff that kids like, I get on pretty well with most of the ones I meet, so I’m possibly better placed to complete the mission than I first thought.

So, what did I like when I was a kid? Pretty much the same things as I like now – food, animals, films, reading (yes, I could read very early on – thanks to Mum for making me a precocious little madam). With that in mind, I think I’d like to see something that entertains and educates. I basically learnt everything I needed to know in life from watching Sesame Street, though I do now lay the blame for my fat ass squarely at the door of the Cookie Monster! I think something that allows the child to express creativity would be a great addition too. So perhaps a selection of basic words (illustrated by pictures) that can be selected (by the child) and arranged (by the app) into a story which is then spoken back to the user, while they read along. The user could illustrate the story (perhaps following a guide) and the app could animate the pictures (similar to the fantastico Draw A Stickman that seems to be doing the rounds on social networks this week). The story could be saved and/or emailed.

Cute huh? I bet something like it already exists. Unless I’ve just blogged, and given away for free, my million dollar making idea. Ach well, consider it a gift. And if anyone asks about my generosity, we’ll tell ’em I did it for the kids.

Do you have any opinions on children using technology? Do you allow your kids to play on your gadgets or do they have their own? What are their favourite apps and do they know more about how to use them than you? Or would you prefer that kids were out in the fresh air?

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Sticks and Stones

Another reason I’m thankful to be childfree is that I’ll never have to make the baby name decision, I’m useless at decisions, so any child of mine would probably be nameless for the first 18 months of its life while I pondered. I’ve always been quite partial to the name Lysander though so perhaps it’s for the best I will have no son to lumber with such a legacy.

I don’t know many people who really love their own name (I wonder what we’d choose given the chance to pick our own names?), so it’s always amusing to hear of those less fortunate than ourselves. Ever thought your name was too plain or a bit boring? Believe me – it could be a LOT worse.

There’s the first name/surname combos that clearly haven’t been thought out like ‘Dwayne Pipe’ and ‘Wayne Kerr’. Easily avoided if the parents had just said them out loud a couple of times. Regrettable, but, no doubt, memorable and not particularly mortifying. I’d like to think that, similarly, somewhere there exists an ‘Alison Wonderland’ or a ‘Leah Jet’.

Then there are the ones that have you scratching your head as to their origin. I heard of a girl whose name was pronounced Fee-MA-lee. Different, huh? And the spelling? Yep, you guessed it – ‘Female’. I can only imagine it was some sort of mix-up when registering the birth that they couldn’t be bothered to rectify and figured they’d make the best of it.

I once had a tongue-in-cheek conversation with a friend along the lines of, if boys can be known as ‘Dick’ and ‘Willy’ and some girls as ‘Fanny’, it stands to reason that you should be able to call a baby girl ‘Clitoris’. However, it would appear that someone has obviously had the same idea – recently I heard of a child called………….. wait for it…………. ‘Labia’. I don’t know the person in question so I can’t stake my life that it’s not a wind up. But I can confirm that someone I personally know (which is what prompted this blog) recently came across a family who had named their child, of all things, ‘Chlamydia’. I’ll just give you a minute to take that one in………….

There’s no denying it sounds exotic and, for all I know, it may be a clever tactic to make sure the girl in question is so shunned by her peers that she will never stand a chance of catching her namesake because no-one will go near her. I still can’t help but wonder, at what point did they look down at their darling, newborn baby girl, pure, angelic, precious and beautiful, and decide the most befitting name was one synonymous with cystitis and genital discharge?! I defy anyone to tell me of a youngster given a worse name than one originally given to an STD.

Many countries do have legislation to prevent this strange form of child abuse.  Sweden had to ban ‘Metallica’, ‘IKEA’, ‘Veranda’ and ‘Q’ but did allow ‘Google’, which, incidentally, was one of the names I considered for my cat.

Incidents like this proves two things. Some people are too stupid to have kids, full stop. It also highlights that many people view their children (particularly when they are babies), not as living people, but as possessions to be dressed up and accessorised (if not seen as accessories themselves) for the entertainment of the parents. I’ve no doubt that they think it’s marvellous that their new addition, ‘Grapefruit Marmaduke Bellend Smith’, is the only ‘Grapefruit Marmaduke Bellend Smith’ in the country but, quite obviously, there’s a reason for that. One can only hope that Grapefruit’s ‘terrible twos’ last until he’s at least 11 and grows up exhibiting behaviour that would make Damien Thorn look like Pollyanna.