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Screen Time Is Impacting Early Development

 - News - Sep 8 2023 SHARE ON:

In an era dominated by digital devices, the age-old parenting quandary of handing a phone or tablet to a baby for entertainment has taken a new turn. Recent research has revealed that what may seem like an innocuous solution to keep children occupied could have significant repercussions on their development. A groundbreaking study, published in the journal JAMA Paediatrics, sheds light on the startling link between screen time and developmental delays in young children.

1. A Startling Revelation

The study, which tracked the development of 7,097 children, revealed that exposing babies to screen time for as little as one to four hours a day at age 1 can lead to higher risks of developmental delays in various crucial skills by age 2. These delays include communication, fine motor skills, problem-solving, and personal and social skills.

2. The Power of a Comprehensive Study

Dr. Jason Nagata, associate professor of paediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, hailed the study’s large sample size and extensive follow-up period, stating that it addresses a critical gap in research. The study’s findings provide valuable insights into the specific developmental delays associated with screen time exposure, an area that has remained relatively understudied.

3. The Evolving Landscape of Child Development

Experts have underscored the importance of social interaction in a child’s early years. Dr. John Hutton from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center emphasised that children learn language through active engagement and back-and-forth interactions, not through passive screen viewing. Additionally, the study reveals that excessive screen time hampers personal and social skills development, as real-world interactions are far more complex than interactions with characters on a screen.

4. The Digital Dilemma Explored

One significant aspect often overlooked is the sedentary nature of screen time. Excessive screen exposure leads to reduced opportunities for children to practice motor skills and physical activities. Furthermore, the use of screens as pacifiers can hinder children’s ability to navigate discomfort, a crucial developmental milestone that fosters creativity and resilience.

5. Navigating the Complex Terrain

While the study provides valuable insights, it also raises questions about the nuanced nature of screen time. Parents are encouraged to be mindful of the content children are exposed to and opt for educational material or interactive video chats to balance the negative impacts. Experts also recommend leading by example, demonstrating healthy screen time habits themselves.

A Call for Mindful Parenting

As the world evolves, so does parenting in the digital age. The study’s findings emphasise the importance of ensuring a balanced approach to screen time in a child’s life. While screens can offer educational content, they must be supplemented with real-world interactions, playtime, and exploration. By making conscious choices about screen time and embracing alternative activities like reading, colouring, or interactive play, parents can lay the foundation for their child’s healthy growth and development.

Photo Source: Karolina Grabowska

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Activists Raise Palestinian Flags in Protest During Netta’s EuroPride Performance

 - Events - Sep 8 2023 SHARE ON:
Activists Raise Palestinian Flags in Protest During Netta’s EuroPride Performance

In a powerful display of solidarity with Palestine, activists from Moviment Graffit made a significant statement during the Malta EuroPride opening concert. The controversial Israeli singer, Netta Barzilai, who won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, found herself at the centre of a symbolic protest as activists waved Palestinian flags and held placards condemning what they call “pinkwashing” of Israeli apartheid and occupation.

Netta Barzilai’s support for Israeli initiatives abroad and her involvement in events celebrating the banishment of Palestinians from their homeland has drawn sharp criticism. She has even been quoted as suggesting that Israel’s negative international reputation is merely a result of “bad PR” rather than its policies of oppression.

Moviment Graffit’s symbolic action serves as a poignant reminder that the Israeli state’s attempts to downplay its oppression of the Palestinian people on the global stage will not go unnoticed or unchallenged. Millions worldwide continue to stand in solidarity with Palestine and are committed to holding Israel accountable for its colonisation of Palestinian land and the suffering endured by the Palestinian people.

Last month, five Maltese organisations, including pioneers of Pride events in Malta, called for Netta Barzilai’s invitation to be revoked. They emphasised the glaring contradiction between EuroPride’s mission to celebrate love and equality and the inclusion of individuals associated with the Israeli apartheid state, accused of racism, killings, and ethnic cleansing. Regrettably, their request was ignored by the event organizers.

Netta Barzilai has also become a target of the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign endorsed by Palestinian civil society. Similar to how international boycotts and sanctions played a pivotal role in ending the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Palestinians are calling upon the world to exert pressure on the Israeli Apartheid state by boycotting and sanctioning those complicit in its actions.

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A Faster Charging Experience on the Horizon

 - Business - Sep 8 2023 SHARE ON:

Anticipation is building in the tech world for Apple’s annual fall product launch.

While the tech giant remains tight-lipped about what they have in store, rumours are swirling, and one exciting possibility has captured the attention of enthusiasts: faster charging for the next generation of iPhones.

According to reputable tech blog 9to5Mac, which has earned its stripes by accurately predicting previous Apple announcements, the upcoming iPhone 15 is expected to bring a game-changing upgrade to the charging experience. The whispers suggest that Apple will be ditching its proprietary Lightning charging port in favour of the more universal USB-C connection.

This shift has been long-awaited by users who have been yearning for greater compatibility with a wider range of devices and accessories.

Experts also claim that select models of the iPhone 15 will offer faster charging speeds. This shift is aimed at addressing one of the modern smartphone user’s greatest challenges: the race against time to keep their device powered up and ready for action.

Currently, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max advise against using chargers exceeding 27 watts, while iPhone 14 users are recommended to stick to 20-watt chargers. But Apple’s potential leap to a 35-watt charger with the iPhone 15 hints at a significant leap forward in charging capabilities. Imagine the convenience of fully powering up an iPhone 15 in record time, thanks to the advanced technology that Apple is rumoured to be integrating.

While the iPhone 15’s 35-watt charging capability sounds impressive, some might point out that it still falls short compared to competitors like Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Series, which boasts the capability of “super-fast charging” with 45-watt chargers. The tech world is a competitive arena, and this development might raise eyebrows for those who crave the fastest charging speeds available.

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EuroPride Valletta 2023 Kicks Off!

 - Events - Sep 8 2023 SHARE ON:

In a burst of color and celebration, EuroPride Valletta 2023 officially commenced on Thursday night at Ta’ Qali, Malta.

Thousands of people, draped in vibrant attire and brandishing rainbow flags, flocked to the heart of this picturesque Mediterranean island to mark the inauguration of Europe’s largest LGBTIQ+ festival.

The Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre (MFCC) served as the grand stage for this momentous occasion, where attendees were treated to a night filled with music, dance, speeches from influential figures, and a palpable sense of unity.

The event was masterfully hosted by the dynamic trio of Olivia Lilith, Ron Briffa, and Ray Calleja, who set the stage for an evening of electrifying performances and heartfelt messages of love and acceptance.

The festivities commenced with a musical extravaganza featuring three of Malta’s most beloved singers: Jasmine, Amber, and Glen Vella. Against a backdrop of dazzling visuals, strobe lights, and pyrotechnics, these talented artists took the stage, filling the air with melodic tunes. Their renditions of iconic songs like “Free,” “Freedom! ’90,” “True Colors,” and a touching Maltese version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” left the audience spellbound.

As the night progressed, anticipation reached a fever pitch as Eurovision sensation and Israeli superstar, Netta Barzilai, graced the stage. With her trademark charisma and unique musical style, she brought the crowd to their feet. However, it’s worth noting that her appearance was not without a moment of political expression, as chants of “free Palestine” filled the air upon her entrance.

Netta’s performance served as a fitting conclusion to a night of celebration, where the LGBTQ+ community and their allies came together to champion love, acceptance, and the importance of embracing diversity.

Beyond the captivating performances, EuroPride Valletta 2023 was also marked by inspirational speeches from prominent politicians and local cultural icons.

They emphasised the importance of continuing the fight for equality, inclusion, and human rights for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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