News snippets on YFC, CCPAS, Broadband, whales and more ...
Big Ministries joins YFC
Children’s ministry organisation BIG Ministries has joined YFC. The vision and ethos of BIG Ministries as well as its name will remain the same, but the partnership will enable greater access to a wider network of contacts for the children’s charity and boost YFC’s work with under-11s.
Children looking at inappropriate material
Over three million British families have found their children looking at inappropriate material online. The uSwitch study revealed that 42 per cent of families discovered their children looking at violent, sexually explicit or other inappropriate content on the internet. The average age of a child’s first viewing of this material was just over four years-old. The same study revealed that 65 per cent of parents said their children were five years or younger when they first went online and that 31 per cent of parents have never spoken to their children about online dangers.
Modern life damages brains
A charity has warned that overuse of electronic screens and baby equipment can stunt both the physical and emotional development of young children. What About The Children? (WATCH?) highlighted putting children in pushchairs and an increase in the use of phones and tablets as particularly damaging. Sally Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology said: ‘Social interaction helps physical development, for example eye contact, singing and talking. Infants need opportunity for free movement and exploration whether that is tummy time, cuddling or rough play.’
Inflatable whale is a let down
The Bible Society has had an inflatable whale ‘harpooned’ for being too religious. The Society was hoping to tell the story of Jonah and the whale over the summer holidays inside a 50-foot sperm whale. However, their plans to stage the event close to Tower Bridge in London were denied as the lease doesn’t allow religious events of any nature.
The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) will hold their 2014 conference in London on 16th September. Confirmed speakers so far are Meg Munn MP, chair of the Child Protection All-Party Parliamentary Group, Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, and Ian Elliot, former CEO for the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland. More information is available at ccpas.co.uk
Poor broadband disadvantages rural kids
A study has shown that rural families think inferior broadband is damaging their children’s education. The survey of 1,600 parents by NFU Mutual suggests that one in five rural families have poor broadband links and that this in turn is preventing their children accessing online educational resources. The Government has said that it wants to see 95 per cent of the UK on super-fast broadband by 2017.
New child subsidy
Close to two million working families could benefit from a new childcare subsidy worth up to £2,000 per child. The scheme, for all children up to the age of 12 will be web-based and come in from September 2015. David Cameron has said that ‘squeezed’ families will benefit from the move, however Labour has called it ‘too little, too late’ after childcare costs have risen 30 per cent since 2010.
Prayer for children at risk
Christian charity Viva will hold its annual week of prayer for children at risk from 7-8th June. The two days will see hundreds of thousands of Christians worldwide gather in a variety of contexts to pray for vulnerable children. This year’s theme is ‘child-friendly communities’. Andrew Dubock from the charity said: ‘The vision of the future we all hope and pray for is one where children everywhere are surrounded by a loving family, kept safe by society, educated in school, integrated into the local church and fulfilling their Godgiven potential in every way. We’re encouraging Christians wherever they are that weekend – whether in homes, churches, Sunday schools or youth groups – to join us in turning to God together in prayer for a change of attitude and action by communities towards their children.
Science is the new Rock ‘n’ Roll
A YouGov poll suggests that children would rather be scientists than football stars. The survey of almost 1,200 parents showed that 12 per cent of those questioned thought their children wanted to be scientists, ahead of actors, sport stars and musicians. The only profession to top scientists was that of a video games designer.
HOUSEHOLDS OF FAITH Children’s ministry legend John Westerhoff is coming to the UK in July to speak at the Household of Faith conference at Sussex University. The three-day conference will also feature the Bishop of Durham and Lucy Moore. Opportunities to hear from Westerhoff in this kind of context are at a premium so get yourself down there.
Tickets and further details are available from householdoffaith.co.uk