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Aug 8 2014

Dear Media: Leave Noah “Apparently Kid” Ritter Alone!

By at 2:16 pm

Noah-Ritter2

Noah Ritter was having the best day of his life–that is, until it rapidly spiraled into his worse nightmare. The 5-year-old, who is crashing with Grandpa Jack in Wilkes Barre, PA for the summer, became an overnight internet sensation when he reviewed rides for a local TV station at the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania and hijacked the interview with his adorable overuse of the word “apparently.”

But by the next morning, throngs of TV reporters–vultures, really–had descended on Grandpa Jack’s lawn. Everyone wanted a piece of #ApparentlyKid, who seems more confused and overwhelmed by each interview. The questions keep coming: “What does apparently mean?” (He’s not sure.) “How does it feel to be a superstar?” (Good.) “What do you want to be when you grow up?”(A paleontologist.) But all Noah really wants to talk about are dinosaurs. The whole thing seems rather exploitative, especially as we see Noah become increasingly flustered.

Watch the media corner poor Noah on his bike: Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 1 2014

Madonna’s Amazing Ceasefire Plan (in Photos)

By at 2:28 pm
Madonna

Via Instagram

 

Madonna has been trying to negotiate an end to the bloodshed in the Middle East via Instagram for a while now, even providing step-by-step instructions–if only the leaders of Israel and Palestine would pay attention!

Obviously, the proposal involves objectifying hunky half-naked dancers with religious symbols painted on their six-pack abs. When you add The Queen of Pop, the blinding hotness of it all will surely make both Israel and Hamas lay down their weapons.

The above photo was captioned, “No Separation! We all bleed the same color! #ceasefire #peaceinthemiddleeast #livingforlove”

No truer words have ever been spoken.

Here’s the plan: Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 11 2014

Dad Exploits Baby on Vine for “Likes” & Money

By at 1:06 pm

Vine-dad

How much social media exposure is harmful to children? Is it wrong to exploit the extreme cuteness of our offspring for vain social media interests? How about for money?

For Nick Confalone, the 6-second Vine videos seemed harmless at first–a creative outlet for a bored stay-at-home dad. But, as he describes in Slate, the road to social media fame is a slippery one, paved with Klondike bar deals.

First came the Ellen interviews, then there was the mass reassurance from followers that he was, in fact, a “good dad,” and soon endorsement deals from Gap and Klondike started trickling in. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 8 2014

Dr. Ruth Tweets From Israel

By at 2:20 pm

Dr-Ruth

By now, you’ve probably noticed on your newsfeed that some crazy shit is going down in Israel.

Luckily, sweet, little Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the 86-year-old, Holocaust-surviving, truth-telling sex therapist, is currently in the middle of the chaos sharing dispatches from the Holy Land.

And don’t worry, she’s not scared.

Her latest tweet:

The Haganah was Israel’s pre-state paramilitary unit that eventually became the IDF, and Westheimer was trained as a scout and sniper until she was seriously wounded during the Israeli War of Independence.

While we’re certainly reassured by the image of Dr. Ruth with an Uzi in hand, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Israel and everyone affected by the recent violence.

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Feb 25 2014

A Tale of Two Olympics (Now with Kids!)

By at 10:58 am

Figure_Skating_Venue_in_Sochi

I worked my first Winter Olympic Games in 1998, as a member of TNT’s production team (where I immortalized one skater’s costume as “She looks like she was mauled by a lion while escaping a brothel.” I noted it off-handedly, but commentator Rosalynn Sumners liked it so much she repeated it on-air. It was like the movie, “Broadcast News.” I say it here, it comes out there….).

I spent close to a month in Nagano, Japan, working 28-hour days with no weekends, and came home so exhausted that I proceeded to spend the next 48 hours near-catatonic in front of the TV, catching up on all the shows I’d taped. (This was before Tivo or downloading or watching on demand, so I actually had to pre-program my entire primetime line-up weeks in advance. All on a tape that could only record for eight hours. Truly the dark ages, kids.)

My oldest son was born in 1999. And though I tried to continue working in figure skating production, his refusing to acknowledge my presence after I’d returned from yet another business trip when he was 18 months old pretty much put the kibosh on that plan. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2014

Talking with Randi Zuckerberg About Parenting, Technology & Kids Who Use iPads

By at 5:01 pm

randi zuckerberg interview on kveller.com

We recently had the total pleasure of Skyping with mom of one, Randi Zuckerberg. If the last name looks familiar, yes–she’s the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the former Director of Market Development and Spokeswoman for Facebook. Now, she’s the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and the author of two new books: Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives and Dot, a picture book for kids about a young girl who’s both tech-savvy and interactive with the actual world around her (imagine that!). We talked to her about the various ways technology influences modern day parenting.

In what ways have you found technology makes parenting easier or harder?

In some ways, I think definitely both. You have so many other ways you can interact with your children; you can expose them to apps that encourage learning and creativity. I think it’s easier for kids to learn art, music, and reading then ever before. But in other ways, sometimes you have to pry the devices out of their cold hands, and I think that can be very difficult to remind children to develop human-to-human personal interaction skills–like reminding them to go outside and use their creativity in other ways as well.

And you have one son, correct?

I do, I have one son. I have actually found that technology has been tremendous in our family for fostering a love of Judaism and Jewish education because there are so many great apps. I actually helped advise on a Rosh Hashanah app, where you blow into the iPhone like a shofar. Apps like that have been so fantastic. On Pandora we use the Hanukkah and Shabbat stations. So I feel tech has helped bring Judaism in our life much more, but on the other hand I have to make sure I’m not using it as a babysitter. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 8 2014

Don’t Yuck Someone Else’s Yum Goes for Adults, Too

By at 4:03 pm

don't yuck someone else's yum

“Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.”

That’s what they say in my daughter’s 1st grade class when it comes to wrinkling your nose and making gagging sounds about what your friends brought for lunch.

And that’s what I’ve made my New Year’s resolution. Though it has nothing to do with 1st graders or food.

Rather, it has to do with Facebook. And Twitter. And message boards. And comments. And life in general (both on- and off-line).

I’ve turned into one of those people who yucks someone else’s yum–just for the heck of it. And it needs to stop. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2013

Superman Sam & The Power of Social Media

By at 1:55 pm

smiling-sammy

A child has died.

A sweet, brave, smiling, bald 8-year-old boy named Samuel Sommer died from acute myeloid lukemia on December 14th. This is such bad news, I can barely type it out without getting furious. There is no calm way to understand this. An absolutely terrible thing.

And yet children die all the time. According to the World Health Organization, whose website I just clicked over to, millions of children die every year. But the millions of other poor dead children don’t move me the way Sam’s death does.

Why do I care so much about this one kid? Why do I know so much about this one kid? Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 4 2013

It’s Totally Cool to Brag About Your Kids on Facebook

By at 3:26 pm

facebook like handYes, I talk about my kids on Facebook, and occasionally may brag about them. Deal with it.

No one should have to, though, according to many, most recently Bruce Feiler at the New York Times who recently wrote, “What subject could possibly be so clear-cut it has elicited once-in-a-generation unanimity? That parents should stop bragging about their children.”

Well, consider that unanimity destroyed. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2011

Birth and Oversharing

By at 2:53 pm

Those who know me know that I am perhaps the least likely person to decry the phenomenon of “overshare.” I frequently employ the first person, both around the home and on the Internet. I post on Facebook so often that, when I found out that a place I’m going on vacation in a few weeks blocks Facebook, I fleetingly considered whether or not this trip was really for me.  (I’m going anyway – and you can be certain that I’ll report on that experience when I return.)

So you might think I’d be a strong proponent (see numerous articles, including Kveller’s post here) about live-reporting giving birth via Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Surprisingly, I’m  just not that into it. Is it overly contradictory if I share why?

Much of my affection for Facebook stems from the juxtaposition of two irreconcilable facts – I’m an insanely social person who works from home. Facebook is an easy way to slip into interaction with generally polysyllabic, interesting folk who have much to say about the world around them. It’s also, of course, an easy way to slip into avoidance and procrastination, but I’ll write that column another day (ha!). The point is that, used properly, Facebook is a welcoming vehicle for interconnectedness. Were it not for Facebook, a friend recently pointed out, I never would have known that she could easily provide me with a printout before my trip to Japan that read, in Japanese, “I do not eat shellfish or meat products. Please adjust my menu choices accordingly.” Were it not for Facebook, I wouldn’t be able to have the feeling of ersatz workplace and social contact.

All those things are good.  But there are points at which, at least for me, it feels equally good to circle the circumstantial wagons and draw the line of privacy.  When I got pregnant, my husband and I joked about when we would go public with the information and when we would go ‘Facebook public.’ There was a clear difference between the two. Telling our parents and siblings in that precarious first trimester felt much more responsible than courting the potential double horror of writing a Facebook status message of “miscarried today. L” And yet, when the amnio sounded the all-clear, I began crafting ways to spread the news to my nearest and dearest 1k friends, and loved the outpouring of joy and kindness I received in return.

Still, the experience drove home the difference between what is virtual and what is real. I want to share joys with the Facebook masses – not sorrows, which would demand a higher level of interaction and intimacy. There’s a level of risk in childbirth, addressed in recent articles as well, where the more casual media of electronic communication has no place. And even if all goes well, I want to share that first with the people to whom I am closest in non-virtual reality. Read the rest of this entry →

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