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Internet Safety Day & Online Games for Children

It was Internet safety day yesterday, and while I didn’t get to writing a post about it, I came across something that is aimed at children which worried me.

I am pretty vigilant with my boys lives online, which is probably a bit hypocritical considering how large my own online footprint is these days, but that probably makes me more aware of the possibilities.

My two had joined the growing army of young children who were playing Roblox.   I would ask that all parents whose young children use it to exercise caution.  Please research the reviews well and use the forums before you decide to allow your children to use it.  I would recommend that this site be used for over 16’s and possibly over 18’s.

Obviously it is up to each parent to decide what their children have access to online, but I would stress to do your homework around the online world style games offered to children.

When I first read the access request, I felt reassured that it was similar to the Penguin Club style interaction which keeps it safe for children, but it is very different indeed.

Moving on to the positive, there is a yearly campaign that helps promote safer use of the Internet among children and young adults.

This year they ran with the tagline:

“Connecting generations and educating each other, with the slogan: “Discover the digital world together… safely!”

This videos I have attached to this post are quite powerful.

Our children and young adults can be easily led.  We wouldn’t open our front doors to children and let strangers in, yet we don’t monitor our children enough online to ensure that they don’t open a portal to their safety bubble through the online world.

Be aware – check what your children are accessing, and who they are talking to.   Try it out for yourself when they ask for access to a new Internet game or craze as that is the only way you are going to know if it is age appropriate or not.



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Direct Payments for Care of a Disabled Person – Worth it or not?

Some of you may not actually be aware of what direct payments are.

Social services come out and assess a person with a disability or child to see what their care needs are.  From that, a parent (or the person with a disability) can be offered a set amount of hours per week that they are entitled to “buy” the services of someone else to care for them.

We were assessed and approved to receive 8 hours worth of Direct Payments a week for middler.

I can use them for

  • short breaks (take this to mean a few hours a week with a carer who takes them out)
  • nursery place / after school clubs with specialist support  (read £37.50 per day for special needs after school club).
  • club fees (not many clubs going around that will take special needs children)
  • personal care (hahahahahaha)
Finding someone to help

Direct payments means that we need to find our own staff to carry out the jobs above.    Aside from the fact that most of the people who could benefit from direct payments don’t have the ability to interview staff and deal with their employment, the pool of staff who are any good is very very low.

The council may advise and carry out police checks on staff, but the responsibility for the staff shifts from social services / the council – TO YOURSELF.

This means that if anything goes wrong, it’s your own fault.

Employing someone

When you do find someone who you “trust”, you then have to sort out the employers insurance and their tax and national insurance contributions – oh and pay the PAYE to the inland revenue.  Yes, you can use a payroll company, but you still have to sort out hours, payslips and HMRC.

The biggest problems with it are:

  • Finding good staff that don’t make a fool of the service users (middler to me).
  • Finding good staff who have enough time to do it.
  • Arranging the staff time with your child and having to pay for that as well.
  • Risking losing the care package as there are not enough people to do it.

What happens is, that if someone doesn’t manage to use up their direct payments because they can’t get staff, then when they reach the next review, they may well have some of the money taken back, and their hours cut as they will be seen to be not needed as they were not used.

Biggest Bug Bears
  1. My package is for my child.   As well as the huge mountain in finding someone to take responsibility for our children at times we need to find the time to do the regular stuff that other people can do with their kids as part of their daily lives (like homework).
  2. My biggest bugbear (not including not being able to find employees) is that I really could be done with someone doing my housework or making the supper sometimes so that I can spend quality time one to one with my middler.
  3. The person who I PAY to take him out gets to spend the quality one to one time with my boy on  my sterling, and I still have to stay up late to do chores as they have to be done as I have to spend the time he does go away doing the homework etc for the other two.  (yes, direct payments covers the cost of their time, but I have to pay for the carers share of where they go and what they do).
The potential is there for it to be a good way to go in buying the care that we need, but if the social services don’t also start a way help find staff, then it is always going to be difficult to work.
Leave me a comment to say what you think about it.
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Competition / Giveaway – Do you get travel sick? Sea Bands might help.


When the lovely people at Sea Bands got in touch and asked me to review and giveaway some sets of their products, I jumped at the chance as my eldest suffers quite badly from nausea and queasiness when he is in the car.

They arrived in a nice white padded envelope and my eldest quickly scanned through the pack to find a pair that he liked.   He found the camouflage green ones, and they were never to be let go as you can see.

They are actually quite cool as far as children are concerned, because they look like wrist sweat bands, so they gain kudos for being in fashion.  There is also the added bonus of not having to give him tablets which can make him feel sleepy.

My boy has been using them now for several weeks, and I am happy to say that he seems to be managing to go on car journeys without suffering.   The potential for journeys away has now left the realms of nervous worry for him, and that has to be a good thing.

The lovely Sea Band people have also given me 4 pairs of bands to give away.   I have two pairs of adult gray bands, one pair of childs pink camouflage, and one pair of blue camouflage.

Before I go into the competition, I’ll let you know a little about Sea Bands from their literature.

Travel sickness is the nausea, dizziness and vomiting that is triggered by the messages in the brain.  We may be sitting motionless in our seats, but our senses tell us that we are moving.  That means we may end us as nauseous.

To help with travel sickness – we can:

  • Sit at the front in cars and buses, and face the direction we are travelling in on trains
  • Breathe fresh air when possible and open windows
  • Don’t eat heavy meals before travelling
  • Keep children occupied with games and looking out the window

The Sea-Band is an elastic wrist band that can help.   Accupressure has been used in Chinese medicine for over 4000 years, and the Sea-Band applies pressure to an accupressure point on your wrist, by a small plastic stud on the inside of your wrist  at a point between the two central tendons which is known to prevent or relieve feelings of nausea.

It is a natural, effective and drug free way to help take away the worst feelings of nausea, and can be worn from a young age.

They have been trialled with children aged 2-15 and gained excellent results in a large number of cases.

They are suitable for

  • Adults
  • Children 3 years and above
  • Pregnant women
  • Hospital patients
They are
  • Drug free with no side effects
  • Clinically tested
  • Used by doctors and hospitals
  • Fast acting
  • Simple to use
  • Reusable and washable
  • Sold in 50+ countries
  • Packed with a small plastic case which makes them easy to keep.
Where to find Seabands

Sea-band Website and Shop
Sea-Band on Facebook
Sea-Band on Twitter

You don’t have to wait for long, as the competition for 4 pairs is starting  now, and will close on the 11th September.  I will announce the winner on the 12th.


To Enter – do the following, if you are not already.

  • Leave a comment below to confirm your entry with a way for me to contact you, ie twitter id.
  • Like my blog on facebook at the right side of this post.
  • Pop on over to the Sea- Band Facebook Page (using the link above) and like them.
  • Follow me on twitter and tweet the following:
    I entered a competition to win 4 pairs of Sea-Bands at with @scottish_mum
Make sure you check back on the 12th to see if you have won.  Good luck everyone.  They are lovely wristbands.
Posted on 12 Comments

Children and Animals can Die in Vans and Cars

It’s got to the time of year again when I find myself struggling with a small proportion of my fellow humans as I go out and about. It stresses me to the point of irrationality, and really gets my back up.

When it starts to get warmer outside and out pops Mr Sunlight, the animals that have spent the winter hibernating at their pathetically selfish and lazy owners request begin to appear again.

That aside, some of these fair weather dog walkers seem to think it’s ok to take their beloved to the supermarket, or the library, or the local MacDonalds, or the pub, or their work, and leave them there. They think that it’s ok to leave a window open an inch or two and that their faithful canine friends will be ok. On some occasions, they may be.

Is it worth the risk?

It only takes 20 minutes for a child or a dog to die a horrendous death in a hot car. And it doesn’t have to be blistering hot outside for the inside of a car to literally boil them to death from the inside out. Is that the kind of death you want for your child or your best friend.

Every year I come across self-centred, egotistical it won’t happen to me types, who think it is ok in hot weather to leave their dogs. Each time I feel compelled to stay and make sure the dog is ok. If you are one of the several I have called the authorities over, then that is just tough. I’d rather you hated me for reporting you, than risk the life of a dog that I could have saved from an awful death.

A woman at one of the local shops last week left her baby in a car with the engine running, and her handbag on the front seat and was happily queuing inside the shop for more than ten minutes. She got angry when she was challenged about how dangerous that was for the heat, and for the possibility of theft.

My children have had the SSPCA at school. They have been made aware of the dangers of animals and children in hot cars. Seeing a dog left while their owners totter off upsets them. It upsets me.

Don’t risk it.

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Fill In The Blanks !!!!! Meme

I have been tagged by @jontybabe AND @helloitsgemma on twitter.    They are getting me back for tagging them last week (only kidding).

Fill in the blanks is as it sounds.  A list of words that I have to fill in the blanks of.

I am… 
Trying to be the best mum that I can be.  I know I am not perfect.  I know my kids actually wish me out of the way at times, and I know that sometimes I get things wrong.   It doesn’t stop me trying though, and maybe, one day, my kids will understand that there are rules for their own good.

The bravest thing I’ve ever done…
I’m not very brave.  I will challenge things that I don’t think are right, but I am not a gung ho type of person, not any more.  The kids took care of that.    In fact, bringing 3 children into my life was probably my bravest feat.

I feel prettiest…
Now this is predictable and corny for me.  Easy – I feel prettiest when  I am thin, and on the day I get my hair coloured.   At the moment, the first is out of the equation, but the second was done last week, so I’m still feeling slightly confident.

Something that keeps me awake at night…
Education struggles for one of my children and my childrens special needs sometimes does keep me awake for hours at a time.

My favourite meal is…
I don’t particularly have a favourite meal.  I have a love/hate relationship with food, but if pushed, it would swing from (proper) stovies with baked beans, milk and oatcakes, to chicken risotto.

The way to my heart is…
Through my children.  Treat them well, and my heart goes out to you.

I would like to be…
A fly on the wall in the education and council departments as they make swathing cuts to childrens services.

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Cuts to Services for and of the Disabled

With one special needs child, and two others who need some assistance at school, but who cope with a little extra support, it fills me with horror to read the stories of what is going on around Scotland this year.  The support staff from different authorities seem to be targetted.  The cuts are savage, and directed at the welfare of the disadvantaged population. 

When other cuts, such as music have been mentioned, people have been up in arms and complaining about it in huge numbers.  It is sad that ASN children are not seen as an attractive enough issue to warrant the public rising up to protect them.

I am ashamed of my country, my government, and my local council.

There, I’ve said it.

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Overweight Children – Whose Fault ??

I switched on the TV tonight, and the programme that I stopped at was the Half Ton Teen on Living Channel.  The mum states her child is her reason for living, but she is the one going to the supermaket and buying all the hugely fatty foods that her son is eating.    The doctor thinks that the teen is eating 30,000 calories a day to keep him like that.

The biggest problems he has are his mother and father.  The programme calls his mother the “enabler”.  I find it distressing to watch his parents asking him if he was going to “do it” this time (lose the weight and have surgery).    She is the one buying all the junk he is eating, and I felt like flinging the skin of the tangerine I was peeling through the TV at her.

I see this on a much smaller scale at home as well.  There are children locally who are struggling with their weight.  I feel so sorry for them on a day to day basis, as most children (and adults) want to be part of the group, and accepted, and weight can be a factor that excludes children from the “in” groups.  

Most overweight children are at the mercy of their parents food and lifestyle choices, and I do feel sorry for them.   I have been lucky in that I have three children, of who two are very thin, and one is average for his age.  All my children are able to eat a lot of food without becoming obese, and for that I am thankful. 

I also have my children do a lot of exercise as I don’t want them to spend their lives as I have, constantly fighting to either get to, or keep my weight at a normal level.    With the computer society, and parents keeping children inside when they can’t be there to watch them, it is difficult to find the right balance.  

I do also think tendancy to put weight on has a bit to do with our genes, and our state of mind at any one time, and that it is difficult to put the blame decisively on any one person or place unless we know the circumstances.  I am not exactly stick thin myself, but when I see an overweight parent of an obese child filling up a grocery trolley with chocolate and stodge, I feel so sad for the children.

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Saving Education Services in Aberdeen – Cuts for ASN affect ALL Children

I’ve become aware of a campaign running to save services for ASN in Aberdeen.  What I have read so far is almost unbelievable.    Being a parent of ASN, this is something that affects me daily, and is an issue that affects all children in every class when PSA’s are taken away.

I am not yet sure of the full extent of the cuts, but I will be planning to find out by tomorrow.  In the meantime, I am aware that even such a small thing as putting a link up to the petition being run, might in some small way, help with this campaign.

Here it is:

Save ASN Services Petition