Motherhood, celebrity culture & social media-how to raise kids in the social media age

Motherhood, celebrity culture, and social media – how to raise children in the social media age

I woke up the other night to my three-year old son having a full on nightmare. His small body arched across the bed in his Batman pyjamas, he was trying to punch an invisible force in front of him. I couldn’t get him to wake up for a while. When I did, he sobbed into my arms that there was a bad snake, trying to eat him. Bad snake? How weird. I couldn’t think of any snakes we’d come across recently. Until then some more words popped out his mouth. “Ninjago, Mummy. It was from Ninjago.” Damn, I thought – was Ninjago inappropriate? His brother is older than him and, I’m ashamed to admit – the television sometimes goes unsupervised. 

My second novel, Your Guilty Secret is about an A-list celebrity – Lara King – whose life unravels in the public eye. Lara King is supposedly one of the good ones – she eats healthily, dresses well, exercises and dotes on her six-year old daughter – on social media, they have the perfect life. But behind closed doors, all is not as it seems. When researching for the book, I started to follow a host of celebrities on Twitter and Instagram. I was amazed at their perfectly curated lives (either positively, or negatively) – and how much they were trying to sell to their fans. How pliable small minds are – and how even now my children want to be a part of the latest fads they hear about in the playground.

All of this sprang to mind when I thought about how to tackle my son’s nightmare. How will I insure my kids against celebrity influence over them in later years? The weird suicide challenge Momo games? Can I stop them wanting expensive trainers boasted by the likes of Kanye West? Who should be responsible for all of this?

Should I start teaching them now? And if so what should I do? Stop television altogether? Perhaps – if I wanted to shoot myself in the foot. After all, the celebrity gravy train is not going to stop any time soon.

One thing I decided I could do, was to be more present when they’re watching television. I could try and explain and speak to them honestly about it all, in preparation for the later onslaught of social media.

Ultimately it’s not up to the celebrities, or actors and actresses to be responsible for their viewers and fans. For all the Kardashian’s of the world selling appetite-inhibiting lollipops, there’s mercifully a Jameela Jamil telling us it’s a load of crap.

But at the end of the day, the buck stops with us – the parents. Not just to stop the kids from having access to all of this stuff. But to try and teach them how to navigate the murky waters of the online world and by teaching them what is real, and what is not. And as to whether it will work or not? Who knows – we can but try.

Your Guilty Secret by Rebecca Thornton. Published by Zaffre. Paperback 7th March 2019 £7.99

REBECCA THORNTON is a journalist and runs an online advertising business. Her work has been published in Prospect magazine, the Daily Mail, the Jewish News, and the Sunday People. She was acting editor of an arts and culture magazine based in Jordan, and she’s reported from Kosovo, London, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Rebecca is a graduate of the Faber Academy and The Exclusives is her first novel. She lives in London.

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Trump’s 2020 attack strategy: Smear Biden over mental fitness By Eric Bradner, Ryan Nobles and Dan Merica, CNN President Donald Trump and his allies have zeroed-in on an attack against Joe Biden, going after the presumptive Democratic governmental nominee’s mental physical fitness in a coordinated effort using smears and innuendo to paint him as ill-quipped to be President of the United States. Trump for months has questioned the mental skill of the opponent he calls “Drowsy Joe.” Trump last week described Biden as “a sleepy person in a basement of a home,” and he has actually repeatedly recommended that Biden did not personally write declarations issued by his project criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His project and the Republican National Committee have progressively focused its attacks on Biden’s tendency for on-camera verbal stumbles in recent weeks, as it looks for to define Biden after he emerged triumphant from the Democratic primary. One example came previously this month, when Trump’s campaign launched an ad comparing Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which closed with the line: “At least Bernie remembers his positions.” The attacks are an early demonstration of how Trump will utilize the full Republican politician Celebration apparatus to run a scorched-earth campaign based upon personal insults and unwarranted insinuations– a heightened variation of his playbook from 2016, when Trump and his allies, without proof, called into question Hillary Clinton’s health. They have actually become a daily occurrence from Trump’s campaign, assistants and Republican allies throughout every medium possible– on social media, in campaign e-mail blasts and videos and on Trump-aligned media companies like Fox News. Biden’s advisers and Democratic allies mention that Trump is guilty of many of the same verbal tics he is attacking Biden over, and often lies and embraces conspiracy theories. As one Biden ally put it: “Has Trump taken his own guidance and downed a gallon of bleach yet?” The attacks weaponize Biden’s propensity to stumble over words, utilize the wrong word or interrupt himself in the middle of long answers by stating, “anyhow,” and altering course. To fans of a former vice president who in December 2018 called himself a “gaffe maker,” those long-time spoken tics have always belonged to Biden’s public persona. They are made more forgivable to his advocates by Biden’s openness about conquering a stutter. Aside from periodic jousts amongst assistants on Twitter, Biden’s project has mostly neglected the Trump project’s attacks. Biden-world’s view is that the political and media landscape has actually shifted because 2016, when every Trump attack on a rival was treated as novel and took command of the project narrative on social media and cable news. His consultants pointed to Trump’s stopped working efforts to guide the political discussion in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race, when he and his GOP allies cautioned of the MS-13 gang, in addition to the 2018 midterms, when Trump’s message concentrated on caravans of refugees approaching the US-Mexico border. ” The misapprehension that whatever Trump wishes to speak about is inherently efficient and that he gets to act as the media’s at-large task editor has actually been closed,” a Biden consultant said. As Biden has adapted to marketing in the age of coronavirus– knocked off the campaign path and rather transmitting occasions and interviews from a transformed rec room in his basement in Delaware– Trump’s project is seizing on every on-camera miscue, with conservative Trump allies such as Fox News host Sean Hannity then magnifying them. ” His sharpness, or absence thereof is on screen every day, every time he talks,” Trump project spokesperson Tim Murtaugh informed CNN in response to concerns about the technique. “His failure to keep a train of thought going is obvious.” Biden frequently looks down at his notes, which Trump’s allies have actually mischaracterized as Biden dropping off to sleep. Trump’s boy Eric Trump tweeted a seven-second video from Biden’s online broadcast with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, along with the hashtag “#SleepyJoe.”. 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