Dinghy Rally

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So often these days kids are drawn to screens to play in virtual worlds. That’s part of the reason we enjoy boating so much – they are forced to enjoy the great outdoors. These school holidays we were rafted up on our boat with another family and the familiar whine of the kids proclaiming they were bored led us to make up a rally.

My husband and I did a reconnaissance mission to work out clues for the kids, then we put them into cryptic clues.

There were three dinghies each with two kids; a driver and a clue solver. Once the item was found they had to take a photo on their phone. This provided hours of entertainment (particularly as one of the yachts we had given a clue to find had sailed away after we wrote the clues!)

It was great to see the teamwork with the kids out independently cruising around in their dinghy, having to use their brains to try to work out the clues. My favourite clue was that they needed to find a mooring with three yachts on it. They were all obviously looking for three yachts rafted up together, but the name ‘3 yachts’ was actually written on a mooring. They had to cruise around and look at every mooring in the bay before they found it.

When they returned they all received a small prize for participation (in order to soften the blow that there was only one winner), and a small cash prize went to the winning team. The photos that were offered up for some of the answers were a stretch of the imagination for the clue, but for the most part they all found the majority of the answers (except of course the missing yacht).

The kids all had fun and we had fun watching them head off on wild goose chases when they misinterpreted clues. If only we’d insisted they had to find everything on the list, we could have had hours of peace and quiet until the missing yacht returned from its sail!

We’ve told the kids that next time they can write the clues and the adults will try to find them. I can just imagine their clues will be referencing pokemon characters and minecraft instruments just to leave us as bewildered as they were with some of the cryptic clues we gave them.

(Image courtesy of Simon Howden, Freedigitialphotos.net)

FIRST DAY FAIL

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The kids went back to school this week after their long Summer break. The morning of the first day of school was a flurry of activity in our household, ensuring kids were wearing the correct uniform, had eaten breakfast and had packed their bags with all their labeled stationery, textbooks and workbooks.

As each of my kids backpacks seemed to weigh more than their body weight, I decided to drive my kids to school to help them get settled in their new classes.

As luck would have it, we arrived at school in torrential rain. Every other parent had managed to wrangle their kids into their car at the same time I had, so the traffic turning into our school snaked back a whole block. No parking spots were available once I actually reached the car park. After doing laps with increasing frustration, my eldest daughters opted to make a quick exit from the car to enter school. I barely managed to wish them well before the car door was slammed close and they ran through the pelting rain towards their classrooms and awaiting friends.

I finally managed to snag a parking spot and in torrential rain, tried to squeeze two children, 70 kilograms of textbooks and my oversized handbag under my compact umbrella.

We finally located the new classrooms, identified the new teachers and discovered which friends would be in this year’s class. Feeling relief that I had successfully managed (although somewhat saturated) to deliver my kids to school on time to start their new year of learning I left to consume a well-earned cup of coffee.

It was only later as I was idly scrolling through Facebook, that I noticed that I seemed to be the only parent that hadn’t memoralised the first day of school with a photo of my kids looking shiny and bright in their school uniforms. I was just glad to get all my kids the in car without a meltdown (mine not theirs) and then delivered to school on time, to even give a second thought to taking a photo.

I clearly missed the nostalgic photo opportunity clause in the parenting handbook. So my question to you is this – would it be weird if I took a day 3 photo? I mean what’s a few days between friends? I swear my kids haven’t grown in the last two days!

(Picture courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

PHOTO PRIVACY  

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Where do you draw the line between sharing images capturing innocent kids having fun and overstepping the mark and violating their privacy?

In this day and age when social media is used to update everyone on every aspect of your life, people often take the liberty of taking photos of kids and posting them on the World Wide Web, without a second thought. Unfortunately, prowling through that same media are people whose actions are not very honourable.

I recently heard about a lady who took it upon herself to go into her child’s classroom and take photos of the whole class. Without gaining any parent’s permission, this professional photographer then published the photos as a photo book and put links up to every photo on her website and social media in a blatant attempt to make money. Not only did she exploit the trust of parents by taking the photos in the first place but she did it in an obvious attempt to promote her business and profit from this exploitation. She did not password protect the photos and put the photos in the public arena with an explanation of which school the kids attended

On every level what this lady did was unethical, but more worryingly is the fact that she did not take any safeguards to protect the privacy of these children. She instead handed out enough information to make tracking down these kids an easy task! A number of parents of children in that class don’t have social media accounts, as they are weary of giving away their personal information. Such an intrusion sent shockwaves through the school community and sparked a debate over when it is ok to show photos of kids.

The general consensus seems that you should always in the first instance gain approval from parents before uploading photos of their kids and should always check your privacy settings to ensure that only the intended recipients can see the images.

My daughter just attended a birthday party where photos of the group were taken. The mother specifically emailed all the parents to gain their approval to use the photos and asked whether the lady hosting the party could use the photos to promote her business. I was happy to oblige with letting her use the photos and was grateful that she sort out approval before doing so.

This post is a timely reminder to check your privacy settings on social media and ensure that before you post an image of any child (be it at a party, school event, in the sporting arena or in a personal environment) that the child’s parents agree to these photos being used.

 

(Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images, freedigitalphotos.net)

 

 

THE SANTA PHOTO TRADITION

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First and foremost I have to admit, I’m a Christmas tragic! I love everything Christmas from buying the presents, to decorating the house with the family, listening to Christmas carols and having our extended family come to our house to share the day. Therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I still get my kids to have their obligatory Santa photo each year.

It started when my eldest (now 16) was just 1 week old. I took my newborn baby girl to be cuddled by Santa. She ended up a crumpled mess and I think poor Santa had no idea how to hold such a tiny infant. The photo wasn’t that great, but the memory behind our baby’s first Christmas was something I wanted to capture.

Fast forward a few years and another child down and my second daughter had an aversion to the scary old man sitting on the big red chair. That year I had to sit on Santa’s chair with the two girls on my lap, whilst Santa popped his head over the backrest of the chair, out of sight of my kids.

By the time we had four kids, getting the photo was a logistical feat. One or two would sit on Santa’s lap, whilst the older two would perch themselves on the arms of Santa’s chair, trying to look happy as the photographer did tricks with squeaky toys to get them to look in his general direction.

Now my kids think it is lame that I still want to get their photo with Santa, but they humour me, as I’m such a Christmas tragic. We just have to drive to a shopping centre 1 ½ hours away from home where there is no chance they will run into someone they know. Last year we had a prolonged wait in the cue to see Santa, whilst toddlers that reached up to my kids knees, alternated between laughing and giggling to throwing themselves down on the floor in protest. My kids probably sympathised more with the latter group of kids, but stood there patiently so we could get our two minutes with the jolly old man.

A friend took her young kids to have Santa photos this week. Poor Santa wasn’t feeling so merry and had a meltdown, yelling at the photographer elf that she was a ‘b****’ before storming off.  ‘Tis the season to be jolly tired old Santa (whose wife probably signed him up for the gig as a bit of fun!) 

I have earmarked the weekend before Christmas to go away so I can find a remote shopping centre to get this year’s photo. I can’t wait to see relief wash over Santa’s face as he realises he won’t have to pretend to be jolly to get infants to smile at the camera. I know the years of getting this traditional Santa photo are very limited, so I will treasure this year’s pic and ad it to the fifteen others that I have tucked away for safe keeping. It is quite amazing that as my kids get older each year, Santa doesn’t seem to age – he truly must be magic!

 

 

(photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net – I was going to post a photo of my kids, but given the extent we go to, to ensure no-one sees them getting their photo taken, I didn’t think my teenagers would take kindly to me uploading their photo with Santa)