The indoor generation

The children of today are the indoor generation. They spend more time indoors than previous generations and it has been noted that some children spend less time outside than prisoners.

I completely understand times have changed and the world is unfortunately not as safe as it once was but the indoor generation certainly need more time outside.

Girls alone

An interesting watch!

A programme about a group of 10 young girls left alone in a house without adults and rules… it’s quite disturbing how horrible little girls can be to one another! It also shows how pre teens also need boundaries and adult supervision.


Education or happiness?

I have just finished watching these two documentaries by the BBC. They follow the lives of three Welsh teenagers who go and live with a South Korean family for three days and follow their South Korean counterparts at their day at school.

I have to admit the South Korean education system shocked me. The amount of time these children/teenagers spend studying is mind – blowing. Yes, they do receive some of the best grades in the world and are undoubtedly highly academically intelligent but it is no surprise considering how much effort they put in to be the best they can possibly be.

Pupils sit in the same seat in the same classroom for around 10 hours a day. The style of teaching differs from that here in the UK as students are simply told how to do something, they memorise it and that’s that. There are no questions asked, no discussions in the classroom but rather silence and concentration. There is a real emphasis on getting good grades and going to the top university so much so that students often spend around 5 to 6 hours after school at private evening institutions for further academic tutoring or conduct their own self study. Students often wait to go into the library as it is so busy and children as young as 10 can be seen studying till around 10 in the evening.

Emphasis is placed on being the best rather than on being happy. Although academically South Korea do very well, they rank very low on the “are you happy?” scale. In the documentary a university student was asked about his high school experience. He stated how he had lost a few friends due to suicide due to the high levels of stress their families had put them under. South Korea has some of the highest suicide rates in the world, which seems like no surprise after hearing of their tiresome, long, strenuous days.

They have no time for social activities, no opportunities to be creative, no time to play or listen to music or to attend concerts and enjoy the arts because they study so much. There is often not much time for sleep either, with the headmaster claiming 6 hours was more than sufficient. I personally feel that if my brain was drilled of information for 16 hours a day i would like a little more than 6 hours sleep before cramming in more information the next day.

However, is it really all bad? culturally South Korea is very different to the UK and America. All families see the up most importance in education and do all they can to provide the best educations for their children. This may mean moving across the country in order to attend the best schools or working long hours to earn the money to send their child to the private tutor sessions after school. It is a social norm for families to not see each other due to long working hours yet, in the western world family time is viewed as almost more important than education.

Although some choose to pay to send their child the independent, private institutions in the UK and America. Most send their children to state schools. Yet, in South Korea it is uncommon for a child to not attend some form of private education. It s evident that South Korean parents want what is best for their children and they go to great extends for their children to achieve this.

Something I admired from the documentary was the respect teachers had in South Korea. There was a statue of a man who had said that the king and teachers are equal, something you would never hear in the western world. Instead teachers are paid low wages, are disrespected by students, often frowned upon by society and yet are under enormous amounts of pressure and work hard! It is a real honour to become a teacher in South Korea due to the high status and job security yet ambitions to become teachers in the UK are not quite to the same level.

It seems as though the South Korean education system does have its flaws yet times are changing. They are encouraging students to be more creative from a younger age and have introduced sport into schools. Following by the western example of allowing children to be more free. But, the South Koreans seem to have ambition that puts the rest of the world to shame. Perhaps this is something we need to drill into our children a little more.

The documentary can be found below:


The people next door

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The people next door is a one off documentary broadcast on Channel 4 (UK) about child abuse.

The documentary begins with a newly married happy couple moving into a semi-detached house after finding out that Gemma (the wife) is pregnant. Whilst all appears well at first, screaming is quickly heard from their next door neighbours house. The couple are slightly worried at first but just put it down to a one off argument. The next day they leave the front door open as they return home and a little boy runs into their house who appears slightly nervous and then quickly runs out and returns next door to the house where screaming was heard the previous night. As time progresses the screaming is heard again, along with banging, and the sounds of a child crying. Gemma becomes paranoid.

She orders a nanny teddy and gives it to the family next door in order to spy on their every move. Whilst the teddy captures some details the smallest boy of the family is not seen. The camera in the teddy bear also picks up on a closed door leading to the back bedroom of the house, the room which Gemma heard the crying coming from. She becomes more and more paranoid as the family are seen leaving the house yet the smallest, youngest child is not seen with them. As time progresses Richard (husband) begins to think Gemma is acting strange. After Gemma directly questions the family about the youngest son’s whereabouts, the story begins to add up. They state that he has been sent to the grandparents house for a while. Richard believes their words yet Gemma is still unsure.

To put Gemma’s mind at rest he steals a bin bag from next doors bin to check for anything suspicious. As the bin bag is unwrapped a blood covered white sheet is found. Richard states how it could be anything, perhaps he thinks one of the other children in the house had a nosebleed whilst sleeping. However, Gemma becomes more paranoid. She listens for any slight noise heard next door. One day she sees next doors daughter playing outside and decides to have a talk with her. Gemma asks the little girl who lives in her house. The little girl responds saying mummy, daddy along with her other siblings names and then finishes with the name Charlie. Gemma is shocked, the only possible person named Charlie could be the little boy she had seen previously. But, how could this be? Charlie was sent to his grandparents? Richard tries to calm Gemma and tells her that Charlie is the name of their cat.

As time progresses it is clear that Gemma is becoming more paranoid yet Richard is no longer fussed about the mysteries occurring next door. Until that is, crying is once again heard from the back bedroom. As the family have been seen leaving their house Gemma and Richard both decide to break in next door and see what the noise is. Just as they go to open the door of the back bedroom the family return. Darkness.

The next scene focuses on a new couple looking round Gemma and Richards house, the estate agent says the current owners are looking for a quick sale. I wonder why. As the new couple are seen leaving the house they see next doors little girl stroking her pet cat. They speak with her and ask her the cats name. Jasper she replies…

I strongly recommend watching the programme. It really opens up your eyes to the world of child abuse as well as the world of paranoia. I’d advise you to make up your own mind about whether Charlie was abused or whether Gemma was just being paranoid. Did Gemma’s motherly instincts lead her to suspect something wasn’t quite right?…