My Top 10 Articles for June 22nd-28th

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After a short break, my Top 10 Article Project is back.

This post features a set of articles relating to child development, ranging from effective parenting style with love, discipline, or both; children in India not learning enough at school; a project aiming to boost Syrian refugee children’s potential by offering Sesame Street programs and other quality care; to the long-term adverse consequences that detained children at the US-Mexico border might endure.

The purpose of my Top 10 Article project is to share articles that I believe contain essential information for parents, potential parents, children, or anyone who care about the next generation. I ranked the articles subjectively. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it

10. How much plastic particle we consume and what we can do

We don’t know yet the real impact of microplastic particles consumption on our health, although we already consume a lot of plastic particles from food, air, and water (especially bottled water). “(T)he research revealed that—at the very least—humans appear to consume somewhere between 74,000 and 121,000 microplastic particles every year. That number goes up for people drinking bottled water rather than tap water. Now, is all this plastic ingestion safe? We simply don’t know,” stated by the article. Like many other issues not yet fully proven scientifically, this would lead to an open-ended question: Should we wait and see until scientists find proof that plastics significantly damages our health, or should we start taking preventive measures to avoid the worse scenario?

(Source: Scientific American)

9. What happens when Your Job Is Your Identity

A very useful article both for working parents and stay-home parents to enhance their life balance.

Your organizational role belongs to your organization or family, and is different from our self. But it is often difficult to draw the line between the role and our self. If you bring most of yourself – your passion, talent, experiences, energy, and time – to your role, your quickly forget you’re filling your role, which can cause trouble such as weakening your judgement. Also, you could start taking criticism and organizational decision personally, if you mix your organizational role and your self. You could be more effective in your role when you apart your role from your self.

 (Source: Harvard Business Review)

8. Authoritative parents (not authoritarian or permissive parents) bring best outcome for their children

How parenting practices affect the flourishing of children in later life? Research confirmed that high parenting warmth and high parenting discipline – authoritarian style in the chart – enhance children’s well-being and health most. This research categorize parenting into four style, depending on high/low parenting warmth (the level of love and affection) and high/low parenting discipline.

What’s interesting is that parenting warmth and love (rather than discipline) are dominant factors. Permissive parenting style is more effective than authoritarian style, according to the article. Not surprisingly, neglectful parenting is the worst.

Classification of Parenting Styles. Source: Tyler VanderWeele

Classification of Parenting Styles. Source: Tyler VanderWeele

(Source: Psychology Today)

7. Why children in developing countries are not learning enough in school?

Education at the school level has been remarkably improved in many developing countries. More kids are enrolled in school, and drop out rates are down. However, like many other developing countries, learning outcome of students remain poor in India. Why are our students not learning sufficiently? Is the teacher teaching? Untrained teachers, irrespective of schools being adequately staffed, directly affect student performance, according to the article.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. Digital technology that could benefits everyone, including children and parents

This article provides an excellent insight on how digital technology changes company-customer relationship and then how exactly technology makes our lives much easier in the foreseeable feature.

Thanks to digital technology, companies can build deeper ties with customers so that customers can get their lives and experiences improved and more efficient. For example, McGrow-Hill, a top textbook supplier, provides customized learning services, in which students read digital textbooks and get special instruction or support on what they have difficulty to learn. Companies supplying dairy products can monitor the stock of milk in individual customers’ refrigerator and provide milk when it’s out of stock, as long as the companies have a set of information on customers on how much they consume milk or whether customers have plan to travel in which they don’t need milk.

If customers want more advanced services, they need to share personal data and and to have firms make suggestions or decisions for them. Thus, as long as you don’t mind sharing your information with companies, you can enjoy more customized services.

(Source: Harvard Business Review)

5. Syrian refugee children receiving Sesame-Street learning opportunities and quality early childhood intervention

A very encouraging news about an early childhood education (ECD) program aimed for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. Four million Syrian children were born after Syrian Crisis. Crisis and displacement in young age could cause long-lasting negative effects that prolonged stress has on young children’s developing brain. Funded and supported by MacArthur Foundation and Lego Foundation, the ECD program provides quality caregiving with attention to health and safety, as well as Arabic-language version of Sesame Street learning opportunities that help children strengthen their social-emotional growth.

Unfortunately, such approach focusing on early childhood education is not a priority in humanitarian responses from the international community. In my view, there are some factors behind this; for example, traditional aid (providing food, water) being dominating, the impact of childhood learning not well recognized, and lack of early childhood education specialists in the international aid community.

(Source: Brookings Institute)

4. Potential of Facebook’s digital currency

Facebook’s digital currency, Libra, has a big potential although it could carry financial risks and uncertainty of governance and regulation.

Libra, which is expected to be launched in 2020, has a hug potential for financial services in many developing and emerging countries, where financial systems are less sophisticated and many people don’t have bank accounts.

I’m currently living in Jordan. Although Jordan is a upper middle income country (rather than a poor developing country), there are still a lot of people from middle or low income class who don’t have access to digital transactions. At the same time, a number of local businesses and individuals hold Facebook accounts. (indeed, for a small business owner, opening own website is costly, while FB business account is free and so many people have FB accounts.) So, a country like Jordan could have a good chance of taking advantage of Libra.

At the same time, given that the Libra market can be quite huge, any failure in Libra system could pose significant risks to global financial markets, which is why financial regulators are cautious. Indeed, the governor of the British central bank suggested that Libra should be subject to higher standards and regulations.

(Source: The Economist)

3. San Francisco bans e-cigarette

As an individual as well as a parent who loathe smoking, I very much welcome the news that San Francisco has decided to ban e-cigarette because the effect of e-cigarette on human body is unknown. Many political/administrative decisions are made only after certain risks are proved. Furthermore, this decision came despite the fact that the Californian city is home to Juul Labs, the most popular e-cigarette maker in the US.

E-cigarette is not risk free, although some people from the industry and researchers claim that e-cigarette is 95 percent less risky than traditional cigarette. E-cigarette producers have strategically reached to young people, which led to a huge increase in e-cigarette use among US teens.

(Source: BBC)

2. Japan’s pay-as-you-go pension system 

The Japanese government earlier this month released a report on the future financial security of senior citizens that suggested people would have to save more to make up for expected shortfalls in the public pension system. That immediately sparked public anxiety and major controversy over the country’s public pension program’s dependability, according to Japan Times.

The shortfalls in the report came as a surprise to most Japanese; however, it is actually a matter of course. The Japanese social security system is largely unfunded (or pay-as-you-go), having benefits paid directly out of current taxes and social security contributions. Thus, in a rapidly aging society with long life expectancy like japan, shortfalls of public pension funds are inevitable, unless the government significantly raises tax rates and contribution or have pension funds outperform, which is not realistic and could cause serious distortions. 

(Source: Japan Times)

1. Neglect of children at the border has long-term consequences

I don’t want to believe that the USA, my beloved country where I lived for 13 years, has created the horrifying, overcrowding, and prison-like conditions that children seeking asylum are living in. Good news is that a number of people and organization in USA are trying to counterbalance it to save those children.

“As a nation, we are failing to respect the dignity of human life. We risk dooming innocent children to a future in which they may never be productive citizens of any country. The science is indeed clear: The conditions in which immigrant children are held at the border puts them at tremendous risk for toxic stress and related health, mental, and cognitive outcomes that can last a lifetime,” stated by the authors.

(Source: Brookings Institute)

 (photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash)