Tag Archives: don’t judge my family

Mobile phones: do parents need to turn them off as much as their children?

Today whilst sitting in a local café I saw something vaguely disturbing – which I seem to see almost every day now. This may be rather an unusual subject for a blog, but I just had to sit down and write this piece. A parent had obviously just picked up his daughter from school – she was maybe five or six year’s old – and taken her out for a well-meaning treat. But after five minutes or so, I noticed her just staring out of the window. The father was on his mobile phone for almost the entire length of the time that I was there – at least twenty minutes, if not longer.

The child would intermittently try to get her father’s attention, saying look at this or that, but he would glance across at her with a quick smile and then carry on scrolling – and scrolling, not taking any meaningful interest in what she was saying. They were in my line of sight so I could not escape the whole thing. The little girl was trying so hard to engage with her father, but his attention was elsewhere. In the end I think she just gave up. Maybe he had something very important to sort out, it is not for me to judge, but I have seen this pattern of behaviour repeated many times – especially on train journeys. It is strange how we so often criticise children and adolescents for spending too much time on their phones, when their parents can be at least as culpable. Sometimes there are also safety implications; I have seen the parents of small children using their phones whilst crossing the road, with their young charges walking ahead unsupervised.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 25 Comments

The Independent View: Help, don’t judge – better uses for the £700 million marriage tax break cash

Don't judge advent calendarAnother Westminster set piece, another piece of the jigsaw for David Cameron’s marriage tax allowance. This Thursday the Chancellor gives his Autumn Statement. With the economic upturn shaky at best we can expect little in the way of good news and plenty more squeezing of budgets. Except, that is, for the little matter of the £700m the Conservatives are gearing up to spend on giving tax breaks for married couples. The Chancellor is expected to give more detail on this policy, which even its supporters believe is only of symbolic value.

With …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 7 Comments

IFS say marriage tax break is symbolic and of little benefit to children.

Liberal Democrats generally don’t need to be persuaded that the Tories’ marriage tax break idea, on which they’d like to blow half a billion quid, is an ineffective and entirely wrong-headed idea.

However it’s always useful to have more ammunition against it. The Telegraph reports that the Institute of Fiscal Studies take the view that education and wealth of parents is far more significant to children than whether their parents are married:

Research shows that children whose parents are married make better progress at school and are more emotionally stable than those whose parents co-habit.

However, the IFS has found that this

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments
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