July 4th in Peace and Justice History

teddy bears 1The following are a few of the peace and justice related historical events that have occurred on July 4:

1804 – Birth of Author Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote “Chiefly About War-Matters” detailing his opposition to the Civil War Hawthorne 1827 - Slavery is abolished in NY

1845 - Pacifist Henry David Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond where he will live for two years thoreau 1845 – Philanthropist and Humanitarian Thomas John Barnardo, who helped create homes for 100,000 poor children, is born in Dublin

1852 – African-American Abolitionist Frederick Douglas gives his famous speech “The Meaning of July 4th to the Negro” (speech given on July 5) douglas 1881 - African-American educational pioneer Booker T. Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute (Alabama) Booker t Washington 1941 - Howard Florey & Norman Heatley meet for 1st time, 11 days later they successfully recreate penicillin

1941 – Vietnam Veteran and Peace Activist Brian Wilson is born

1946 – Birth of Ronald Lawrence Kovican American anti-war activist, veteran and writer who was paralyzed in the Vietnam War. He is best known as the author of the memoir Born on the Fourth of July. born on july 4 1951 – The “Capital Times” in Madison, Wisconsin, reported that one of its reporters was turned down by 99 out of 100 people he asked to sign a petition made up of quotations from the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Many said the petition was subversive.

1966 - US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act, which makes government information more publicly available.

1969 - “Give Peace a Chance” by Plastic Ono Band is released in UK Givechance 1972 - Lee Hu-rak, South Korean President Park Chung-hee’s top intelligence officer, helped broker a joint statement, the first major accord since 1953, in which the two Koreas agreed to work toward peacefully reunifying their divided peninsula.

1987 – Bill Graham took Santana, the Doobie Brothers and Bonny Rait to Moscow for an American-Soviet peace concert.

1993 – South African leaders F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela received the Liberty Medal in a ceremony outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

de klerk mandela

1997 – In Guatemala Pres. Alvaro Arzu fired 2 top military officials, after they had helped negotiate a peace treaty. They were known as moderates and the hard-liner Gen’l. Hector Barrios took over as the new defense chief.

1999 – A 2,000 pound tombstone for “Unknown Civilians Killed in Wars” departed from Sherborn, Mass., on a 450-mile trek to Arlington National Cemetery. It was impounded by police on August 6 for safekeeping pending approval by Congress. In the 20th century 62 million civilians died in wars as compared to 43 million military people. uckiw 1999 – In Puerto Rico anti US Navy protests drew some 50,000 people.

2005 – In Austria, representatives from more than 100 countries gathered at the UN nuclear (IAEA) agency’s Vienna headquarters to consider strengthening international laws meant to safeguard nuclear materials from theft and prevent terrorist attacks on atomic power plants.

2012 – A Swedish ad team from Studio Total dropped hundreds of teddy bears carrying messages promoting human rights onto Belarus. teddy bears SOURCES: http://www.timelines.ws/days/07_04.HTML, Wikipedia, others

Pay Attention To Your Attention To The Screen

In one of my first posts (The NEW Virtual Babysitter), I cautioned parents to be vigilant in the amount of technological interactions that they allowed their children to have. I listed several statistics about TV viewing in particular due to the amount of research that has occurred on that subject over the years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended no television for children under the age of 2 and 1 to 2 hours per day for children older than 2.  My premise was that these might be good guidelines for parents for screen time in general. As the research has caught up with the new media habits of children, specifically with regards to video games,  I have been anticipating the results of these studies.

One recent study in particular is most pertinent to those of us with children who have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). “Television and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems,” published in the August print issue of Pediatrics (published online July 5), found that children who exceeded the 2 hour a day limit to screen time that the AAP recommends were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to have attention problems. More information can be found on the APA’s website.

Another study has linked anxiety and depression with excessive gaming. The research focused on adult gamers and compared those who played 33 hours per week (4.7 hours per day) with those who played 21 hours per week (3 hours per day). Those in the excessive group were 25 times more likely to experience anxiety and depression than in the more balanced group. They also had more difficulty in managing anger and handling real life situations.

“Excessive gamers displayed higher avoidance coping and lower approach coping styles compared to balanced gamers,” Researcher Daniel Loton from Victoria University said, “This may be reflective of video games being used as a coping mechanism to relax and as a distraction from difficulties.” Though, in what could be an alarming trend, both groups averaged levels of stress, anxiety, and depression well above the normal parameters reported in past studies.

While my primary concern with video games and other new media has been their use as portals for violence, these studies reflect the power video games have to generate other emotional problems within children and, if not limited, in adults as well. This research should serve as a catalyst for parents and caregivers to continue to monitor the screen time of children and provide intelligent boundaries so that they can grow up to be as healthy as possible.