Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Family

Nearly 300 million kids are missing school worldwide because of the coronavirus outbreak, including some 54 million in the U.S. alone. That’s left parents scrambling for resources to help continue their children’s education, often while also working from home themselves — an almost insurmountable challenge. Today, the nonprofit media organization Common Sense is launching a site to help parents. Called Wide Open School (, it combines in one place the best educational resources for publishers, nonprofits and education companies.

At launch, this free resource includes content from the American Federation of Teachers, Amplify, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Head Start, Khan Academy, National Geographic, Noggin, PBS, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop, Time for Kids, XQ Institute and even YouTube.

All the content offered through Wide Open School is freely available.

But it’s not just a list of helpful websites. Instead, Wide Open School actually programs a full school day for the child by grade level, to ensure they’re getting a mix of educational material that aligns with what their day would have been when attending school.

For example, a fourth grader may be pointed to Prodigy’s math games, YouTube art tutorials and Khan Academy reading resources in the morning, then instructed to read a book, draw or listen to music during their screen-free lunch break. In the afternoon, they may take social studies via Google Earth, study science through Amplify and take P.E. by way of GoNoodle.

The site even suggests evening activities that can be done as a family, like bedtime reading or movies to stream, among other things.

In addition, Wide Open School offers a guide to getting started with learning at home, a collection of virtual field trips, a collection with resources for art and music and one with resources for emotional well-being — the latter especially critical at a time when anxiety levels are high among parents and kids alike.

There’s also a section dedicated to parents of children with special needs.

Everything is organized in a colorful grid, with picture images so it can be easily used by children on their own.

For struggling parents new to homeschooling, a resource like this will likely be welcome.

However, Common Sense is opening up the tools to educators, as well. Though many U.S. school systems already offer their students a set of digital resources through direct relationships with educational companies, like Nat Geo or Scholastic, those resources were typically meant to supplement the education the child was receiving at school, not replace it. There may still be large holes in the child’s education that aren’t being addressed.

Common Sense says the new Wide Open School website has been curated for educational quality.

This taps into the organization’s key strength, as its focus has always been on promoting safe technology and media for children. Today, its main website is known for its trusted reviews of TV, movies, books, games and apps that help parents understand a given piece of content’s age-appropriateness, as well as concerns with the title in question, if any.

To create the new Wide Open School, Common Sense was able to tap into its existing understanding of the educational media available for families, and then organize it by grade level.

Common Sense says it also worked with key distribution and technology partners Apple, Google, Zoom, Comcast and Salesforce, which have also suggested tools and resources, to ensure they’re aware of and can access the content.

“The coronavirus pandemic has elevated the need for quality learning materials all in one place for families and educators, and Common Sense is proud that trusted experts and partners have joined together to launch Wide Open School so quickly,” said James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense, in a statement about the launch.

“Many organizations have moved swiftly to respond to this crisis with incredible resources and special offers for educators and families. We wanted to use our nearly 20 years of experience as an expert reviewer and curator to create the go-to source of quality content that will provide educators with the support they need to shift to remote teaching and a one-stop, trusted place for families to engage kids who are now learning from home,” he added.

Though many U.S. schools are moving toward remote learning, some aren’t yet ready or fully rolled out. And even those schools that have shifted online aren’t necessarily programming the equivalent of a full school day for the students. That can be difficult for parents working from home, as kids complete their more limited educational activities, then look to be entertained. Left on their own, that’s meant full days of gaming or bingeing YouTube — much to the exacerbation of parents who don’t consider coronavirus cancellations just an early start to summer break.

Wide Open School can supplement whatever remote learning is taking place, as well, or can be used by teachers who are creating online lessons for the first time.

The new website launched publicly today, but is still considered a beta — meaning it’s not the final product.

Common Sense is still working to expand the site and is forging additional educational partnerships with media and education companies, nonprofits and teachers in order to add more content, it says.

The site will be available across platforms, including mobile, desktop and TV, in order to allow everyone — even low-income families — to access its resources.

It’s working to add other resources to aid low-income families as well, including information about accessing free or discounted broadband services, as well as resources for more urgent needs to address health, hunger, shelter and psychological needs.

Read more:

Phil is the happiest person I know, because he never gets bored

Mary Rose Young, 61

Phil and I met and married in the same year, 24 years ago. Three and a half years later, in 1999, he had an aneurysm while we were jogging. He is a musician and had been on a world tour with Iggy Pop; now he cant follow a tune all the way through because his short-term memory is affected.

Hes the happiest person I know, because he never gets bored. He goes from playing his instruments to making coffee, then doing word puzzles. Because of his lack of short-term memory, hes always starting everything afresh. So I call him Five-second Phil. He gets it. Humour is a great crutch for us.

Im a potter and my workshop adjoins our home. I have about six people working with me, which was great in the early years, when my life was thrown into chaos: there were others here who could look out for him. Sometimes I imagine he gets lonely, but he doesnt he really has no concept of it. If were stuck in traffic and Im grumpy, he doesnt realise how long weve been there. And I just look at him and think, well, if youre happy, then Im happy. What I learn from Phil is the joy of living in the moment.

Phil Butcher, 61

Im Five-second Phil! My short-term memory is totally gone. Well, that was my experience of going jogging, anyway. I love doing crosswords and Scrabble. Mary Rose and I usually have a game at lunchtime. I see her during the day, though; I visit her in her workshop. I also like being in my own workspace in the music studio. I used to be a musician. I can still play, but not professionally. I am a man of very simple pleasures.

If you have a story to tell about who you live with, fill in this form and tell us a little about your set-up.

Read more:

Mental health is a very sensitive subject that affects a lot of people. Specifically, suicide is not a topic that gets talked about enough, but the fact is that there are lots of individuals who have suicidal thoughts and are considering taking their own lives. They need our support.

Entrepreneur Andrew Spade posted a touching message on Instagram and reached out to anyone and everyone who’s in an incredibly tough situation, like his wife Kate had been. Fashion designer Kate Spade killed herself on June 5, 2018, when she was 55. She would have been 57 years old on Christmas Eve, 2019.

As part of the post honoring his wife’s memory, Andrew shared a picture of his and Kate’s daughter and talked about being kind to one another, as well as how perfectionism can be detrimental to mental health and can lead to heart-breaking decisions.

Fashion designer Kate Spade’s husband Andrew posted a tribute to her and talked about mental health, perfectionism, and suicide

Image credits: iHeartsy-Music

Image credits: andyspade

Andrew posted a picture of their daughter…

Image credits: andyspade

…and wrote how honesty, not perfection, is the goal

Andrew and Kate launched her designer brand in 1993 and got married a year after that. Kate’s husband Andrew had this to say after his wife’s death: “Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives.”

According to Andrew, Kate taking her life came as a shock to him: “We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.”

There are many factors linked to suicidal thoughts, and perfectionism is one of them. According to one study, the pressure to be perfect (whether that pressure is self-made or thrust onto our shoulders by those around us) makes a person more likely to think about taking their own life. This raises the issue that perfectionism as a trait may do much more harm than good.

People thought that Andrew’s post was incredibly important and helpful

Read more:

In a move to boost family subscriptions to its app, Spotify this morning announced the launch of a dedicated Kids application which allows children three and up to listen to their own music, both online and offline, as well as explore playlists and recommendations picked by experts, and more. The music selection is also filtered so songs won’t have explicit content.

The launch is a first in the online music streaming space, where kids on parents’ music plans typically sign in through the same app — just with a different login. But Spotify believes children deserve their own space, where the music they listen to is available in an ad-free environment, where they won’t accidentally encounter lyrics that parents disapprove of, and where content is hand-curated by editors.

Spotify Kids, essentially, is a set of hand-picked playlists across categories.


The app includes categories like Movies & TV, top hits, Activities (bedtime, homework, playtime, etc.), genres, seasonal, Spotify Originals, artist/groups, and Stories.

The playlists are all programmed by human editors, not algorithms, and are chosen by way of a set of guidelines about what’s appropriate for children.

The editors, Spotify says, have backgrounds from some of the most well-known brands in the children’s entertainment business, including Nickelodeon, Disney, Discovery Kids, Universal Pictures, Public Service (Sweden), and BookBeat (a family and kids-oriented audio streaming service).

The new app isn’t just for the preschool set. Instead, it can grow with the kids as they get older — but still aren’t ready for the parents’ application yet.


In the younger kids’ version, children can listen to things like singalongs, lullabies, and soundtracks aimed at little kids. Older users have access to tracks and playlists of their own, including some popular tracks, that are appropriate and relevant for their age group. Parents will select their child’s age group upon launch.

In time, Spotify will expand the app with more content — including stories, audiobooks, and podcasts — and build enhanced parental settings and controls that allow parents to customize the Kids app further.

The new app also looks nothing like the main app — it’s colorful and bright, and has a look and feel that varies by the kids’ age group. For example, the younger kids see artwork that’s softer and character-based, while older kids have a more detailed experience.


“Spotify is committed to giving billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by music and stories and we’re proud that this commitment now includes the next generation of audio listeners,” said Spotify’s Chief Premium Business Officer Alex Norström. “We are excited to be expanding the Spotify Premium Family experience with a dedicated app just for our youngest fans. Spotify Kids is a personalized world bursting with sound, shape and color, where our young listeners can begin a lifelong love of music and stories.”

The launch of the Kids app follows Spotify’s surprise earnings success this week, where it beat Wall St. estimates with net income of 241 million euros ($267.34 million), or 36 cents per share. Analysts had expected a loss of 29 cents per share.

The company also added 5 million new subscribers in the quarter to reach 113 million paying premium subscribers — up 26 million from the year-ago quarter.

Today, a Spotify Premium plan costs slightly more than a regular Premium account ($14.99 vs. $9.99 in the U.S., respectively). But many parents often just share their account with the whole family — often ruining their recommendations and special features, like Spotify Wrapped, along the way. A Kids app is a good incentive to convince customers to upgrade, as it’s not only solving those problems but also giving kids a safer, more curated experience within the larger music ecosystem.

There’s another incentive for Spotify to separate out Kids’ listening into its own space: targeted advertising. While the Premium experience has typically been ad-free, a new product lets artists buy a full-screen ad about their new music release and show it to interested users, based on listening history — even if they’re Premium subscribers.

This isn’t the first move Spotify has made in recent months to better cater to families. The company this summer launched a dedicated streaming hub in partnership with Disney, where families could find favorite songs, playlists and soundtracks. It also added parental controls to Premium Family accounts soon after, and launched a special “family mix” with songs everyone can agree on.

Spotify Kids is initially available in beta, while Spotify works to refine the experience based on additional insights gained from use as well as parentsfeedback. It requires a Premium Family plan to use.

The app is immediately available today in Ireland on iOS and Android, but is rolling out to all markets, the company says.

Read more:

US family split as Home Office makes it increasingly difficult for overseas academics to work in UK universities

Amber Murrey, an American academic, was ecstatic about being appointed associate professor in geography at Oxford University last year. But the dream turned sour two weeks ago when the Home Office refused to grant visas for her two daughters, aged four and nine, to live with her in the UK.

Dr Murrey used an immigration lawyer to make sure the visa applications for her daughters, who have US passports, went smoothly, and was not anticipating a problem. Her husband has business commitments overseeing property renovations in Cameroon, where he is from, and the couple had included joint written consent for their daughters to live with her in Oxford.

When I read those three unemotional sentences saying they were denying my children entry to the UK I felt complete disbelief, she says. I had already packed the girls bags and bought their school uniforms. It is insane that you can have a legal document with both parents consent to have the children with their mother and they simply say no, that cant happen.

Her case will add to a tide of anger among academics, who say the Home Offices hostile immigration environment is making it difficult for talented people from abroad to forge an academic career in the UK.

This is the second time in a month that the Home Office has refused a visa to an American academic based at Oxford University. Last month Education Guardian reported that Dr Elizabeth Ford, a music historian about to start a fellowship at Oxford, was given two weeks to leave after eight years in the UK, because the Home Office said it had granted her last visa erroneously.

Young overseas academics say that universities are now so frightened of the tough new visa regime that, in some cases, they are automatically rejecting international candidates for jobs they should be eligible for.

Dr Murrey, an expert on social change in Africa, who has published widely and previously held positions at universities in Cairo, Massachusetts and Ethiopia, took up her post in Oxford last year. Without proof of residency she couldnt set up schooling or somewhere to live in advance, so the couple decided she should establish a base in Oxford before moving the family. While she has been returning to Cameroon to see her daughters and husband in the university holidays, she says this has been an emotional strain.

It has been really hard, because I need to spend more time with my daughters but I am wary of being out of the UK for too long in case it jeopardises the terms of my tier 2 visa, she says.

The news has hit the family hard. Murrey says: My nine-year-old had been so excited about her new school, and our apartment near a meadow. After I told her their visas had been denied she told me: I know why they rejected me, its because Ive been misbehaving this week, Mama. We both cried very hard.

The Home Office rejection letters say that under immigration rules a child may only be given a visa if both parents are living together in the UK. This would be waived if the parent living here had sole responsibility for the children, or the other partner had died.

This policy seems to operate under the guise of keeping families together, but it is splitting mine apart, Murrey says.

Ultimately the couple want the whole family to live together in Oxford, but Murrey says that right now they are just trying to do what is best for our daughters.

She doesnt know whether she has been singled out as a risk because her husband is from Cameroon. We have family members and friends there who have been rejected for British visas in the past, she says.

The Wellcome Trust, a health research charity, has evidence of around 100 cases in which academics, especially from African countries, have been refused visas to come to the UK for conferences, often for spurious reasons.

The African Studies Association UK found that at least 17 delegates were refused entry for its biennial academic conference at Birmingham University last year.

Insa Nolte, a lecturer in African culture at Birmingham, is frustrated that academics cant appeal against these decisions. There is no process to identify immigration officers who consistently misjudge cases or who make racist assumptions, she says.

If we are going to find solutions to global concerns like food security and climate change, we need to collaborate with academics across the world.

Meanwhile, young international academics who have gained their PhDs in Britain say some universities, fearful of the tougher visa rules, are automatically rejecting non-UK nationals for jobs for which they should be eligible.

Dr Lisa Kalayji, an American who did her PhD in sociology at Edinburgh University, says: In one case it was a job at another university I knew I could get a visa for. There was a pop-up as soon as I clicked the box saying I would need a visa. It said: It is extremely unlikely that we would be able to sponsor you and we recommend that you abandon the application now.

She applied anyway, but at 1am the next day received a rejection email. It was clear that was an automated response, presumably because I was not a UK national.

Kalayji has given up applying to British universities. Living with the hostile environment in the UK has worn me down so much that I dont want to be an immigrant any more. The emotional tax is too great. Im going home.

A young Canadian academic, who wished to remain anonymous, recently encountered a similar pop-up window when applying for a full-time lectureship that should have qualified her for a tier 2 visa at a London university.

It said: It is highly unlikely that you would obtain permission to work in the UK on the basis of an offer for this job. It is therefore recommended that you do not continue with your application.

She says this felt like a sign saying: foreigners go home. She blames the government rather than universities, but says that after a year of applying for jobs she is beginning to feel desperate.

Gareth Edwards, a senior geography lecturer at the University of East Anglia and co-founder of International and Broke, which campaigns against high visa costs for academics, says international academics are getting this sort of pop-up warning when applying for permanent lectureships. Those jobs are most certainly eligible for sponsorship, he says.

Melany Cruz, a Chilean PhD student at Birmingham University, applied for an academic position elsewhere and also got an apparently automated rejection at 1am the next working day. Im sure not many HR people are working at 1am. I dont think my application ever made it to the panel, she says. It is starting to feel impossible to find a job as an international PhD student, which is such a shame as I love what I do.

Paul Boustead, chair of the HR practitioners group Universities Human Resources, says universities want to recruit the most talented staff but some roles are simply unlikely to obtain a work permit.

The Home Office says:We welcome international academics from across the globe and recognise their contribution to the UKs world-leading education sector. All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available, and in line with the immigration rules.

This story was amended on 1 October 2019 to correct the spelling of Lisa Kalayjis name.

Read more:

Kid-friendly YouTube content now has its own website, The website will offer a similar experience to the existing YouTube Kids mobile app, where parents will be able to direct their child to videos that are age-appropriate, as well as track their child’s watch history and flag content missed by YouTube’s filters. At launch, the site won’t offer a sign-in option, but that will roll out at a later date, the company says.

The website’s imminent launch was quietly disclosed earlier this week by YouTube, and comes ahead of the official announcement of an FTC settlement which is said to include a multimillion-dollar penalty against the Google-owned video platform for its violations of U.S. children’s privacy laws, COPPA.

The FTC ruling, when announced, will not be without precedent.

The regulator earlier this year hit (now TikTok) with a record $5.7 million fine and forced it to implement an age-gate on its app.

The FTC’s YouTube ruling will likely also require the same sort of age-gate, designed to redirect children under the age of 13 to a kid-safe, COPPA-compliant YouTube website where children’s personal information isn’t collected without parental consent.

The new website is only one of several changes YouTube has made in recent days, ahead of the FTC announcement.

The company also this week introduced new age groupings on YouTube Kids to now include a “Preschool” filter for those age 4 and younger, in addition to a “Younger” group for ages 5 to 7, and an “Older” group for kids over 7.


YouTube Kids (“Older” age group)

And last week, the company expanded its child safety policies to remove — instead of only restrict, as it did before — any “misleading family content, including videos that target younger minors and their families, those that contain sexual themes, violence, obscene, or other mature themes not suitable for younger audiences.”

YouTube had come under fire in 2017 for hosting a number of bizarre and disturbing videos that were using keywords and the YouTube algorithms to target children.

For example, videos of popular kids’ cartoon characters like Peppa Pig drinking bleach or getting her teeth violently yanked were showing up when children sought out Peppa Pig videos. These sorts of issues had been going on for years, in fact, but YouTube only addressed the situation by age-restricting the videos after receiving high-profile press coverage. It also cut off monetization to some videos.

But the bigger problem with YouTube, as consumer advocacy groups have argued, isn’t just that YouTube can be inappropriate for kids — it’s actually breaking the law.


YouTube Kids (“Preschool” age group)

Organizations like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) had asked the FTC to investigate YouTube, claiming that the company has been collecting personal information from nearly 25 million U.S. children for a number of years, and has been using this data to engage in “very sophisticated marketing techniques.”

The groups said YouTube hides behind its terms of service, which state its site is only meant for those 13 and up, while doing nothing from preventing younger users from gaining entry. (And clearly, younger users are on YouTube — after all, that’s why YouTube was able to spin out a subset of its content into its own YouTube Kids app in the first place.)

With the YouTube Kids website in place, now it’s only a matter of waiting for the FTC’s official ruling.

The Washington Post says the details of that ruling have been finalized, and noted a multimillion-dollar fine was included. A report from Politico today said the fine could be up to $200 million. And according to Bloomberg, YouTube will end targeted ads on videos aimed at kids.

But based on YouTube’s existing YouTube Kids Privacy Policy linked from the new website, that has yet come to pass.

It also remains to be seen whether the kid-safe content will actually be pulled from and placed on YouTube Kids alone, as the advocacy groups believe would be best.

It’s unclear why YouTube has taken to making these very big, impactful announcements on YouTube’s Help forums instead of on the official YouTube Blog, and without alerting the press, as it did with the children’s content policy change, pre-announcement of the Kids website, change to age filters and now the website’s launch news.

That said, it’s certainly focused on letting YouTube users know of its Kids product — a big pop-up banner now appears upon every launch of, which has frustrated users who don’t have children.


As for the new Kids website itself, there’s not much new to report. The content is organized as in the app, in categories like Shows, Music, Explore and Gaming. Parents can set a passcode of their own to keep kids out of the settings. However, it’s still missing some of the app’s more advanced features, like profiles, whitelisting and timers. Those will likely roll out over time.

“We built YouTube Kids to create a safer environment for kids to explore their interests and curiosity, while giving parents the tools to customize the experience for their kids. We continue to improve the app based on feedback from parents and experts,” says YouTube.

Read more:

Parents love family pictures, always longing for that one perfect shot to put in their photo albums that they could show off to their neighbors and colleagues. However, far from every picture turns out great. Sometimes — with some very entertaining results. What are supposed to be impressive family photos sometimes turn out to be some of the best moments of sibling rivalry, shenanigans and weirdness to be ever captured on camera.

Bored Panda brings you this list of hilarious sibling antics, immortalized during family photoshoots. I’ve got a few similar examples in my photo albums, and I’m sure that you do as well. So scroll down, vote for your favorite funny pictures, and be sure to share with your siblings and parents. Once you’re done, take a gander at Bored Panda’s post about two sisters who are polar opposites (see if you can spot at least five differences).


This Is A Photo Of Me With My Sisters


So I Heard You Guys Like Awkward Family Photos And Pictures Of Pets. Well, Check This Out

Siblings are supposed to love and support each other unconditionally. They’re also supposed to look and act properly, especially when their pictures are being taken. At least, that’s the theory. This theory can be seen to break down. A lot. And the chances of that happening are proportional to how badly you want a nice photo for your collection.


Here’s My Brother With His Hockey Trophy And Medal, And Then There’s Me. Proudly Showing Off My Onion Ring


My Mom And Her Sisters. They Were Told Not To Blink (1978)

We know from practice that some siblings love to poke fun of each other more than anything else in the world. Sibling rivalry is an undeniable fact of growing up together, whether it’s born from jealousy or the need to compete. It can be healthy if it doesn’t turn into an endless series of screaming or boxing matches.


Much Heavier Than The Dolls She Practiced On


My Oldest Brother And I Have Such Similar Looking Faces That Even With Our Faces Swapped, We Still Look The Same

Unfortunately, not all fights between siblings are possible to avoid. That’s why, according to KidsHealth, it is important to know what to do. Often, it’s best to let your kids sort their own interpersonal problems out themselves because always stepping in can stifle their ability to act independently in the future.


For Christmas One Year My Mom Made My Brother And I Outfits From The Drapes That Came With Our Beautiful Couch


I Never Truly Understood What It’s Like To Grow Up With Siblings Until I Found This Gem Of A Photo In My Wife’s Family Album

If an actual physical fight breaks out and there’s a chance of your kids really getting hurt, you should separate them, but avoid blaming any one of them. However, if your kids are simply goofing around and being, well, kids, it’s far better to snap a few pictures of their silliness instead of telling them off. So grab your camera and make some unforgettable memories.


This Is How My 2.5 Year Old Niece Insists On Holding Her New Baby Brother


Exactly 27 Years Ago, My Mom Took The Perfect Picture Of Me And My Sister. Some Things Never Change


I Want That Fish! Son Improvises Without Fishing Gear, Yanks Carp Outta Lake, Shocks Both Fish And Sister

“My son and daughter were canoeing at a park, and James saw the tail of this huge grass carp and determined he wanted it. With no fishing rod or gear, he just hopped out of the canoe and grabbed it up. He loved on it for a little, let the mammarazzi shoot some pics, and released the shocked fish. Then I sent him home with his dad, since he smelled like a giant fish.”


The Photographer Told Me To Show More Teeth


My Sisters And I Went Through A ‘Sound Of Music’ Phase When We Were Younger. Yes Those Are Our Underpants


This Is A Picture Of My Sister And I As A Princess And Knight Riding “Horses” Halloween ’93


I Really Didn’t Want To Hold Them


Halloween 1989. That’s Me On The Right. My Sister Is Behind Me And About To Have A Really Bad Day


Just Found This Cute Picture Of Me And My Psycho Brother In The Background


The Permullets

“Our grandma used to not only give my sister and me mullets in the 80s, she would then perm them. Matching permed mullets. Need I say more?”


My Brother And I Peaked In ‘97


Apparently This Was The Best Photo They Could Get For My First Christmas


Found This Picture Of My Sister And I. She Was Probably About Two Weeks Old In This Picture. Right About The Time I Realized That We Were Keeping Her And I Was No Longer An Only Child


Siblings Xmas Photo Circa 1980. I’m The One Grabbing My Crotch. This Is The Picture My Parents Chose To Display


Requiem For A Betta

“I was about seven years old when my favorite betta fish died. I was so devastated that I insisted on hosting a full blown funeral for it. We dressed in all black and even said nice words. My mom took this photo in our back yard before we buried it. My older sister is trying her hardest not to laugh while I stood there holding my dead fish on a paper plate!”


Don’t Look Back



“Who makes three siblings commemorate their headgear wearing days? My mom, that’s who! What teenagers agree to have a professional picture taken in said headgears?! My crazy family! Embracing the weird!”


Dad Got Mad When We Weren’t Cooperating For Our Family Christmas Photo

See Also on Bored Panda


My Brothers And I Back In The Sweet Sweet 90s


Found This Old Pic Of Me And My Sisters With Balloon Hats. I Think My Sister In The Middle Got The Best One


I Was At My Friends House, And I Asked If I Could Share This Picture Of Him And His Brother. He Reluctantly Agreed


This Is A Photo From The Final Tap Dance Duet My Brother And I Did Together. It Is My Deepest Hope That He Will Still Speak To Me After This Is Posted


This Was Our Family’s Christmas Card In 1991

The caption, so lovingly coined by my mother, was “from our happy home to yours!”


The Blunder Brothers, Circa 1994. I’m In Purple


By Far My Favorite Pic Of My Twin Brother And I


Just Shoot Me

“One of many shots from our worst portrait sitting ever! Shoots only got more stressful when your little brother is born!”


Legends Of The Fall

See Also on Bored Panda

My brother and I kept looking forward and only moved our eyes, assuming that was what he meant.


Spider Girl

“My sister (the legs in the picture) and I (the face) were taking dance pictures and the photographer wanted us to strike our favorite pose. My sister is 10 years older than me so needless to say, we came home with an entertaining conversation piece!”


Burning Down The House

“Backstory, ha! I wish I knew! The pic is me (in the towel?!?) and my baby brother .. circa 1989 and I have no idea why we are so calm and why my Mom or Dad felt the need to snap this photo!”


My And My Sister’s Embarrassing Childhood Photo. I’m The Unfortunate Soul On The Right


This Is A Photo Of My Siblings And I. Quinton Was A Biter


Just Me, Keeping An Eye On My Older Sister


The Mummy

“This is a photo of my younger sister, (mummified), my older brother, (proud as ever), and me (“I didn’t do it”). My favorite part of this picture is how, even though you can’t see my little sister’s face, you can tell she is smiling in a very “TA-DA!” way, and I can only imagine how proud she was to be our model. I don’t remember when this was taken, but I can look at the craftsmanship in the placement of the streamers, and the excellent color blocking techniques, and I know that’s my fabulous work – my brother must have been the project manager/supervisor. My siblings and I have talked about recreating this picture for our mom now that we are all in our 20’s, but it has been really hard to drum up this collection of oddly specific t-shirts.”


In Middle School, I Was The Only Girl On The Wrestling Team. My Brother Was On It As Well And To Save Money, We Decided To Take Our Picture Together. I Now Regret That Decision


Skinny Dippers

“Every year for swimming my brother and I take a family photo for the team pictures, but this year the crop job and my hair made it look like we were naked.”

Read more:

If youve got famous parents, your chances in the film industry appear to improve exponentially. If were serious about equality, this has to change

Interviewed by Variety at the Los Angeles premiere of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the actor Maya Hawke denied that a personal connection led to her being cast in Quentin Tarantinos latest film. Hawke is the daughter of Uma Thurman, who has appeared in three Tarantino films, and she argued that she had gone through the same casting process as other actors by sending in a self-taped audition piece with her father (Ethan Hawke). Its perhaps a sign of our changing times that she was even asked about this, since the open secret of pervasive nepotism in the film industry has seemed to bother remarkably few people since the days when the Barrymores became the first acting dynasty.

Variety (@Variety)

No nepotism here. Maya Hawke says she had to go through the same process as everyone else for her role in #OnceUponATimeInHollywood

July 23, 2019

Indeed, people who rightly get exercised about working-class actors being increasingly shut out of the film industry can become defensive when it comes to nepotism in film. When I recently questioned the casting of Honor Swinton-Byrne in her godmother Joanna Hoggs film The Souvenir alongside her mother, Tilda Swinton, people countered online that Swinton-Byrnes performance in the film was excellent. I fully agree with that assessment, but believe its worth discussing the casting in a prestigious film of a first-time actor whose mother met the director at the expensive school they attended as children. Films thrive on personal connections, and family collaborations or friendships have yielded invaluable work but its right to ask if this masks a financial and social ill. It seems a pattern in need of breaking.

First, its important to rule out talent as a valid counter-argument to charges of nepotism. A great many children of are adept at their craft. But this is unsurprising because they may have been exposed to it from a young age. If you accept that other people who have no family connections with acting can be equally talented, then nepotism has to be considered wrong. For instance, Sofia Coppola is an immensely talented director: that doesnt change the fact that her father, Francis Ford Coppola, helped her to make The Virgin Suicides, her debut feature, by producing it with his own company, American Zoetrope. Sofia Coppolas cousin, Jason Schwartzman, got his debut role in Rushmore through her. Another cousin, Nicolas Cage, made three films with Francis Ford Coppola at the outset of his career: Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club and Peggy Sue Got Married. (The word nepotism derives from the Latin, nepos, meaning nephew, and thence the Italian nipotismo, after the practice of popes giving jobs to their nephews).

Film-making is, of course, not a democracy. Theres a case to be made that artists should be allowed to create their work as they see fit. This is true, yet other inequalities in film are now being met with initiatives to correct, for instance, gender and racial disparities. This is right, because such moves address fundamental inequalities. But the fact that children of rich actors never seem to have trouble finding work also propagates systemic inequality. The phenomenon is so widespread that we dont even question the fact that the children of, for instance, Melanie Griffith and Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Bono, Will Smith and Johnny Depp are now becoming stars.

The issue of the employment of children and family members is hardly top priority for an industry still reeling from allegations of widespread sexual abuse, and which is still failing to represent, hire and reward women and minorities adequately. Creating an awkward red carpet moment, as Variety did in subjecting Maya Hawke to forensic questioning, is perhaps not the solution. The systemic nature of nepotism, as with industrial racism and sexism, requires asking tough questions of producers and creators. In so doing we may end up with an industry that is more open to recognising and paying talent fairly and reflecting a diverse, complex society.

Read more:

As she prepares to take Glastonbury by storm, the country star opens a bottle of red wine and talks about the personal tragedy that coloured her new songs

Saturday night on the banks of the Ohio River, and the most American of scenes is unfolding. At the Ball Park, the Cincinnati Reds are playing the Texas Rangers, while at the US Bank Arena next door Carrie Underwood is making the latest stop on her global tour. Fans spill together through the muggy streets, a mingling of scarlet baseball jerseys and tan cowboy boots.

This is Underwoods first tour since 2016, a huge two-hour, 60-date monolith of a show in support of last years album Cry Pretty. Reaching UK arenas on Friday, it features a hydraulic stage, multiple costume changes and fearsome pyrotechnics, and it will carry her from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Detroit, Michigan, via the Glastonbury festival this weekend.

The most successful winner of American Idol, triumphing in the TV talent shows fourth season in 2005, Underwood has since recorded six albums, sold over 65m records, won seven Grammys, and earned more than $83m (65m). She is beautiful and blonde, and married to a retired ice hockey player: at first glance an unlikely addition to the Worthy Farm lineup.

Underwood and husband Mike Fisher at the CMT music awards in Nashville this month. Photograph: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

When we meet backstage after the show she is out of her costume but still in her stage makeup teary glitter circles smudged beneath her eyes. I got us wine! she announces from the sofa, pouring a large glass of cabernet sauvignon. This is actually a treat for me because normally I go straight to my bus, and I have a crying baby. Underwoods second son, Jacob, was born in January, and now he, her four-year-old, Isaiah, and her husband, Mike Fisher, have joined her on tour. I actually kicked my husband out of the bed and he sleeps on the couch up front, she says of their onboard sleeping arrangements. Its just a lot easier to wake up in a moving bus and grab the baby and feed him. She says she has puzzled over how to adapt her set for Glastonbury, deciding to largely play the hits, try to keep it eclectic and perhaps bust out an Aerosmith cover.

It must be a strange time for such a quintessentially American artist to be visiting the wider world, especially one who is white, southern and religious. I feel like more people try to pin me places politically, she says carefully. I try to stay far out of politics if possible, at least in public, because nobody wins. Its crazy. Everybody tries to sum everything up and put a bow on it, like its black and white. And its not like that.

She cites as an example the reaction to her recent single The Bullet, which looked at the long-running emotional impact of a shooting death. Immediately people said Oh you have a song about gun control! she sighs. It was more about the lives that were changed by something terrible happening. And it does kind of bug me when people take a song, or take something I said and try to pigeonhole or force me to pick a side or something. Its a discussion a long discussion.

She grew up in small-town Oklahoma, where like most families they kept guns under the bed. We had one stop light, one school, she recalls. Choir, band, football, basketball and baseball. Her parents, a teacher and paper-mill worker, drove her to other small towns in a homemade costume to compete in talent shows. The savings bond I would win wouldnt cover whatever we spent on gas to get there, she remembers.

Carrie Underwood wins American Idol in 2005. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When she was 15, she landed a development deal with a record company and got to record in Nashville, though it came to nothing. I just got my braces off, my acne had cleared up decently but we had no idea what we were doing, she says of herself and her band. She went to college to study communications, joined a theatre group and found for the first time in her life a feeling that this is a safe place, we can sing and its OK here. Apart from the out-of-town talent shows, she had largely kept her voice to herself. I was more guarded with singing anywhere near where I grew up, she explains. Its that fear thing: what will they say? What if they laugh at me?

In 2005 she used her parents dial-up internet to register for American Idol. I thought: why not? she explains. Because then I figured at least the door will be shut and I could stop wondering. I could stop thinking what if? And then I could just come home, and graduate and get a job.

Carrie Underwood in glittery stage makeup. Photograph: Randee St Nicholas

I wonder whether, performing before thousands of people in vast arenas, she still worries about what they might think when shes singing. A lot of times I feel like Im alone, she says. Im obviously aware of people being around me. But its like Im in the song alone on stage. It is a good place. I like to be alone. My husband is probably the only person this planet I couldve married my mom, when I told her I was engaged, was even like I just never really thought youd get married. And so I feel like when Im alone and singing and I hear nothing but music, its a nice place to be.

A recent study found that lately country music has moved away from its familiar subjects of hardship and heartbreak towards party songs. Theres a lot of songs that arent actually saying too much, she says. Fun songs to listen along to; party vibe. She pauses. It makes my skin crawl when I hear somebody say Gurrrl in a song, you know?

Underwood prefers the traditional themes:the woman wronged, the sorrow worn. She will stand looking immaculate in a pretty frock, singing about hard times, being cheated on, drinking, messing up her unfaithfuls car. I hope people know you gotta have a little crazy in ya! she laughs. Ive got long blond hair and I like glitter But theres a little crazy in there, and I like that to come out every once in a while. I went through a phase where I killed a lot of people she mentionsthe Blown Away album in which the body count included Cupid hunted down with a shotgun and an alcoholic father taken out by a tornado. I have no idea why, but I wanted everything to be cinematic and dramatic. This album, things were a little more on the emotional side.

Last autumn, as she launched Cry Pretty, she spoke openly of the experience of suffering three miscarriages in the course of two years, and how that loss coloured many of the new songs, capturing the time when I was still trying to do my job and put on a smiley happy face and be Carrie Underwood. And then Id go home and fall apart.

Watch the video for Cry Pretty

The response to her speaking openly about miscarriage has been deeply moving. Its something that people dont really talk about, she says. Even people who are my friends and I know well, after I talked about it were like, My gosh, me too! And I feel like its something I shouldve known about them.

She takes a moment. I think you feel silly being so attached to something that you knew about for this long, she says, and holds up her fingers a short distance apart. But I still feel it, you know. I mean it took me a while to be able to sing certain songs and be able to get through them without really going there. It doesnt go away. Ever.

Today she finds singing songs such as Cry Pretty and Low difficult but therapeutic. I guess you wait for things to stop hurting at some point, she says gently. But letting yourself go there … other people that are going through the same thing, it kind of connects you to them. I will always mourn those children, those lives that were a shooting star, a breath of smoke, but I have Jacob, and he is incredible, he is the sweetest little baby. At the time it was awful, and it still hurts, but its kind of like OK, I have this.

Big stage she wrote and co-produced her album. Photograph: Ralph Larmann

Underwoods producer, David Garcia, says the number one question she gets asked is whether or not she genuinely writes songs, or does she just show up and Instagram the whole time? Underwood not only writes, she also co-produced this record an anomaly in the male-dominated world of country music. I mean, I get it: if you were a songwriter in Nashville, and 90-plus per cent of artists are male, are you going to go into your writing session and write a song for a woman?

She looks resolute. It doesnt bother me, she says. Ill do it myself. She pours one last glass before she heads to the bus and the crying baby. But we do it all. In high heels. Ill be waking up at God knows what time in the morning feeding my baby no one else can do that, and Im proud of that.

Read more:

Something is clearly going on with your son, and you need to find out what, says Annalisa Barbieri

My son is 12 and on the cusp of puberty. For the last six months, his behaviour towards me and his 15-year-old sister has become oversexualised and inappropriate. This has included making lewd remarks and suggestions to her. He often grabs her, or strokes her hair or arms. He does the same to me, using language that sounds like lyrics from suggestive love songs. When going to and from the bathroom, he exposes himself and makes lewd remarks.

Weve made it clear we dont like it and want him to stop. He laughs and says he didnt mean it. He rarely behaves like this in front of his father (we all live together). He goes to an allboys school and I havent had reports of this there.

Im at the end of my tether. I want to show him, in front of his sister, that his behaviour could be classed as criminal. Ive tried punishments that we use for other poor behaviour. Sometimes this stops him temporarily. In general, he is quite an anxious, angry and unhappy person at home. I monitor his internet access and I havent found evidence he watches porn or adult content. He mostly uses it for gaming.

Teenagers often test the boundaries with their parents, but its not usual for boys to make suggestive sexual comments to female members of the family, and less usual still that they expose themselves. This is the age they tend to become more self-conscious and inhibited so something is clearly going on with your son and you need to find out what.

I contacted Graham Music, a psychotherapist ( who has worked extensively with children and adolescents especially troubled ones and has written several books on the subject.

We both wondered what your husbands reaction to your sons behaviour was whether or not he witnesses it himself? He needs to be more involved than he seems to be. Its important for men to call out inappropriate behaviour in other men, and that starts in the home.

Music said that, often, if children are experiencing something they cannot deal with, they will seek to make others feel what they are feeling. Its as if they are throwing it out there to say, This is what Im dealing with. So the child who feels shame may seek to make others ashamed, the child who feels left out rejects others, and so on. You dont often act out so overtly unless youve been exposed to something thats been overwhelming, explains Music.

You may not have found porn or adult content on his computer, but that does not mean he hasnt been exposed to it. It is likely he will have seen something. He could have seen or heard something via gaming; get more involved (you and your husband) in what he does online, which is best done by showing an interest rather than hectoring.

The fact hes angry and anxious worries me further. Was he always like this? Music asks: How did your son deal with unhappiness as a child?

I would also talk to the school to get a better picture of whats going on there. Is he being bullied, and is he bullying you and his sister in turn? asked Music. Has he recently changed schools?

Music was also interested in the dynamics of your house: Who else lives there, what else is going on there, what are the power dynamics between you and your husband?

There was scant information in your letter and little curiosity about why your son is doing this. The key to stopping it is to understand why hes doing it. It could be sexual urges, said Music, or it could be hes using the sexual as a language to enact something else, like asserting power. How do you generally deal with feelings in the family? Are they allowed or are they buried? Your son might have noticed and enjoyed getting a reaction out of you. But, again, you need to look at why he feels this compulsion.

In the meantime, his behaviour must be addressed and your daughter told she can react to protect herself. Boundaries and authority are essential, says Music, But you and your husband need to set those up together. Try to stop his behaviour and then work out why its happening. Your son needs to understand there are consequences, but you need to make space to think about why hes doing this.

Send your problem to Annalisa regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence

Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure discussion remains on topics raised by the writer. Please be aware there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.

Read more: