ItemChildLinks Issue 3: Children and the Digital World(Barnardos, 2018) BarnardosThis issue of ChildLinks considers the digital environment and the impact it has on childhood and on family life. Digital technology is increasingly present in our daily experiences from communication to sharing photos, managing finances, booking holidays, and accessing entertainment and education. From birth, babies are now ‘digital natives’, continually exposed to media-rich, digital environments and actively engaged in the use of technology as part of everyday life. This prevalence of technology brings with it both extensive opportunity and areas of potential concern as the impact of digital technology on the cognitive, social and emotional development of children is still largely unknown. In the first article in this issue, Edel Quinn from the Children’s Rights Alliance explores a child rights framework as a mechanism to enhance safety and privacy online through policies and supports, and the importance of involving children in this process. Parents too are impacted by the increased use of technology in family life and need constructive ways they can support their children, whatever their age. Cliona Curley, Programme Director of CyberSafe Ireland, highlights the risks children face online such as cyberbullying, loss of privacy, potential abuse of personal data, exposure to harmful content and grooming, and what parents can do to keep their children safe. Julia Buchanan of Barnardo’s Northern Ireland then gives information about a recent research project which aimed to gain an understanding of parents’ and infants’ use of digital technology in everyday home life and how this may impact on parent-infant interactions, identifying the areas in which parents of infants could benefit from additional support. Finally, Mira Dobutowitsch of Maynooth University outlines a study that examined the types of screen time children are engaging with, parental attitudes and concerns, perceived challenges, and the strategies that parents adopt to navigate decision-making around screen time. Elsewhere in this issue, Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist Colman Noctor explores the relationship between technology, expectation, desire and vulnerability. He proposes a need to develop a media and emotional literacy to enable us to hold onto our own value systems and not have those dictated to by companies who want to sell us things and keep us distracted. Also in this issue, Sandra O’Neill from the Institute of Education, Dublin City University explores the potential use of technology in early learning and care, outlining the challenges including the appropriate and intentional selection, use, integration and evaluation of any technology. She also considers how, when it is used intentionally, technology can enhance children’s interests and enable discovery, discussion and motivation to learn. In another article, Chloe Beatty and Suzanne Egan from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick consider the impact of screen engagement on children’s vocabulary development and highlight the importance of considering the impact of different aspects of screen use on a child’s development. Currently in Ireland, work is underway on a new Online Safety Act to improve online safety, setting a clear expectation for service providers to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the users of their service. This should go some way to ensure that children can be better protected online. ItemChildLinks Issue 2: Diverse Families(Barnardos, 2018) BarnardosThe introduction of the Child and Family Relationships Act in 2015 represented a transformation in the legal recognition of families in Ireland. The Act modernised family law in a way that is inclusive of and sensitive to the reality of contemporary family life in Ireland and meets the needs of children living in diverse family types. It put children at the heart of family law, extending parental rights and responsibilities to non-traditional families, thereby providing legal clarity around various family types and addressing discrimination faced by children in non-marital families. This issue of ChildLinks looks at this diversity in family types in modern Ireland. In the first article, Jane Gray, Department of Sociology and Social Sciences Institute, Maynooth University looks at the long-term patterns of change in Irish families, including decreasing fertility rates, a rise in cohabiting couples, the ‘de-institutionalisation’ of marriage and an increase in the interest in extended family relationships and practices beyond the household. Karen Kiernan then gives an overview of the organisation One Family who work with women and men who are parenting completely alone, those who are working to share parenting of their children, those who are going through the long and complex journey of separation, family members of all those including grandparents, new partners and step-parents as well as with children from birth to adulthood. In the third article, Caitríona Nic Mhuiris shares her experience as a kinship carer and considers the benefits and challenges of this important role of caring for children who cannot be looked after by their birth parents because of death, parental separation, substance abuse, domestic violence, imprisonment, illness, and abandonment. She includes information on the plans for Kinship Care Ireland, a development involving those with an interest in parenting and family support to raise awareness of kinship care within the health, education and social care systems, and to develop comprehensive supports for kinship care into the future. Following this is an overview of The Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA), the child-centred and rights-based representative body for foster care in Ireland. IFCA promotes excellence in foster care for all those involved and works to influence policy, legislation and opinion through advocacy work. Finally, Paula Fagan of LGBT Ireland sets out the current situation in relation to legal rights and protections for same sex parents, and those planning parenthood, and highlights the main difficulties facing LGBT-headed families as a result. ItemChildLinks Issue 1:Trauma(Barnardos, 2018) BarnardosThis issue of ChildLinks look at how trauma can impact on children’s daily life and their ability to function and interact with others. Children who are exposed to traumatic events may experience a wide range of consequences that can include intense and ongoing emotional distress and behavioural problems, difficulties with attention, academic failure, problems with sleep or illness. Interventions where young children and their families learn about the impact of trauma and what they can do about it can support children to develop the skills they need to be resilient no matter what adversity comes their way. These skills can truly change the trajectory of the life of the child and the family. The first article in this issue looks at the work of the leading federal initiative focused on child trauma in the US, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The NCTSN aims to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatised children, their families and communities by raising public awareness of the scope and serious impact of child traumatic stress on the safety and healthy development of children; advancing a range trauma-informed, developmentally and culturally appropriate programmes that improve the standard of care; working with established systems of care to ensure that there is a comprehensive trauma-informed continuum of accessible care; and fostering a community dedicated to collaboration within and beyond the NCTSN to ensure that widely shared knowledge and skills become a sustainable national resource. The articles that follow look at how traumatic events like bereavement, domestic abuse and refugee status can have long term impacts for children. The first of these outlines the evaluation of the TLC Kidz Programme, a multi-agency, group programme for children and mothers recovering from domestic abuse. Next, Brid Carroll from the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network outlines how bereavement in childhood can have long-term consequences for children and considers how the needs of bereaved Irish children can be identified and addressed as early as possible to prevent long term trauma. The two articles that follow focus on refugee and asylum-seeking children, who are ten times more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder compared to their non refugee peers. Robin Balbernie, Child Psychotherapist and Clinical Director of PIP UK, then considers intergenerational trauma and the cycle of negative caregiving. Sometimes the traumatic experiences of the one generation live on to affect the generation that follows but relationship based interventions can help to break this cycle. The final article in this issue outlines the Trauma Smart® (TS) model in the US, which is designed to support very young children, and the adults who care for them, with hands on, practical tools and effective strategies to help children to learn to express their emotions in a healthy way that prepares them for social and academic success.