This all started innocently enough. Here I was, reading on the facts for an exam next week and suddenly, during my break the news on David Beckham passes by. Now, personally I do not care about him (no offense intended). He is a soccer player, and I am not much of a soccer fan, so I was about to click next when the title hit me ‘‘No right to criticise’: David Beckham hits back at Daily Mail coverage’, which is funny on two parts, the first that someone gives any consideration to the Daily Mail is funny enough, especially when ‘Still in the honeymoon phase! Michelle Keegan flaunts her long legs in stripy mini-dress as she goes hand-in-hand with husband Mark Wright in LA‘ is considered headline news. The second reason is that this is about a child (yes, a small non-grown up individual) using a dummy.
And the by-line is ‘Experts warn David and Victoria Beckham’s little girl….‘, giving plenty of hilarious consideration as the ‘expert’ either knows all the facts (as a consultant of the parent) and as such he/she has broken all kinds of ethical standards, or the person (in the article named as Clare Byam-Cook) is not entirely aware of the massive lack of data she should have before speaking. Consider the Facts (at http://www.contentedbaby.com/team-Clare-Byam-Cook.htm), she is 49, she is a qualified nurse and ‘retired’ from being a midwife in 1985, which is 30 (yes THIRTY) years ago, so 49-30 is? She retired from being a midwife at the age of 19! Can anyone explain her ‘expertise’ to me? If she retired in 2015, there would be expertise, but that is not the case according to the facts. In addition, it seems to me that she could not have all the facts, so why the warning?
I know life in the NHS is hard, but if you can afford to retire at 19, she must have done something (not sure what).
So what is going on?
Well, for that we need to take a look at the Instagram of David Beckham. Here he states: “Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts?? Everybody who has children knows that when they aren’t feeling well or have a fever you do what comforts them best and most of the time it’s a pacifier so those who criticize think twice about what you say about other people’s children because actually you have no right to criticize me as a parent“.
Well, I do not have kids, so I would not know, but I was a kid once and when we feel truly bad we tend to become nightmares and as I see it, the little princess got something from daddy that made her feel a little better, so what is the issue? And it seems to me that an instance is not a pattern, an event is not an overwhelming ‘danger’ to the speech of anyone. Yet the Daily Mail needs to get another page with David Beckham on it and as they tend to be clueless on the best of days, this would constitute some level of Journalism. So let’s take another look.
“After about three months, most babies should not need a comforter” is a quote here. Really? If I remember correctly babies start teething at 6 months and I believe that parents will really lose sleep without the pacifier (not Vin Diesel, but that sucking toy). I took a sidestep towards ‘Parenting and Children’s health‘ (at http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=122&id=1736#8), where I found “Children need the comforter most between about 1 and 3 years of age, before they have learned to feel safe when their parent is not there“. There is a lot more interesting stuff there, but this one applies really nicely, because it applies to Jonathan Harmsworth, 4th Viscount Rothermere and key owner of the Daily Mail! You see, this child is under constant barrage of paparazzi’s and Journo’s (or people calling themselves that) and as such children feel distress, so lacing your paper with recriminations on ‘what a child needs‘ whilst your own media engine could be instrumental in causing distress is like ‘the hack calling the advice of the quack’ (there was a reference to pot, kettle and colour, but I forgot the specifics, all semantics anyway).
So, instead of digging into anything truly newsworthy, we get more invasion of the Beckham’s. Can’t they get a relaxed day with their little one?
Which gets me to me! Why am I picking this up? Well apart from the Guardian siding ever so slightly with David B. We see this quote “Beckham’s Instagram post had been liked more than 404,000 times by Monday evening and attracted more than 12,000 comments, including a large degree of support for his stance” giving us the goods on support, but no one looked at the ‘retired’ midwife herself. She remains casually quoted. I have a partial issue with that, especially after finding more than one ‘health’ source opposing her view.
I do keep a cautious stance regarding some of the health sites, mainly because I have no medical training and I am also not a parent (I am on the other hand one hell of a Medici).
Yet, if I can find these elements so easily, why can’t the Daily Mail do any actual reporting? You see, when we consider “News reports are found in newspapers and their purpose is to inform readers of what is happening in the world around them” we can contemplate that a page was ‘wasted’ on the use of a dummy (read pacifier). Whilst the article is opposed by the health site as it states “As the child gets older and she is able to feel more secure inside herself, she will need the comforter less and it will gradually fall into disuse. It is important for the child to have control over this“, countering more than one statement in the article. In addition there is “If a child still clings to the comforter by school age, it is important to ask what it is that is making the child worried, rather than to take the comforter away“, countering more statements the article makes. Finally there is “It is best for children if they can give up their comforter when they are ready, not when other people think they should“, which takes the cake against statements like “The NHS Choices website recommends parents ‘should avoid using dummies after 12 months of age’ to prevent speech development problems“, I cannot judge this, but several sources have no issues with a dummy being used until she is three, debunking the bulk of all claims. In addition, children do not get permanent teeth until they are 6, until that time they have baby teeth (or milk teeth).
So, as a non-parent, I was able to debunk most of the article, which now just reads like a bad piece of a paper having a go at the Beckham’s. Yet, there is a light in all this, you see, all the information I saw from several sources leave the clear indication “Children use comforters most when they are worried, or afraid, or tired“, if we can prove stress, than it is in view of the court to make it clear that paparazzi and press are a danger to the mental health of a child, which means that no less than 100 meters distance from the child should be kept (which is for a judge to decide). Wouldn’t it be nice that the kids of Beckham will enter an age of privacy only because the Daily Mail ignored basic Journalism?
It’s almost Wednesday! What a lovely day it could be!