Fight for the Safety of Children and Women

Each and every one of us tends to have an innate desire to preserve the innocence of children, regardless of our differences in terms of personal identity. However, there has been a longstanding debate over the exact age at which children should be able to make their own decisions. Although this remains indefinite across the world, nations have had to come to their own conclusions in the process of setting a legal age of sexual consent. The consequence of a lack thereof is apparent in recent cases. Four months ago, the alleged rapist of an eleven-year-old girl was exonerated from rape charges. The absence of elements such as violence, threat, surprise and constraint ultimately led to the thirty-year-old man’s discharge.

With the implementation of France’s new policy towards setting the legal age of sexual consent at fifteen-years-old, sexual contact with anyone under that age will be convicted with rape charges, regardless of context; Children are never in the position to give consent. This move is supported by Marlene Schiappa, the Equality Minister, following the advice of legal professionals. This is an extremely uplifting news seeing as these offenders could only be accused of sexual abuse of a minor instead of rape prior to this. At worst, they could only be forced to serve a five-year sentence, in addition to an $87,000 penalty. That is the same punishment for both minors and legal adults. That leaves room for plenty of alleged rapist to break free. Those who are behind such horrific acts deserve a far more punitive consequence.

 “Setting a legal age of sexual consent would allow a collective awareness and that everyone would see what was legal and illegal,” quoting Agnès Buzyn, the Minister of Solidarity and Health in Le Figaro, the French newspaper reports.

Even the current fixed age seems too young in comparison to Cyprus, who has set their legal age of sexual consent at seventeen-years-old. Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal, on the other hand, have set their age at fourteen-years-old. Furthermore, France had some uncertainty regarding the exact age, be it thirteen or fifteen. In that period of time, many activist organizations that supports the cause of fighting violence against children were pushing for the higher age, reaffirmed by the Equality Minister and President Emmanuel Macron.

All of the aforementioned components concerning sexual assault policies are awaiting the government’s approval in the coming weeks. A separate case that incriminated a twenty-eight-year-old man with sexual assault charges have had some changes recently. The victim was initially described as “not physically forced to have sex” but the change in policy have decided that it is indeed, rape. With varying legal age of consent across the world, ranging from thirteen to eighteen, how do we determine when children have the ability to make the right judgements?

Perhaps we should focus on improving the safety of these women (and men) by eliminating the callous criminals. In the meantime, we can only attempt to do so through the platform of legal proceedings. Children and women should be able to feel safe in their environments as well as everybody else. Legal age or otherwise, children will eventually reach the consented age but that still does not ensure that no harm will come in their way. As a matter of fact, sexual assault is a usual occurrence on the streets of France as well. Findings have revealed that one in every eight French females has been sexually assaulted before. Hence, new plans for anti-street harassment policy are vital to the safety of women in France.

Further updates will be posted when it is announced.

Featured Image via Flickr/wp paarz

Evenflo Unveils a New Car That Can Prevent Hot Car Deaths

The highways witness several car accidents quite frequently. There are so many reasons why such mishaps occur, mainly because of driving under the influence, speeding, freak accidents, road-blocks and more.

One major reason for deaths in cars is when babies are accidentally locked in. If everything cannot be controlled on the road, at least the condition of one’s automobile can be maintained well enough to avoid deaths of little ones that can be easily avoided.

Evenflo has come up with a new technology that can be embedded in cars which will avoid hot car deaths. The product will be sold at Walmart for $150 and will be a lifesaver. The features will include a sensor-safe technology that will emit a signal when the car’s seat is still in use even with the ignition off.

The seat sensor will emit a sound once the keys have been removed from the ignition to remind the parents that there is still a child in the car.

After an invention like that, hopefully there will be no more lives lost of the children left behind in cars. The device will soon be available on the Walmart website and in the stores as well.

Image: Via Evenflo

Parents Complain About McDonald’s Happy Meal Minion Toy

Even to this day, one of the most exciting things about a happy meal is the toy at the bottom of the carton. However old one may be the toy is actually the happiest part of the meal.

Usually, the toys that feature during the month in the meal are promotional for whatever kiddie flicks are currently releasing.

This time with the release of the minion’s movie, McDonald’s has decided to give out a few variants of minion toys. When these toys are tapped, they speak in the infamous “Minionese” language that the fictional creatures use to communicate.

However, these toys have left a few parents absolutely outraged. Apparently when one of the toy variants is tapped, it sounds like they say the “F” word.

Lisa McComb who is a spokesperson for McDonald’s has said,

“Minions speak ‘Minionese,’ which is a random combination of many languages and nonsense words and sounds. We’re aware of a very small number of customers who have been in touch regarding this toy, and we apologize for any confusion or offense to those who may have interpreted the sounds for anything other than gibberish. [But] the allegation that this toy is saying any offensive phrase is not true.”

McComb profoundly described the situation by saying,

“The Minion Caveman Happy Meal toy includes three phrases: ‘para la bukay,’ ‘hahaha,’ and ‘eh eh.’ Any perceived similarities to actual English words are purely coincidental.”

Boehner Gives Obama Ultimatum

Speaker John Boehner has issued an ultimatum to President Obama. Boehner proposes for the president to either support reforms to toughen border controls or face the possibility that no money will be allocated for dealing with the humanitarian crisis involving child migrants from Central America.

Boehner wants Obama to lean Democrats toward changing a bipartisan 2008 anti-trafficking law that prohibits U.S. officials from quickly returning migrating children who are not from Mexico or Canada to their countries of origin.

In a letter to President Obama, he wrote, “Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law.”

President Obama suggested spending $3.7 billion in an emergency fund proposal that would accelerate the processing of more than 57,000 child migrants that have flooded the immigration system within the past few months. The funds would be used to build housing for the children and send in new judges to speed up the decision between offering children asylum and sending them home. The final proposal, presented by Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara McKulski, brought down Obama’s number to $2.7 billion. Boehner suggests $1.5 billion in funding for the border crisis.

The call for action from Boehner comes with time pressure as well; Congress is only six working days away from adjourning for a five-week recess. The idea of border-state lawmakers leaving Washington for the recess without making any progress on the 2008 law is bad news for Boehner and all those in support of border control reform.

In June, Obama’s administration expressed their openness to changing the law, but Democratic leaders expressed their disapproval of the change. Even if the Democrats make progress with consideration of the proposal within a few weeks, they will almost certainly face a filibuster from Senate Republicans that are intent of having the 2008 law changed.


Amazon Sued for Unauthorized App Purchases by Children

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued online retailer Amazon Thursday, July 10, over children’s in-app purchases on Kindle Fire and other devices.

According to USA Today, the FTC filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, charging that Amazon intentionally let children make unauthorized purchases within apps that added up to millions of dollars on mobile devices without parental consent. The in-app purchases, usually items that are offered within mobile games that enhance a game or help users to advance levels, ranged from 99 cents to $99 per consumer.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, said parents kept unwillingly receiving these bills costing hundreds of dollars.

“We are seeking this money back for consumers as well as an order preventing the company from billing consumers without their permission in the future,” Rich said.

The Washington Post reported that the FTC said there are no password requirements to prevent children from buying virtual items in the apps. It said Amazon violated the FTC act by charging parents for their children’s purchases without permission.

“Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission,” Edith Ramirez, FTC chairwoman, said. “Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created.”

An Amazon spokeswoman said the lawsuit was “deeply disappointing,” and the retailer has improved its app store process since it was launched in 2011.



Netflix is Bringing Back The Magic School Bus Series!

All hail Netflix. Just when you thought you couldn’t love Netflix anymore, they announce that they are bringing back your all-time favorite childhood science series, “The Magic School Bus.”

According to The New York Times, Netflix will be streaming 26 half-our installments of the new and improved, “The Magic School Bus 360°” with more modern animation and with brand new concepts. Like in the old versions, episodes will follow the science teacher, Ms. Frizzle and her class on their fun flying field trip adventures.

The fan-favorite children’s program was originally a Scholastic book series and was then made into a TV series that first broadcast in 1994 on PBS. The fun, educational show was longest-running children’s science program, shown in 39 countries according to Scholastic.

Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos remarks on the program in The New York Times, stating that “[p]arents trust it and kids love it,” adding that the new adaptation will be “even more relevant and entertaining for today’s kids.”

The president of Scholastic Media, Deborah Forte asserts that the educational show simulates “the process of learning science through collaboration and experimentation and discovery through active learning.”

Be sure to look out for the new series in 2016.







Photo: Early concept art for “The Magic School Bus 360°,” a new animated series from Scholastic Media that Netflix will begin showing in 2016. Credit: Scholastic Media


Unsafe Conditions for U.S. Tobacco Farming Children

If you thought that child labor only happened in places like China then it’s time to think again. Human Rights Watch, an international rights group, has recently released a report that legally employed children on U.S. tobacco farms are not being treated properly. Some farmers have workers as young as seven working in the fields, and more often than not come into contact with leaves heavy in nicotine and pesticides. The watch group wants Big Tobacco to push stricter safety standards on all farms they associate with. The report detailed that there are at least 140 children working on farms in the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

One of the main issues the report takes aim at is the longer hours that child labor laws allow. The law permits parents to give permission to children as young as twelve and they are allowed to work as many hours as demanded outside of school. Some kids have report nausea, vomiting, and severe headaches. These are symptoms commonly associated with nicotine poisoning. And it’s not because they’ve been smoking too much tobacco. They received no overtime pay, very little break time, and were not provided any protective gear. Erick Garcia, 17, was one of the children interviewed for the report and said that he had been working in the tobacco fields since he was 11. When asked about his days on the farm he was quoted as saying, “The conditions were inhumane.”

Senator Paul Hornback from Kentucky stated that he began working in the fields when he was 10. He now owns 100 acres and while he keeps his workers safe, he doesn’t think stricter guidelines are necessary. This shouldn’t be a surprising answer. The tobacco industry puts loads of money into the political sphere. Greater restrictions and more protective gear translates to Big Tobacco as more money that they have to spend. Children should not be allowed anywhere near a tobacco farm. Their whole lives we tell them that tobacco will kill them but then we turn around and tell them to spend years picking its leaves? There’s the real solution to the problem.