Instagram Likes

Big winners and losers of Instagram removing ‘likes’

It’s happened. Instagram has removed the counter that shows how many ‘likes’ our posts are receiving.

And so far, the reaction is… resoundingly positive.

This may seem trivial, but it’s actually such a big deal that even Time magazine is covering it!

It’s only being rolled out in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand so far – Canada got de-liked a few months ago – and it’s apparently a ‘trial’ at this stage. It’s designed to see if hiding the amount of likes a post gets will help remove some of the toxicity and competition that dominates the platform.

This is such a brilliant step in the right direction as it’s going to work towards cutting that self-esteem/self-worth feedback loop that is so intrinsically tied to the popularity of our posts.

No matter how confident or self-assured you are as a person, it’s very hard to completely divorce yourself from the seductive, quantifiable feeling that a “popular” post gives you.

So imagine how hard it is to process social media if you’re not confident or self-assured… or, for instance, you’re an impressionable teenager?

As personal trainer James Smith, who has a massive Insta following of almost 400k, pointed out: “There are teenagers who post [and] then delete the post if it doesn’t hit a certain amount of likes in a certain timeframe and quite frankly, that’s f*cked… Posts should be based on the impression it could leave for someone else, not how many double taps or likes it get.”

The big winners here are, obviously, those of us who don’t enjoy that sinking feeling of despair when a post doesn’t resonate and gets limited likes.

The big losers are going to be “influencers”, who feed off massive likes in order to boost their brand.

It reminds me of when Facebook changed their algorithms to prioritise embedded content, rather than outward links; thousands of businesses lost traffic overnight, and with it their hefty revenue streams.

Instagram influencers may be set to suffer the same fate. “I’m here to run a business [and] they’re taking a tool away that’s really important for us,” laments Perth influencer Jem Wolfie.

This could be the case. But at the end of the day, Instagram is meant to be about sharing and adding value to our lives – so removing some of the more toxic elements can only be a good thing.

Petrol Pumps

Petrol prices jump 40c as school holidays end

Can somebody – anybody – explain how the setting of petrol prices works in this country?!

Yesterday as my family and I returned to the Gold Coast from a short staycation over the border in the northern NSW coast, I noticed that petrol prices were sky high. They hovered between $1.55 and $1.60 per litre – until we crossed the border, that is, and they dropped sharply to just $1.25.

I made a mental note to fill up on the school run this morning. And that’s precisely what I did, pulling into a Caltex at 9am, where I scored ¾ of a tank of fuel for $1.215 per litre.

As I walked back to my car, the ink on my receipt barely dry, I noticed that the price per litre being advertised on the massive street signage had changed. In the time it took for me to walk inside and pay, it had leapt to $1.635 per litre.

It had jumped a whopping 42c per litre!

I double-checked my receipt, which confirmed I had filled my car’s belly with 43 litres of E10 at the cheaper price.

Multiply 43 litres by 42c and that’s a difference of $18!

I thought of the friendly checkout operator who had just served me; She’s about to cop an earful, I thought.

I understand, in basic terms, that petrol prices rise and fall based on supply and demand and global market prices for crude oil.

I don’t understand how a switch can be flicked and fuel can become more than 30% more expensive, just like that.

I’m clearly not the first person to be perplexed by this.

A quick google search reveals a statement from the government, which offers a vague explanation: “International prices for petrol, as with other commodities freely traded on the world market, are set by supply and demand factors, rather than production costs.”

It also states that gross margins in the fuel game run at only 3 or 4 cents a litre.

It’s all a little too complicated for this basic brain to comprehend.

For anyone smarting because they missed the discount fuel, this ACCC guide might help you strategise for a better deal next time.

School Uniform

UK schools adopt “gender neutral” uniforms

Well, this is going to raise some eyebrows.

Schools in Wales in the United Kingdom will soon allow boys to wear skirts and girls to wear pants in a gender neutral uniform shake-up.

The move comes after a couple of schools took the drastic action of actually banning girls from wearing skirts to class.

Welsh Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said the new uniform policy is being introduced as a cost-cutting measure as much as an opportunity for all children to have more freedom and autonomy on the playground, as feedback from parents revealed they are shelling out upwards of $500 per year in uniform costs.

“Families will know how expensive new uniforms can be. This guidance puts a statutory responsibility on schools to consider the affordability, access and availability when setting their school uniform and appearance policy,” Williams says.

The policy is designed to “help reduce the burden on families, so our children can focus on fulfilling their potential and enjoying a healthy academic and social life”, she adds.

“We should not be enforcing outdated ideas of what clothes are suitable for their gender, especially if it makes them wear something they feel uncomfortable wearing,” Williams says.

“This new guidance makes clear that school uniform policies should not dictate items of clothing based on gender.”

As a mother of two girls who wear the traditional plaid school uniform – I couldn’t cheer any harder for this policy.

Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot and focuses on the part that says “boys can now wear skirts to school”, lets drill down to the real benefit of this: girls can wear pants and shorts.

This means they can run, jump, climb, play sports, and do all of the other things the boys in the playground are doing, without worrying about their skirt climbing up and showing off their knickers.

Studies have shown that restrictive school uniforms can hamper girls’ participation in sports, with one piece of research showing that the amount of exercise girls did increased significantly when they were allowed to wear their sports uniforms.

So, I’m all for a gender neutral school uniform policy. But what do you think? Is this a great idea and we should follow suit in Australia – or should we leave things exactly as they are?

Earring

Does this make me a bad mum – or the best mum?

My daughter wants to get her ears pierced. She’s been asking for them for years, but my rule has always been: when you’re old enough to take care of them yourself (aftercare/being careful taking clothes off etc), then you’re old enough to get them done.

She’s 8 now. She makes her own toast, Band-Aids her own ouchies and unstacks the dishwasher with ease. Therefore, I figure, she’s old enough to cope with managing some pierced ears.

So off we went to Skin Candy at Robina Town Centre, where we discovered you could book two consultants for an extra $10. The purpose: they can shoot both ears at once, meaning your little princess (or prince) only has to go through the emotional experience of having their ears pierced once.

“Great idea!” my husband said.

“No way!” I said.

My husband looked at me, confused. “Why not?”

Here’s my reasoning…

Getting your ears pierced is not all that painful. A little sting, a little bite. A small ache for half an hour afterwards. Then it’s done and dusted, and you get to experience the joy and pleasure of having pierced ears forever.

It’s a small rite of passage and the way I see it, it’s one of a number of little manageable “pains” my kids might experience as they journey towards adulthood.

The thing is, I don’t want my children to grow up looking for the shortcuts. For the easy way out. For the opportunities to side-step the pain and dive straight into the good stuff. I want them to develop grit and resilience, and experience the pure joy and satisfaction of pushing through something difficult and getting to the other side!

Which is why I explained to my girl: “You can get your ears pierced right now if you like! But you have to get them done one ear at a time. Sometimes in life, you have to go through a brief bit of pain in order to get to the good stuff. Plus, we don’t want to waste $10 just to save 5 seconds of time, right?”

Luckily, she got it. And she decided to go through with it.

There were some tears and some anxiety, but when it was all over with, she beamed with pride. And so did I.

What do you think? Am I a mean mum and I should have opted for a double consultant – or would you do the same thing in my shoes?

Hands Fist

Ugly viral trend: “Punching” toys to encourage kids to eat

Anyone who has children knows how soul-crushing mealtimes can be.

It’s messy and exhausting and frustrating and as parents and caregivers we can be pushed to the ends of our tether when trying to get nourishing food into their tiny little tummies.

The struggle is real. I get it.

We’ve all been driven to do questionable things in this setting. I, for one, will admit to bribery on multiple occasions. Trade offs, if you will… “If you eat two more bites of your chicken you get a marshmallow!”

This, I’m aware, is not ideal.

But this new trend of “punching toys” to encourage your child to eat is taking things to the next degree. It’s just plain wrong on so many levels.

It goes like this:

Offer baby food. Baby refuses.

Pick up cuddly toy and offer it food. Cuddly toy also shakes their head “no.”

So the next step is… violently punch the toy in the head.

The implication to the child is clear: don’t eat the food and you’ll get punched in the head.

In one video, which has been viewed almost 17 million times, a toddler of about 15 months is shown watching as his beloved Mickey Mouse toy is punched in the head for not eating his food.

The child twigs on pretty quickly that he doesn’t want to endure the same fate, so when he’s offered food again, he eats it. The confusion and hurt on the little baby’s face is honestly heartbreaking!

Clinical counsellor and psychotherapist Julie Sweet confirms to 10Daily: “The impact of doing this to a child is possibly detrimental. This trend could be interpreted as fear-based and may be traumatising… Both fear and trauma are not conducive in creating a secure attachment between the primary care giver and child.”

In this particular video the child’s uncle, featured in the footage, says it was all in good fun and the little boy was never in any danger – which is probably true.

But the lesson that this child is subconsciously being taught is really quite frightening. The bottom line is, the caregiver is using the threat of violence as a tool of coercion. Even though the adult knows they would never follow through with that threat, the child doesn’t know this.

Marshmallows may be packed with unhealthy sugar, but I think I’ll stick with the sweet approach for now and leave this “trend” well alone.