+

I was on a mission to buy sparkly blue eyeshadow with my babysitting money.  

I was in the sixth grade. I thought sparkly blue eyeshadow was cool. But most notably, nobody batted an eye at a 12-year-old babysitting or walking alone half a mile to the drug store.

Fast-forward 30 years and a totally typical scenario from my latchkey childhood feels risky — at least to some people.


Parents have been arrested for letting their school-aged children play in parks alone, CPS has intervened when kids were found walking alone, and some parents have even had the authorities called on them for letting their kids play alone in their own yards.  

This kind of “helicopter neighboring” sounds way over the top to a certain kind of old-school parent. To others, though, it may seem perfectly reasonable to be concerned about children walking around unsupervised.

Utah is the first state to put its foot down and legally allow kids to get a little free-range.

In March, Gov. Gary Herbert signed the “free-range parenting” bill into law after it passed unanimously in the Utah House and Senate. Going into effect on May 8, the Republican-sponsored bill limits the definition of child neglect, exempting various activities children can engage in safely without being supervised by an adult.

The Utah State Capitol building. Photo by George Frey/Getty Images.

The law allows for “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities … ” Such activities include letting children “walk, run or bike to and from school, travel to commercial or recreational facilities, play outside and remain at home unattended.“

What a “sufficient age“ might be isn’t specified, leaving the judgment to individual families.

The basis of the law is that parents shouldn’t be punished for letting their kids experience childhood.

The bills co-sponsor, Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, told ABC News:

“Kids need to wonder about the world, explore and play in it, and by doing so learn the skills of self-reliance and problem-solving they’ll need as adults. As a society, we’ve become too hyper about ‘protecting’ kids and then end up sheltering them from the experiences that we took for granted as we were kids. I sponsored SB65 so that parents wouldn’t be punished for letting their kids experience childhood.”

Lenore Skenazy signing her book “Free Range Kids.” Photo via Elizabeth/Flickr.

The term “free-range parenting” used by the bill comes from a relaxed parenting style made famous by New York mother Lenore Skenazy.

In 2009, when her son was 9 years old, Skenazy let him take the subway home by himself, setting off a firestorm of both criticism and praise. She wrote a book, “Free Range Kids,” defending her encouragement of her children’s independence.

Now, clearly not all parents would feel comfortable letting their 9-year-old use public transportation in a major city by themselves. I know I wouldn’t have — nor would any of my kids have even wanted to at that age.

But I do shoo my children outside to play without worry.

The pendulum swing toward helicopter parenting appears to be swinging back, which is (probably) a good thing.

The 24/7 news cycle and virality of social media stories have created a sense of paranoia in parents — and society at large — when it comes to kids and safety. I’ve never been one to wax nostalgic about the “good old days” of my childhood, but in this particular area, I do think we’ve become a little ridiculous.

I mean, calling the authorities when you see a child playing in their own backyard?

[rebelmouse-image 19346768 dam="1" original_size="700x400" caption="Photo by Nicolas Michaud/Flickr." expand=1]Photo by Nicolas Michaud/Flickr.

The fact is that American kids as a whole are actually statistically safer now than at any time in our history. We may hear more scary stories, but that’s due to the nature of technology, not the nature of the world. It’s OK for kids to walk to school, play at the park, or stay home on their own whenever parents and kids decide that they’re responsible and ready for it.

Perhaps others states should follow Utah’s lead so that parents, who know their kids better than anyone else, can feel comfortable loosening up the apron strings a bit. And hopefully nosy neighbors will catch a clue from it as well and stop calling CPS every time they see a school-aged child unattended.

If we want our kids to learn to fly, we have to allow to them to stretch their wings — and we should be able to do that without worrying about getting in trouble for it.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less