Four Ways To Create a More Inclusive Workplace

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If diversity means celebrating our differences we must respect and value a balanced range of perspectives and ensure we have a range of different voices in our team that are equally supported and heard.

Corporate culture, like many other parts of our patriarchal societies, have been designed with the lived experience of straight, white men in mind. But what about the rest of us? What efforts can we each make to turn our offices into environments where all professionals, regardless of their background, can flourish? Here are four ways to make work more inclusive:

1. Take stock of the identities that dominate your office

Research shows our lived experiences shape everything from how we think about the world to our motivations and cultural behaviours. Is there a particular type of person that’s well represented across the leadership team and beyond? If so, how could that dominant identity group impact company culture and views?

What risk is there that certain perspectives represented amongst your customer or client base are being missed due to your team make up? Spark up conversations with your team about whose voices matter to your work but are not represented in the team. Think of ways to expand your community and outreach to include these voices.

2. Recognize where you have privilege and therefore blind spots

Professor Michael Kimmel famously said, “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” That means that privilege i.e. unearned advantages we gain through our identity, which we have no choice over, can be difficult to discern unless we actively consider the experiences of other people in our society who don’t share the same opportunities, choices and other advantages we have.

For example, as a cis gender heterosexual woman I have never had to experience the anxiety that comes with using a restroom in public buildings, or fear violence when walking hand in hand with my partner on holiday in exotic countries.

3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Look at the tragic events we’ve witnessed these past few years from the murder of George Floyd to the fatal shooting of Chris Kapa, both at the hands of the police. And let’s not forget the death of Belly Mujinga, who passed away from coronavirus which she contracted after an infected passenger spat at her at the station where she was working.

It is undeniable that our identify has a huge impact on how we navigate the world, and it has a huge impact on how others treat us. This is an uncomfortable truth that we must engage with regularly so we can take action to make the world more fair and equitable. Be willing to challenge racism, and other forms of discrimination wherever you hear them or see them.

4. Focus on your vision of the future

Fighting for equality and fair treatment of all identities takes guts. It’s not easy. The more you become aware of privilege and discrimination, the more you will see it play out in everything from the media, think about toxic headlines in the newspapers, to banter at the office, think of the types of jokes you’ve heard that made you stop and think. What has helped me do the work I do, challenging bias wherever I see it, is focusing on the future.

In the future I want to see more women especially Black women and other women of colour, leading teams and companies and really – doing whatever they want. Without the obstacles they face today. I wish this for all marginalised identities underrepresented at work everywhere.

Abadesi Osunsade is the Founder and CEO of Hustle Crew, a careers community for the underrepresented in tech and a diversity and inclusion consultancy on a mission to make teams more inclusive. Hustle Crew Membership is for anyone who wants to be an inclusion ambassador in their community, with weekly resources and monthly workshops to teach you how to drive change from £12/month. 

By: Niamh McCollum


Niamh McCollum is Features Assistant at Marie Claire UK, and specialises in entertainment, female empowerment, mental health, social development and careers. Tackling both news and features, she’s covered everything from the rise of feminist audio porn platforms to the latest campaigns protecting human rights.

Source: Four ways to create a more inclusive workplace | Marie Claire UK


Critics by University of Massachusetts Global

As you analyze your own company culture, you’re likely wondering if your team has cultivated a positive or negative experience for your employees. If your company has difficulty attracting top talent or exhibits low employee morale, McCusker says these could be signs that your workplace culture needs improvement.

“I absolutely believe you can reverse a negative company culture — however it takes a lot of work, and likely some significant changes,” she adds. “It’s not a project, it’s a movement.”

Creating a positive company culture: 4 Expert tips

McCusker explains that the key to creating a positive work culture is knowing that it cannot be reverse-engineered. What works for one company, she elaborates, can’t be authentically replicated elsewhere. This is because workplace culture is not something that’s owned.

“It is the result of millions of little decisions over the lifetime of a company,” she says. “Because it’s organic, it will quickly change when left untended.”

As you strive to cultivate and maintain a positive culture within your organization, consider the following four pieces of advice from our business experts.

1. Identify your organization’s core values

While there’s no surefire recipe for achieving positivity within your work environment, every organization can benefit by analyzing a few key aspects of its identity. Sam Pardue, CEO and founder of window insert company Indow, highlights three cornerstones of a positive work culture: mission, vision and values. “They are simple, but hard to execute in a credible way,” he says, noting the following about each:

  • Mission provides the intrinsic motivation which makes employees excited to accomplish great things at work.
  • Vision helps them understand the destiny they are helping to create.
  • Values are the ways everyone agrees to work together.

If you hope to build up an employee base that is passionate, engaged and productive, begin by identifying a foundational mission your workers will find exciting.

2. Establish trust by representing those values

Culture coach and consultant Lizz Pellet notes that workplace culture travels from the top down. “Leaders create culture,” she says. “How members of a group take their culture cues is the way they see and perceive how the leader behaves — so what leaders focus on is critical.”

Pellet explains that if an organization’s leadership team is employee-focused, empathetic and authentic, it will send a calming message to employees that their leaders are there for them. That can help keep help improve engagement, productivity and even profitability.

McCusker agrees that cultural representation among leadership teams is crucial: Having a positive culture means seeing leaders at all levels living the values out loud. “It means having an employee experience that, at all touch points, is reflective of the company’s beliefs and values,” she adds.

3. Maintain clear and consistent expectations

One element most all of us need to achieve a sense of harmony is consistency. While teams across industries strive to achieve innovation in their product offerings, predictability is actually something many employees seek in a positive work culture. Pardue says it’s critical that your workers are able to fully grasp what’s expected of them.

“Employees want to know what the rules are, and that they will be enforced equally and in a predictable way,” he offers. “Unpredictability in management actions causes contempt and distrust — and ultimately destroys the culture.”

McCusker agrees that maintaining expectations at every level is essential. “I once heard a CEO say that if you are not willing to fire your top performing employee over behavior that is inconsistent with the culture, then your culture is not very strong and you do not truly believe in it.”

4. Ensure your employees feel valued

Creating a positive work culture isn’t simply about workplace happy hours and catered Friday lunches, notes senior partner at Partners in Leadership Jared Jones. “Real culture is rooted in an employee’s daily experiences, which in turn shape their beliefs,” he says. “These beliefs inform their actions, and actions lead to results.”

One survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that over 90 percent of employees who feel valued at work say they’re more motivated to do their best. That drops to just 33 percent among employees who don’t feel valued by their employers.

“Companies led by executives who create positive experiences by consistently offering and asking for constructive feedback, recognizing employees’ efforts during company meetings and even just saying ‘thank you’ on a regular basis lay the groundwork for a positive workplace culture,” Jones explains. He adds that the more employees see this type of behavior, the more valued and connected to the organization’s goals they’ll feel.

Build a positive workplace culture

Investing in your organization’s wellbeing calls for an honest assessment of your company ethos. Take time to analyze what’s working and what isn’t. Then, let the insight from our business experts guide you in creating a positive work culture that can support your organization’s future success.

Once you lay a good foundation, it might feel like the sky’s the limit. You can learn to harness that energy and funnel it into positive results from the beginning by setting goals that are both challenging and attainable. Learn more by reading our article, “How to measure organizational performance: The secret to effective goal setting.”


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Spot The Signs: 7 Signs You’re In An Abusive Relationship

One third of women worldwide have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. And in England and Wales, two women are killed by their current or former partner every week. The rates of abuse are alarming, and due to the current cost of living crisis, they are expected to get worse, with concerns that financial difficulty and economic abuse will further trap victims in abusive relationships.

When we think of the signs of an abusive relationship, bruised skin and broken bones often come to mind, but that isn’t always the case as Sandra Horley, CEO of Refuge explained in her book Power and Control: why charming men can make dangerous lovers. Horley identifies the “Charm Man Syndrome”, where a partner’s pattern of abusive behaviour can be so subtle that many women do not even realise they are being abused. Yet, as she states: “the vast majority who come to Refuge are subjected to relentless controlling and demeaning behaviour, whether physical or not”.

“Abuse is Not Love” – a campaign launched by YSL Beauty in partnership with Women’s Aid highlights the warning signs and empowers victims to escape toxic relationships. Marie Claire is working with the partnership to spotlight the red flags of intimate partner abuse.

Here are seven signs to look out for…

1. Abusive relationships often begin with a pattern of control

An abusive man tries to dominate every aspect of his partner’s life. This could mean constantly checking up on his partner through texts, cutting her off in the middle of a telephone conversation, or having clear rules about what can take up space where in the house. Often the incidents will seem trivial, but they can build up into an oppressive, suffocating atmosphere. If the saying “walking on eggshells” rings any bells, it’s likely that the abuser is the one in control.

2. Jealousy is a tell-tale sign of an abusive relationship

Whether he is jealous of your job, friends or social life it really isn’t normal. A partner is meant to say how proud they say they are of your achievements, not make you feel guilty for them.  You may think his jealousy is cute at first. He may call or text you several times a day, and may accuse you of cheating if you don’t respond as quickly as he wants. He might start tracking your every move.  If you are worried that you, or a friend, is becoming increasingly isolated because of their relationship, it’s time for them to get out.

3. An abuser will make you feel the abuse is your fault

One woman told Sandra “looking back I can see it was a sort of suffocation”, another said: “I was cut off from the outside world and from all of my friends, the only logic seemed to be to believe that it was all my fault”. Another’s partner told her that she would be a “failure” if she left. One woman whose husband had abused her for 15 years, who frequently held knives to her throat and threatened her with his gun, told Horley, a whole ten years after she had escaped “actually, I think I was partly to blame”.

4. In an abusive relationship a partner often uses “playful” force during sex

He enjoys throwing you around or holding you down against your will; the idea of rape is a turn on for him. He intimidates, manipulates or forces you to engage in unwanted sex acts with no care for your consent. Horley met many women who put up with sexual abuse because they were afraid of getting hit, their husbands would tell them that they had a “right” to sex. Some were unable to sleep for fear of being attacked in their bed. One woman even said that she was scared to go back to hospital because she was ashamed that her husband had raped her and caused her birthing stitches to burst.

5. Unrealistic expectations emerge quickly in an abusive relationship

An abusive partner expects perfection and for you to meet their every need.  The littlest thing that you do “wrong” will result in endless physical and verbal abuse, making you feel worthless. He will likely have strict rules about gender roles. Horley found this was very common with the domestic abuse survivors that she interviewed, one woman described how whenever she was too busy with the children to cook, she would put a pot to boil on the stove when her husband came home, to give the illusion that dinner was on the way and avoid a row.genesis-768x148-2-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-2-1-2-1-1-2

6. An abusive partner will make threats if you leave

Horley met women whose partners had killed their pets, ripped up their clothes or played with knives in front of them, to ensure that the women always knew who was in control. He could be trapping you into staying in the abusive relationship by telling you that no one else will want you, or threaten to kill himself if you leave. He may threaten to kill you or your children (incidentally, an abused woman is most vulnerable when pregnant).

7. Abusers often have a “Jekyll and Hyde” personality

To the outside world he will appear the perfect partner. He will buy you flowers or your favourite perfume. Maybe he is the most romantic man you have ever known. Obviously, just being romantic is not necessarily a sign of abuse, but an abuser will often use romance to distract from unacceptable behaviours, or even use gifts as a blackmailing tool, particularly following outbursts of abuse or violence.

He will make you believe that if you just did something differently, he would be the loving man you first fell for all the time. It may feel as though you are with two different people – you will stay because of your hope for the man you fell in love with, but you will spend most of your time being controlled by the man who hurts you. Eventually, you won’t be able to tell the difference.


Source: Spot the signs: 7 signs you’re in an abusive relationship

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Why Expensive Social Media Monitoring Has Failed To Protect Schools

There’s a set of questions that comes up with grim hindsight after a shooting like the one in Uvalde, Texas: Were there signs? Did we miss them? Could we have caught this? An entire industry has sprung up claiming that it has the answer: software that scans social media for threats.

Ari Sen, a computational journalist for the Dallas Morning News, has reported that the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District purchased one of these social media monitoring services, called Social Sentinel, a few years ago. Right now, Ari says it’s hard to know if the software was active in Uvalde at the time of the shooting—the school district hasn’t answered that yet.

But the bigger question is whether the posts on the gunman’s now-removed Instagram page—including lots of photos of AR-15-style rifles and weapons—would even have been flagged by the software. Why then are schools spending millions of dollars on this software, and why does the industry claim it helps protect students?

On Friday’s episode of What Next: TBD, I spoke with Ari Sen about what threat surveillance software promises and how it falls short. Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Lizzie O’Leary: Can you explain what Social Sentinel is and who uses it?

Ari Sen: Social Sentinel is a social media monitoring technology. It’s used by dozens of colleges and hundreds of school districts all around the country. What they claim to do is to scan billions of social media posts with really sophisticated AI to identify threats of potential violence or self-harm. Now, some of the reporting that I’ve done suggests that these models may not be very sophisticated or that this might be a really hard problem to solve even if the models are very sophisticated.

In your reporting, you found that several school districts that bought this software, spending between $1 and $2 per student, weren’t getting all that much for their money.

Most of the school districts that we talked to that had used Social Sentinel did not find the service to be useful. I contacted every school that we could find that had used Social Sentinel and the three other social media monitoring services that we studied in the state of Texas. Over 200 school districts had used one of these four services since 2015. Most of them did not respond to my questions, but there were a handful, maybe five or six, who did actually respond. I would say four or five of those said that “We canceled the service after a year. We didn’t find it to be useful. Or we found something, an anonymous reporting tool, a team of humans to monitor this stuff. We found that to be as good or better than the Social Sentinel service.”

One thing that I’ve heard a lot, not only from school districts but from colleges, is that 90 percent, 99 percent of the stuff that they were getting from the Social Sentinel service was false alerts. I’ve seen stuff like song lyrics, Bible verses, obvious jokes. If you just think about the way that people talk on social media, it’s a lot of sarcasm. It’s a lot of irony. It’s a lot of hyperbole. That can be really difficult for machine learning models to catch in general and particularly the less sophisticated stuff.

Do you have any examples of posts that got flagged where you thought, “Oh, come on. That’s someone tweeting lyrics”?

There is a college in Florida that I was able to get some flagged tweets from. Somebody tweeted the lyrics to the 2010 B.o.B song “Airplanes.” I think it picked up on the phrase “shooting stars.” Obviously, we’ve seen people tweeting about their favorite characters on TV shows: “If X character doesn’t get together with Y character, I’m literally going to die,” things like that. There’s a really funny tweet from one of these Florida colleges about Hamburger Helper and how Hamburger Helper needs to accept that it needs help.

They thought that was a mental health problem?

Evidently. Like I said, it’s hard to inspect these machine learning models. We don’t know for sure what exactly is going on behind the scenes there. But I am able to look at some of the things that they have flagged, and they don’t seem to be threatening at all. What we’ve heard anecdotally from schools and colleges is like, “Yeah, most of what we were getting is just not actionable.”

Is the algorithm searching for keywords? Does it look for shoot, kill, stab?

If you looked at Social Sentinel, the way they talked about the service early on, it very much sounds like a keyword-based service. They talk about how they have thousands of terms that they’re able to flag to school districts. The company now says that they have very sophisticated machine learning models. They have these eight different machine learning models that are able to classify text appropriately.

It’s also unclear exactly how these models work because the companies treat their algorithms as proprietary. They also say it would defeat the purpose of their work to disclose too much.

We don’t know what sorts of training data they have to go into the models, whether that training data has been audited for racial bias. All of that stuff is opaque to us. It really raises questions about, if schools are going to use this for such a serious and important purpose, should there be some transparency about the models, the training data, and how effective they are?

Moreover, machine learning models often struggle with slang and the way kids talk. That can mean posts from students of color are disproportionately flagged by the algorithms.

There was a really interesting paper by some UMass Amherst researchers a couple years ago where they took African American Vernacular English and they plugged it into language identification machine learning models. Obviously, what it should spit out is that this is English. In actuality, one of these models flagged that language as Dutch with 99 percent confidence. So these models do poorly on non-Anglicized English text in general and may exhibit the biases from the training data which they were trained on. If you look at Social Sentinel’s claims, for example, on their website, they say, “We don’t perpetuate any biases.” The experts that I’ve talked to have said that’s very difficult to do if the underlying models you’re using behind the scenes have these sorts of biases built in.

While Social Sentinel claims it covers almost all of social media, your reporting and work from BuzzFeed News suggests it mostly just monitors Twitter. Do you think these services can even keep up with how students use social media as they jump from platform to platform?

Obviously, you have the problem with young people hopping between different services. The big thing now is TikTok, for example. Maybe 10 years ago, it was Facebook. It’s hard for these platforms to keep up. Then you also have the ways in which language changes naturally over time. Then, as we were just talking about, language differs very widely across groups and geographies. The way people talk in California is not the same way that people talk in North Carolina.

I saw that the Uvalde shooter was using a service called Yubo, which I suspect these companies are not monitoring.

I hadn’t even heard of Yubo. One of the things I’ve seen in my reporting on Social Sentinel is that police chiefs going back to 2015 were constantly bugging Social Sentinel: Can you add this platform? Can you add this platform? Sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t. But it’s very, very difficult to keep up with the fast-paced nature of how young people are acting online.

Listening to you, there seems to be a pretty substantial body of evidence that these services are largely ineffective. Do you think that’s a fair assessment? And if it is, why are they still being touted as a solution?

We haven’t really been able to identify a clear case of this service working. We have heard some anecdotes about maybe some of the other services preventing kids from harming themselves. But I think the question we have to ask is, is it worth the privacy invasion? I found in my reporting last year that most of the time students and parents weren’t told at all that these services were in place and had no way to opt in or opt out. What needs to happen is a more open conversation about, “This is the service that we’re using, this is why we’re using it, and this is the things that it looks for.”

If these schools and universities are under such pressure to do something, but the debate around guns is either a nonstarter where they are or completely out of their hands, maybe this software feels like a reed they can grasp.

We’re obviously having a larger political conversation about what gun restrictions we do and we don’t want. But I think for schools, they’re desperate to do something to protect their kids, whether that’s school safety drills, monitoring services, like the ones we’ve been talking about here, whether it’s physical security, like metal detectors or other sorts of physical security measures. But I think one of the things that the Uvalde shooting shows us is that even school districts that have all of those things in place and have all of the training and all the officers, these things can fail and do fail. So there needs to be a different conversation that’s happening about what measures are effective and whether new approaches are needed to tackle this problem.

These kinds of programs ingest a tremendous amount of information and data. To work best, they need to do that. It does make me wonder for what other reasons a school or a school district or university might want to have this information or might utilize this information?

Some of the things that I’ve been seeing in my reporting, particularly at the college level, is that colleges are adopting these services to monitor protests and activism. Obviously, that’s very chilling. In 2016, there was a company called Geofeedia that got caught monitoring Black Lives Matter protesters. But Geofeedia is not the only player out there obviously. My reporting has suggested that these other services, particularly Social Sentinel, at the college level may be used to monitor protests and activism.

What did the schools say when you asked them about this?

I have contacted every college that we know of that’s used Social Sentinel and asked about this question specifically. A lot of them don’t want to talk about this. We haven’t really heard a full-throated defense of, “We’re monitoring this protest to keep students safe.” A lot of them are very tight-lipped, so we have to rely on documents and whistleblowers inside of the company to give us information.

Does the company say, “Yeah, we know our stuff is being used to monitor protesters”?

The company fervently denies any ability or use of the service to monitor protesters in any way, and they have since the beginning. But that claim is very dubious.

It’s worth remembering that most of these services are being paid for with public money. An investigation by BuzzFeed News examined contracts from 130 schools and found that they collectively spent $2.5 million on social media monitoring over five years. If you are listening to this and you’re a parent or a teenager or a college student, what other kinds of questions you think you should be asking your educators, your administration about these services?

Well, first of all, I think it’s just important to know whether the service is in place or not. For example, when I was reporting on these four social media monitoring companies last year, I discovered that my high school had used Gaggle, one of the monitoring services. I knew from previous reporting that my undergraduate institution, UNC Chapel Hill, used Social Sentinel. First of all, we should just ask the campus police department, the school administrators, “What service are you using? What does it monitor for, and why are you using it?”

The next questions are, is it effective? Is it doing what it’s set out to do, what they claimed it could do when they were marketing the service to you? If it’s not, then I think people really have to raise questions about, why are we still using this thing if it doesn’t work for the thing that they said it works for?

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Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need To Know About ‘Huggy Wuggy’

You may have seen the growing number of articles about the Huggy Wuggy character from horror survival game Poppy Playtime. Similar the Momo Challenge stories, this is usually accompanied with a scary blue character with red lips and sharp teeth and warnings about the upsetting or harmful impact on children.

However, no evidence has been reported that links back to the game itself. Rather, warnings from head teachers and Police have led to misinformation about the content of the game and potential impact on children.

Most of the panic surrounds related content created on TikTok and YouTube that features the game characters in unsettling scenarios. One of these video included a song, Free Hugs, with lyrics “Cause I could just hug you here. Forever, forever. Till you breathe your last breath.”

If you are a parent or guardian concerned about this, it’s important to understand the game before you delete it from children’s devices. Rather than a knee-jerk reaction, it’s a chance to talk to your child about the content and then make an informed decision about it with them.

Poppy Playtime Age Rating

The game itself is a scary experience designed to thrill and unsettle. It has been rated as suitable for 13 year-olds by ESRB and for 12 year-olds by PEGI. This includes descriptors for Violence, Blood from ESRB and Moderate Violence and Horror from PEGI.

The VSC Rating Board, extend the PEGI rating by stating “this game features a sense of threat and dread throughout as the player’s character explores an abandoned factory. In one intense sequence, the player’s character is pursued by a monster, including through a series of dark air vents. In another sequence, a heavy box is dropped onto a fantasy character, causing it to fall from a height. Blood appears on some pipes that the character strikes as it falls.”

This applies to the game itself rather than any fan created content. There are also unofficial fan made versions of the game on Roblox (Poppy Playtime Morphs) which do not fall under the remit of ESRB or PEGI as they are user generated content.

Taking care to understand the actual source of potentially upsetting content is important for parents. Not only so we can ensure that the settings on our children’s social media and video accounts are appropriately configured, but to ensure we don’t over react to what is a popular game.

The real danger is that stories about Poppy Playtime and the Huggy Wuggy character spiral out of control like the Momo Challenge. We’ve already seen reports eager to connect the scary Huggy Wuggy character to children jumping out of windows or breath holding playground games.

This leads to a muddled response to actual concerns children have. Banning a child from a game they are enjoying because of a related video makes it much less likely for them to talk to parents if something genuinely upsetting happens online.

The real danger with this panicked response is that it separates parents from the gaming world of their child. Much better, is to use rating advice and to play the game ourselves. We can then be present in the gaming world of our children and provide informed guidance.

Poppy Playtime Creator

I spoke to Zach Belanger, President and CEO of Enchanted Mob who made the Poppy Playtime game. I asked who the game was aimed at. “Poppy Playtime was not created with the intention to target any specific audience. Bear in mind that this was the first game our studio ever created, and our main priority was to create something that we would enjoy playing ourselves.

Beyond that, we have a passion for any content we create to be enjoyable by audiences of all ages. To us, it isn’t accurate to say that we created Poppy Playtime to be consumed by kids or adults, but rather our goal was simply to inspire and entertain anyone who decided to play the game.”

With this in mind, I wondered if the warnings from schools had come as a surprise? “The vast majority of the controversy we are seeing regarding warnings from schools about the Huggy Wuggy character are completely untrue and/or grossly exaggerated.

One of the things we’ve read online is that Huggy Wuggy whispers creepy things into one’s ear while playing, but anyone who has actually played Poppy Playtime would know that Huggy Wuggy does not even have a voice in Chapter 1, so it’s impossible for him to have whispered anything.”

“As far as we are aware, all of these warnings from schools are originating from fan made content based off of our game, but if you want my personal opinion, I do not think that any of these videos should be cause for concern, and we appreciate all the hard work and dedication our fans are put toward creating content inspired off of Poppy Playtime.”

Huggy Wuggy Song Creator

The creator of one of the more popular pieces of fan content was Igor Gordiyenko who is TryHardNinja on YouTube. He created the controversial Huggy Wuggy song that has around 5 million views.

I asked what the inspiration for the song and reason for the lyrics. “I wrote the song inspired by the story and lore of Huggy Wuggy from the game Poppy Playtime. In the game the player investigates a toy factory in which all the employees disappeared and some of the toys that used to be developed there have become sinister killer monsters. Huggy Wuggy is one of the antagonist monsters in the game.

The jingle in the game and game’s soundtrack has the lyrics, ‘He’ll squeeze you ‘til you pop’. I thought it would be creative to take the original jingle which mentions hugging forever and make it into a more obvious sinister version to be truer to his new sinister persona following the event the game.”

I asked what he made of the response to the song and the warnings that were appearing in headlines. “As a father, I completely understand the concern. I didn’t intentionally make the song to scare young kids. It’s a song based on a monster from the indie horror game Poppy Playtime rated for teens and up. My video is targeted to the same audience.”

“The themes and visuals of my song and video are true to the character’s lore, actions and depiction in the game. I am not trying to make an innocent character seem scarier than they are. Much like Chucky from Child’s Play, Huggy Wuggy is and always was a horror character. My song is for fans of the source material which is not for young kids.”

I asked him what he had done to ensure that younger children didn’t have access to the video. “As a YouTube creator I have done everything in my power to make sure the video is not served to kids younger than 13. Since the moment of upload the video has been marked “Not made for kids.”

Since reports of the song being served on YouTube Kids started about a month ago I have been doing my own periodical sweeps of that platform and I have never found that video or song. I understand how my video being recommended to young kids would be concerning and inappropriate, but all evidence points to the previous reports saying that it’s on YouTube Kids to being false.”

What advice would he have for parents if they were worried about children finding the song and being upset by it? “As a parent, if even after making sure I’ve done everything I could to filter out this content and it still gets through, I would sit with my child and talk to them about what they saw, their feelings and reassure them that Huggy Wuggy is a made up character that can’t hurt them.”

Keeping Children Safe

Rather than warning children about specific dangers such as Momo or Huggy Wuggy, parents and professionals can better help children by teaching them good practices online.

Fostering an atmosphere of openness and transparency about online activity ensures that children can thrive. If you do notice them switching screens on their devices when approached or new numbers or email addresses on their devices it’s worth checking in with them.

Keep video games and YouTube watching in shared family spaces. In video games, you can also set-up restrictions on friends and accessing user generate content that may include Poppy Playtime themed add ons. Also, ensure you have Restricted mode on for your child’s account this content is not available to them.

I am a technology critic specializing in families. I’ve recently written the Taming Gaming book for parents and related Family Video Game Database. I write for

Source: Don’t Panic, What Parents Really Need To Know About ‘Huggy Wuggy’


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One In Three Children With Disabilities Experience Violence

Children with disabilities twice as likely to experience any form of violence (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect) than children without disabilities.

Children with disabilities experience a high burden of all forms of violence, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online March 17 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Zuyi Fang, Ph.D., from the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Beijing Normal University, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to estimate violence against children with disabilities. Ninety-eight studies (involving 16.8 million children) were included in the analysis.

The researchers found that the overall prevalence of violence against children with disabilities was 31.7 percent, and the overall odds of children with disabilities experiencing violence was higher than for children without disabilities (odds ratio, 2.08). The estimates varied by the type of violence, disability, and perpetrator.

While there was a high degree of heterogeneity across most estimates, sensitivity analysis suggested a high degree of certainty for these estimates. The included studies were, on average, of medium quality. There was particular vulnerability to experiencing violence among children in economically disadvantaged contexts.

“Our findings reveal unacceptable and alarming rates of violence against children with disabilities that cannot be ignored,” a coauthor said in a statement. “We must urgently invest in services and support that address the factors that place children with disabilities at heightened risk of violence and abuse, including caregiver stress, social isolation, and poverty.”

Screenshot 2022-03-28 at 20-56-37 image.jpg (WEBP Image 210 × 219 pixels)

By: Physician’s Briefing Staff



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