Managing Content: A Skill for Life

Shubnum Khan is the face that welcomes immigrants to various countries such as Canada and Uruguay. But she is busy balancing a career as a writer and artist, in addition to a business in New York that sells carpets. When she is also not leading treks to Cambodia, she has involvement with McDonalds group in China, dentistry in Virginia and oh – by the way – she has links with a French dating website.

Does this sound too good to be true? If it does, it probably is. (By the way, it is.)

It turns out that the South African author’s image was used without her knowledge as part of a stock photo image group – that is to say, companies and website owners can use her image if they remunerate the photographer that took the photo, if he happens to own the image rights.

The photographer does.

But how is it that she gave away her image rights, and allowed her image to be associated with causes that she does not even promote? It turns out that many years earlier she had participated in what was called a 100 Faces Shoot, where a photographer promised professional portraits in exchange for being snapped.

Let’s pause for a moment here – if someone offers you a free professional shoot, would you take up the offer? The more sceptical among us might say that a free shoot, when photographers normally charge upwards of hundreds of pounds, might be enough of a signal that something is amiss. There must be a catch right? The younger ones among us might leap into the chance to get free professional photos which might help in launching their careers, with good pictures to go on CVs and websites. But there must be something in it for the photographer, right?

It turns out the photographer said it was all part of an art project, but that’s a vague term that didn’t turn out well for Khan.

Sometimes a level of shrewdness in business dealings can work to your advantage. For example, Michael Jackson did not sing the Beatles songs, of course(!), but he owned the rights to them, giving himself a large sum from royalties. (You can read more about this from the Finsbury Park piano teacher blog.)

We live in a technological world where content is abundant. Our children need to grow to learn the skill of managing information and content – not to plagiarise it from the internet, to be careful of how their images are used, and most of all, it would be a good skill to know how to speak up if in doubt, and not to roll along and accept things blindly on trust!

Protecting hearing

According to the World Health Organisation guidelines, listening to sounds above one hundred decibels for more than fifteen minutes a day will cause significant hearing impairment and eventually lead to hearing loss. They also suggest that listening to anything at more than eighty decibels should be limited to under eight hours a day.

We often read about how certain things produce different levels of volume, such as a train producing over one hundred decibels as it whooshes by. This knowledge to be managed with reference to proximity as well, of course. If we know a pneumatic drill produces one hundred and twenty decibels of sound, and stand next to it, we will experience the full aural impact. From a distance away, the impact is less.

What it does mean, for educators, is that we have to manage our children’s environment to avoid them suffering passive harm to their ears.

Play areas in schools can get very noisy over lunch times. If you happen to standing next to a group of kids playing a noisy but exciting game, just passive observance of the game will render you subject to the impact of the noise.

In schools, the sound of the loud school bells signifying the end of have to be rung at short bursts, rather than for continuous durations.

Older children may like to listen to loud music on their way to and from school. We see them plugged into their headphones, listening to loud music, such as punk music, pop chart music or metal.

On their way home they pass by noisy vehicles that blare out Dance Music as if it were cool to do so.

Then they have go on their computer games or phones and other sorts of devices and listen to what we might “technology music“, music that has been produced by for that purpose.

That is a lot of sound they are being exposed to.

We often talk about limiting screen time for children and are more conscious about that, getting them to rest their eyes and avoiding prolonged focussing and exposure. But what we have to realise that the ears are exposed to sounds and noises too.

Loud noise can have a debilitating impact. Just ask RB Lepzig football player Timo Werner, who experienced dizziness while playing against noisy Besiktas, and had to be substituted midway through the first half.

We have to protect society’s children from increasing levels of sound in society, so that they can live quality lives when they are older.