Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, expert says

Originally posted on Metro:

(Picture: Getty Images) A large amount of time spent in virtual environments is hindering emotional development (Picture: Getty Images)

Children who spend a lot of time immersed in their smartphones are displaying borderline ‘autistic’ behaviour, a top psychiatrist has said.

Iain McGilchrist, who was an award-winning essayist and a teacher of literature at Oxford before becoming a doctor, said young children are finding it more difficult to read facial expressions or show empathy compared to previous generations, with some teachers saying that up to a third of pupils – some as young as five – are struggling to understand emotions and maintain attention.

And Dr. McGilchrist told the Telegraph that the virtual environments afforded to children by smartphones and other technology doesn’t require them to interpret ‘the subtle cues of real-life environments’ – leading to impaired emotional development akin to some forms of autism.

[metro-link url=”” title=”Smartphones are making teenagers depressed, study finds”]

(Picture: Getty Images) Some teachers have said up…

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Facebook notifications are going to change – and you may not like it

Originally posted on Metro:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote address at Facebook F8 in San Francisco (Picture: Reuters)

No longer will your Facebook notifications solely be ‘friends’ commenting on your old profile pictures to cause you embarrassment.

The social media site is introducing steps to make it more dynamic so it can defeat rival networks.

A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable: ‘We are testing an updated notifications tab that adds additional, relevant content about everything that might be helpful to know on a particular day.’

Not only will you be told whose birthday it is, but notifications will also allow you to see which friends are nearby and what restaurants in your locality are open for business.

[metro-link url=”” title=”Facebook just changed your news need so you’ll see more stuff from your actual friends”]

Here is the list of eight sections the your notifications will now include:

  • Birthdays – Your cousin, your second cousin…

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Book review: Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)

Magyk (Septimus Heap #1)  by Angie Sage

769483The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

The first book in this enthralling new series by Angie Sage leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters and magykal charms, potions, and spells. Magyk is an original story of lost and rediscovered identities, rich with humor and heart.

About the Author
Angie Sage (born 1952) is the author of the Septimus Heap series which includes Magyk, Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, Darke and Fyre, the final book which is scheduled to come out later in 2013. Also, she wrote The Magykal Papers, an additional book with extra information about Septimus’ world. She is also the illustrator and/or writer of many children’s books, and is the new writer of the Araminta Spookie series.

Angie Sage grew up in Thames Valley, London and Kent. Her father was a publisher. He would bring home blank books that she could fill with pictures and stories. Sage first studied medicine, but changed her mind and went to Art School in Leicester. There she studied Graphic Design and Illustration. She began illustrating books after college. Then she progressed to writing children stories, including toddler books and chapter books. Her first novel was Septimus Heap: Magyk. Angie Sage is married and has two daughters, Laurie and Lois.

‘Septimus Heap, the seventh son of a seventh son, died shortly after birth. Born to a family of Wizards, there’s no telling what he might have become, as his lineage as a seventh son would have made him unbelievably magical. But on that winter night when Septimus died, his father, Silas, found another newborn child in the forest. They named her Jenna, and she grew up thinking that she was the daughter of Silas and Sarah Heap, and the sister of six older brothers–Simon, Sam, Edd, Erik, Nicko, and Jo-Jo. Early on, though, Sarah had her own ideas of who Jenna really was, especially when she heard the news that the Queen had been murdered. Jenna Heap was, undoubtedly, the Princess.

Over the next ten years, darkness came to the Castle and the Ramblings, where the Heaps lived. With no Queen, evil came in the form of the Supreme Custodian, who along with his cohorts banned magic and ended the happiness the Queen’s people had once known. As the Heap family attempt to ride out this time of darkness, the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, learns of the plot to kill the Princess, which will allow evil to truly take over the Palace. It seems that the only thing keeping DomDaniel, the Dark Wizard, from returning to the Castle is the presence of the Princess, and he plans to remedy that.’ rest of this review from Goodreads here

My review
As a big fan of Harry Potter and anything magical, or involving princesses (princess bride) or mythical creatures (dragons) this book was definitely my cup of coffee (I hate tea). Recommended by my friend Kirsty, I borrowed it from the library.
On this occasion I wish I had read a bit about it before plunging in then I would have understood the bit about the missing baby and him being the seventh son of the seventh son. It explains it in the book but I seemed to miss that bit.
“Things have a habit of working out, you know. Eventually.”
What I loved about the book, is how families are not just made from blood, how Silus Heap finds a small bundle who turns out to be an infant girl and adopts her as her own, and yet later on when she finds out she is the infant Queenling, how much he instills in her that he will always be her father showing that families are what we make related or not.
“Well, I suggest you sleep on it,” said Aunt Zelda sensibly. “Things always look better in the morning.”
For a long while I have struggled getting into books, same thing happened a few years ago. I think we get to tied up with the amount of information constantly bombarded at us and I think that’s why I hated a recent book club choice as it seemed to deviate from the story. I think because I’ve been reading quite a lot of young fiction, it’s not always bogged down, and concentrates on the characters and keeps the story flowing. I could be wrong and I’m reading the wrong books.
“Crazy as a cuttlefish
Nasty as a RAT
Put her in a pie dish
Give her to the CAT!”
I recommend this book to anyone though. It has magic, it has adventure, it shows what happens when people pull together, family bonds and best of all a dragon. The character descriptions brought them off the page and into their own world filled with darkness and the energy to over power it. As for the HP books being made into a film, I’d quite happy keep this as a book which I can reread time and again.
Thank you fore reading

Disney songs reworked as smooth ’90s R’n’B in new mashup and it’s amazing

Originally posted on Metro:

What can be better than some good old-fashioned Disney songs?

Well, how about some Disney songs reworked with some old skool ’90s R’n’B tunes?

Todrick Hall and Shoshana Bean have created the ultimate mashup with classic Disney songs from films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid crooned over tracks by Ginuwine, Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men and Montell Jordan.

Now, when is the album coming out?

MORE: From Frozen to The Little Mermaid, 20 times Disney told the truth about love

MORE: From axed racism to Sean Bean: 7 facts you may not know about Disney’s Pocahontas

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So THAT’S why the Dursleys were so horrible to Harry Potter – a fan has the answer

Originally posted on Metro:

Dursleys 2 The dastardly Dursleys (Picture: Warner Bros)

When Harry Potter was orphaned he was taken in by his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon Dursley to live in their little house on Privet Drive and his life, briefly, took an even further downward spiral.

And it was all because of the dastardly Dursleys.

The Dursleys were the reason he had to live in a cupboard.

They were also the reason he never celebrated a birthday, why he had to pretend he didn’t exist, and why he nearly, very nearly, didn’t go to Hogwarts at all.

We’ve been brought up to have a serious dislike for the Dursley family because of their meanness to our boy Harry. But what if their cruelty wasn’t their fault?

Not excusing their terrible behaviour of course (they fed him through a cat flap?!) but a fan has come up with a theory that they might explain things.

(Picture: Tumblr)

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From The Avengers to Cinderella: 12 times this man totally nailed low-cost cosplay

Originally posted on Metro:

The Thing (Picture: Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Who says you need to pay a fortune for a decent cosplay costume?

Look around your home. Got a mango pudding pot and some rubber gloves? You’re half way to being Belle from Beauty And The Beast. How about a couple of infra-red computer mouses? Bingo, you’ve got the makings of the Terminator.

Cosplay, where fans of comic books, anime, video game characters and films dress up as their heroes, has grown over the years with conventions being held all over the world. It’s now big business.

Well this cunning chappy has found a way of not having to fork out for new costumes each time he attends one. Genius.

And he saves the absolute best ’til last…

1. A yellow pudding, some rubber gloves and a tea towel on your head = a beautiful Belle. Disney would be proud.

6 - vu2vxKr Belle from Beauty And The Beast (Picture: Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

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9 reasons Saturday morning kids TV ruled in the 90s

Originally posted on Metro:

Ant and Dec during their days as children’s TV kings (Picture: PA)

Saturday morning TV used to be the liveliest and most unpredictable part of the schedules – a place where Smash Hits pin-ups rubbed shoulders with squeaky glove puppets, telephone number jingles were catchier than the common cold and copious amounts of gunge was virtually compulsory.

But ever since BBC and ITV bosses decided to shunt kids programming off to their own separate channels, the time slot has sadly been swamped with the kind of cookery shows in which laddish personalities exchange ‘banter’ while pretending to be interested in making a monkfish salad.

The 70s may have kickstarted the whole format with Swap Shop, the 80s may have had Saturday Superstore and Going Live!, and the 00s may have done its best to keep the tradition going with the likes of Dick and Dom in da Bungalow and TMI.

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