Exposing children to video games


This picture depicts one of my strongest concerns on how children spend their free time today. Electronic games are widespread in the lives of 21st-century children. Shouldn’t we set boundaries in their use?

During my childhood years in a small town in northwestern Peloponnesus (Greece), I was playing for hours with my dearest friends in our neighbourhood. Most of them were also my schoolmates and that was awesome because we had the same interests to share and we had developed our “code” words. We were using all of our fantasy to create new games; it was so productive! A ball and our own bicycles were our only play equipment and believe me they were considerable to create all that enthusiasm and happiness. It was such an enjoyable and fascinating experience and it was safe as well. I really miss those days!

How things have changed over time? Obviously, as any parent knows, when kids arrive on the scene, leisure time seems to disappear! Add a full time job and and you figure you are measuring total free time in minutes. In the past, when I was working in the maritime industry for more than 12 hours per day, including some hours during weekend, I was hardly trying to find the best way to organise my rest hours. I wanted to do so many things but I didn’t have the energy or even the mood! And I am really wondering what plan I would have followed if I had also a child involved. Surely, I would have made numerous To Do lists! I love them because they give me the confidence and the freedom to tuck a thought safely away without using extra brain power worrying that I will forget to accomplish the task.

Although the rythms of family life have changed, I strongly believe that parents should rethink the way their kids dedicate their play time. Going out for a walk, doing sports or playing with other children close to their age are some easy options. Giving a video game instead of an educational game as a gift or watching on TV inappropriate for children programs are ineffective options. Exposure to violence, aggression and other behaviors that are seen as negative in most parenting circles is a downside of allowing children to play electronic games. Excessive exposure to video games can also contribute to limited physical activity and kids could be at risk for childhood obesity.

The following article “Effect of Video Games on Child Development”, which students posted in their blog at Vanderbilt University, gives us more food for thought on this subject. Apart from the negatives of playing video games, some benefits are also stated. For more read here.

Image Credit


15 useful phrasal verbs!

I am sitting on my sofa, drinking maybe the third cup of coffee for today. I carry on watching the news on TV regarding the Greek crisis developments in order to be informed from all angles. For over an hour I was trying to console on the phone one of my good friends who recently broke up with his girlfriend. Thankfully, my little nephew, whom I look after for today for my sister, is keeping me company, trying to turn this bad day into a good one. I absolutely adore him!

Greece’s Creditors might be prepared to give up some ground in the ongoing negotiations. The Greek government was present for years during the meetings with the financial institutions in order to give in to the demands of the Troica, which actually limited the losses to Big Banking needs and not to the welfare and betterment of the Greek nation. Greek people cannot put up with further demanding measures forced by the Institutions (IMF, European Commision and European Central Bank) who really will never understand that you cannot cut more from people who have already nothing to cut!! Greek people may feel that the creditors are looking down on them due to their powerful position in the European institutions.

The institutions insisted that the Greece today faces deadline for agreement with creditors. That the Greek governnment cannot put off the €1,6bn IMF debt payment. They urged the Greek Prime Minister to call off the Referendum with no positive response from the other side. They also asked from him not to blow them out and to reconsider a last-minute agreement with them.

As I said, the Greek people are holding a Referendum this Sunday in order to choose between a “Yes” vote or a “No” vote. Maybe the greek government called this Referendum in order to get away with a possible bankruptcy. But I don’t think this is true. The greek politicians suggested that the people should keep calm, cool, not to vote from a position of fear and of course not to pass out!

Well, I don’t know guys! Let’s just hope for a last-minute good deal from both sides concerned and that we will finally pull through. I hope things will start to look up in the next years and I look forward to a positive outcome from all this history!

You have hopefully taken note of the phrasal verbs used so far.  Like many other verbs, phrasal verbs often have more than one meaning. This infographic of the Grammar.net showing the 15 most useful phrasal verbs in  their opinion which I also used today in my post.

Just some extra notes:

1) “pull through” means also to suceed in dealing with a difficult period or to help someone do this.

2) “look up” means also to become better.

3) “blow sb out” means to disappoint someone by not meeting them or not doing sth that you had arranged to do with them.

Infographic by Grammar.net

Paul Krugman about Greek Crisis

I can’t believe the fear-mongering from all journalists on TV about Greek crisis! Every time there is an issue in Greece, they try to influence the people with their comments and spread the panic, whether it be elections, referendums etc. Democracy will not die in the country that it was invented!!

Anyway, today I found this absorbing article published by the Business Insider. I personally have read a couple of books of the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and I really respect his work. This is an interesting and alternative approach by him,  which provides us with more food for thought.

Read more here.

Billie Holiday – Blue Moon

Along with  Louis Armostrong, Billie Holiday is also one of my favourite all-time singers! I can’t stop but listening to her songs again and again. “Lady Day” -her nickname- had a genuine talent and a spellbinding* voice. For her, the poet Frank O’Hara (1926-1966) wrote in the apocalyptic closure of his poem The Day Lady Died  “while she whispered a song along the keyboard to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing“.

For you guys, who enjoy reading poetry, here is the said poem by Frank O’Hara which you may read while listening to this wonderful song of Billie Holiday “Blue Moon”. Enjoy!

The Day Lady Died

By Frank O’Hara

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me
I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness
and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it
and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing.

* “spellbinding” means holding your attention completely.

“hook sth/sb up to sth”


“Hook sth up” means to connect electronics so they work correctly. You might hook up your camera to a large display screen for example.

e.g. Can we hook up to the electricity supply at the campsite?

This phrasal verb also means to connect a person to a piece of medical equipment.

e.g. Helen was unconscious and hooked up to a life support machine.

“to climb the corporate ladder”


“Corporate ladder” is a term used to describe the hierarchy of a company’s organizational structure.

When someone says they are working hard to “climb the corporate ladder” they are simply saying they are looking to advance within a company through promotions.


1) You have to work very hard if you want to climb the corporate ladder.

2) If women want to climb the corporate ladder, they may have to sacrifice some of their family life.

Image Credit