My son, five, plays video games for six hours-a-day & spent £700 of my money online – but it's easier than watching him

TV presenter Naomi Isted has revealed she lets her five-year-old son play video games for up to six hours a day, admitting it's easier than constantly watching him.

The mum-of-two, 40, from Epping, Essex, is adamant the screen time doesn't do IT whizz Rocco any harm – saying it's safer than him running around all day.

But it's far from a cheap alternative to a babysitter, with the primary school kid racking up a £700 PayPal bill during lockdown – by buying in-game purchases and toys on eBay and Amazon.

Baffled parents Naomi, a presenter and content creator, and Haydn, 46, who works in property, haven't even been able to gets refunds on most of it – but there's no plans to keep Rocco offline long term.

Naomi has been homeschooling Rocco during lockdown and he returned to primary school part-time on Tuesday.

Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Naomi explains all…

Rocco's loved tech from a really young age, he'd play games on my phone or iPad from about 18 months.

He'll play on anything he can get his hands on – phones, iPads, laptops. He's so cheeky, he'll try and sneak my phone away from me, or go into our bedroom and grab my phone while I'm in the shower.

Rocco also has his own iPad but it's one of our old ones, we didn't buy it specially for him.

Minecraft and Roblox are his favourite apps – Roblox has hundreds of different games on it.

He's so much of a tech whizz that, within a day of lockdown, he developed four of his own games on Roblox.

I need to keep him occupied – when he's playing on his computer I know he's safe, not running around the house where he could fall and hurt himself

He was like ‘Mummy you’ve got to look at my studio I’ve built some games’. I was like ‘what?’

If he could, Rocco would sit on his iPad all day. I let him play for up to two hours if I'm on a work call and I'm distracted – we break it up but he could be on there for six hours over the course of a day.

I need to keep him occupied when I'm working. When he's playing on his computer I know he's safe, not running around the house where he could fall and hurt himself.

I also know it’s going to keep him quite quiet, so if I get a phone call he won’t be screaming or fighting with his sister Fleur, 10, in the background.

But his hobby is definitely not cheaper than a babysitter. We don't know how he does it, but Rocco has spent £700 during the last eight weeks of lockdown.

He keeps getting into Haydn and my PayPal accounts. He buys Robux, which you use as currency in Roblox, and in-game purchases on Minecraft.

Rocco even bought Paw Patrol toys for himself for his birthday and has ordered stuff off Amazon.

We have no clue how he does it, we've put all the parenting controls on and he's still ordering things.

I think it's been going on for a while – in the past I'd get an alert on my phone for £1.99 or £5.99 going out, and I'd think nothing of it.

But at the start of lockdown, I got a notification saying 'you've spent £89 with the Apple Store'. I thought 'I haven't ordered anything', so I checked and realised he'd ordered Robux.

At the start of lockdown, I got a notification saying 'you've spent £89 with the Apple Store'. He's also bought Paw Patrol toys and stuff off Amazon

Last week, he made a £300 order for Final Cut Pro editing suite. I can laugh about it now but it definitely wasn't funny at the time.

I was horrified, I assume he thinks he's going to start making YouTube videos or something.

They wouldn't give me a refund and neither would Minecraft or Roblox, even though I explained what had happened, which was really disappointing.

When we realised, we told Rocco it was unacceptable and took away his devices for 24 hours, but he doesn't seem to care as he keeps doing it.

We'll change our passwords but he somehow still manages to buy stuff.

Haydn and I have a basket where we put our iPads and laptops when we're trying to keep Rocco off tech.

He's even worked out how to watch YouTube and play games on the smart TV, so we have to hide the remotes from him now.

When Rocco was younger, everyone told me 'you can't have your kids on technology, especially when you're in social media'.

But when you're on your phone all day, how can you tell your kids you can't do the same?

I’m sure lots of parents will think I’m crazy but I don’t care. My kids are actually safer because I understand all these apps they’re on

Rocco's definitely going to work in tech and I think when your kids have a gift from a young age, you should embrace it.

At the beginning of lockdown, I spent four weeks trying to set up computer mirroring so I could link my laptop to the big screen.

It wasn't until I said 'Rocco can you help me?' that he set it all up for me.

He found the cables, downloaded the software, changed the system preferences and he’s five, it is insane.

You can tell he’s got a gift and is very tech savvy. And you know what? He enjoys it.

We've had to set boundaries during lockdown, because he'd be on the computer all day if he could.

Every time I try to get him out for a bike ride, he’ll have a meltdown because he doesn't want to stop playing, screaming and crying.

But when he eventually gets outside, he absolutely loves it. It's all about balance, he's not playing video games all day every day.

When you're on your phone all day, how can you tell your kids you can't do the same?

I know there are a lot of parents who don't agree with their kids having tech, but my job revolves around the internet.

Social media can be scary but if you're a parent who never goes on TikTok or Instagram, I think that's more of a danger than someone like me who understands how it all works.

I’m constantly checking what he's doing, so I know he’s not on there messaging strangers.

I’m sure lots of parents will think I’m crazy but I don’t care. My kids are actually safer because I understand all these apps they’re on.

You can't have an old school mentality when you're bringing up kids, they'll just go on there behind your back.

Naomi has just published her first kids' book, inspired by Rocco. You can buy Teleporting to Funland here.

She also co-hosts a parenting podcast, called Manic Mums, with comedienne Francine Lewis. You can listen here.

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Polo Grounds memorabilia, game-used balls up for auction

This bag of balls can be yours — if the auction price is right!

Back in the day, fans at the old Polo Grounds hurled horsehides onto the diamond — but not because a hated opposing player had launched a home run.

In June 1951, nearly two decades before the ritual became a thing at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the baseball New York Giants asked all spectators to “return foul balls hit into the stands to forward to our troops in Korea,” the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported at the time.

The game-used balls stamped “FROM A POLO GROUNDS BASEBALL FAN” and signed by the likes of Hollywood starlet Laraine Day, wife of then-manager Leo Durocher and kids from Staten Island, are up for auction.

The surplus “soiled, scuffed” baseballs are one of 11 lots — including ticket stubs, programs and a game-used Willie Mays bat valued at “$10,000-plus” — from the collection of former Polo Grounds superintendent Jim Trainor up for bids. In contrast to the Mays lumber, the balls can probably be had for “between $500 and $800,” the auctioneer said.

When the Giants split for San Francisco in 1957, Trainor sadly stayed behind, son Kevin, 72, told The Post.

“When they left, it took a part of him,” Trainor said.

The Maryland-based Huggins & Scott Auctions is staging the online sale, which runs through May 28.

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Selena Gomez sues mobile game for $10M, alleges it stole her likeness

It ain’t me.

That’s the message from pop superstar Selena Gomez, who has filed a $10 million lawsuit against a the makers of a mobile game, slamming the app’s developers for using her likeness.

The 27-year-old singer alleges that the game “Clothes Forever — Styling Game” based one of its characters on her without ever asking for her permission, according to Variety, which first spotted the lawsuit.

The game’s app store listing advertises that users can “interact with the most beautiful models and celebrities; the likes of Kardashian, Gigi, Beyoncé, Taylor, and more will be dropping by and asking for YOUR fashion advice.” It offers in-app purchases for digital clothes and jewelry ranging from 99 cents all the way up to $99.99.

A promotional image for the game shows a cartoon avatar of Gomez wearing the same outfit and in the same pose as her November 2015 cover for Flare Magazine. Other promotional images show similar drawings of Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, soccer star David Beckham and singer The Weeknd.

“Defendants never requested, consulted, or informed Gomez regarding the use of any of her publicity rights in connection with the Game,” the lawsuit alleges. “Nor, if asked, would Gomez have consented to such use.”

Gomez’s lawyers say that the star has always “carefully curated all endorsements and business opportunities,” and criticized Clothes Forever as being “bug-riddled” and only “rated a measly 3.5 stars out of 5” by App Store reviewers.

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‘The blame game’: Virus fuels religious hatred in India

New Delhi: After India's Health Ministry repeatedly blamed an Islamic seminary for spreading the coronavirus — and governing party officials spoke of "human bombs" and "corona jihad"— a spree of anti-Muslim attacks has broken out across the country.

Young Muslim men who were passing out food to the poor were assaulted with cricket bats. Other Muslims have been beaten up, nearly lynched, run out of their neighbourhoods or attacked in mosques, branded as virus spreaders. In Punjab state, loudspeakers at Sikh temples broadcast messages telling people not to buy milk from Muslim dairy farmers because it was infected with coronavirus.

Indian firefighters disinfect a sealed area outside an Islamic seminary in the Nizamuddin neighbourhood of Delhi, after a 36-hour-long operation to evacuate 2631 Muslims to hospitals for quarantine earlier this month.Credit:Getty Images

Hateful messages have bloomed online. And a wave of apparently fake videos has popped up telling Muslims not to wear masks, not to practise social distancing, not to worry about the virus at all, as if the makers of the videos wanted Muslims to get sick.

In a global pandemic, there is always the hunt for blame. US President Donald Trump has done it, insisting for a time on calling the coronavirus a “Chinese virus”. All over the world people are pointing fingers, driven by their fears and anxieties to go after The Other.

Here in India, no other group has been demonised more than the country's 200 million Muslims, minorities in a Hindu-dominated land of 1.3 billion people.

People leave an Islamic seminary to board a bus to quarantine amid concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 in Nizamuddin.Credit:Getty Images

From the crackdown on Kashmir, a Muslim majority area, to a new citizenship law that blatantly discriminates against Muslims, this past year has been one low point after another for Indian Muslims living under an increasingly bold Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and propelled by majoritarian policies.

In this case, what's making things worse is that there's an element of truth behind the government's claims. A single Muslim religious movement has been identified as being responsible for a large share of the country's 8000-plus coronavirus cases. Indian officials estimated last week that more than a third of the country's cases were connected to the group, Tablighi Jamaat, which held a huge gathering of preachers in March. Similar meetings in Malaysia and Pakistan also led to outbreaks.

"The government was compelled to call out this congregation," said Vikas Swarup, a senior official at the Foreign Ministry.

He said that the gathering in March "had a significant impact on the containment methods" but denied that the government's frequent blaming of the group had "anything to do with a particular community".

An Indian man feeds pigeons in Noida in the outskirts of New Delhi. The Indian government has completely sealed COVID-19 hotspots in 15 districts including Noida.Credit:EPA/AP

Tablighi Jamaat is a multinational Muslim missionary movement. A tall, white, modern building towering over the Nizamuddin West neighbourhood of Delhi serves its global headquarters. The group is one of the world's largest faith-based organisations, with tens of millions of members.

The Indian government has been racing to track down anyone from Tablighi's seminary and quarantine congregants. Masked police officers have sealed the headquarters on all sides; the other morning, they patrolled the area with their fingers on the triggers of assault rifles.

The neighbourhood resembles one near a bus depot or a port; the seminary was the centre of the economy, and all around it stand money changers, guesthouses, travel agencies and gift shops, catering to the Muslim missionaries who would flow through here.

The virus and the new wave of hatred have changed everything. Mohammed Haider, who runs a milk stall, one of the few businesses allowed to stay open under a coronavirus lockdown, said, "Fear is staring at us, from everywhere".

"People need only a small reason to beat us or to lynch us,'' he said. "Because of corona.''

Muslim leaders are afraid. They see the intensifying attacks against Muslims and remember what happened in February, when Hindu mobs rampaged in a working-class neighbourhood in Delhi, killing dozens, and police mostly stood aside — or sometimes even helped the Hindu mobs. In many villages now, Muslim traders are barred from entering simply because of their faith.

"The government should not have played the blame game," said Khalid Rasheed, chairman of Islamic Centre of India. "If you present the cases based on somebody's religion in your media briefings,'' he said, "it creates a big divide."

"Coronavirus may die," he added, "but the virus of communal disharmony will be hard to kill when this is over."

Tahir Iqbal, a recent university graduate from Kashmir, was among the 4000 or so gathered at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in early March for missionary training. He said people slept, ate and prayed in close quarters, with little fear of the coronavirus. "We didn't take it seriously at the time," he said.

On March 16, the Delhi government banned gatherings of more than 50 people. Several days later, Modi announced a nationwide lockdown.

But instead of dispersing, more than 1000 people stayed put at the centre. During a March 19 sermon, Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, a Tablighi Jamaat leader, told followers that coronavirus was "God's punishment'' and not to fear it.

About a week later, health inspectors found around 1300 people still sheltering at the centre without masks or other protective gear. Many Muslim leaders criticised the group's centre for not closing down.

But by that point, hundreds of congregants had already left. They wended their way across India by car, bus, train and plane, spreading the coronavirus to more than half of India's states, from beach towns in the Andaman Islands to the hot, farming cities in the country's northern plains.

On March 31, Delhi authorities filed a criminal case against Maulana Kandhalvi for "deliberately, willfully, negligently and malignantly" putting the public's health at risk. Tablighi Jamaat's centre was sealed. The maulana, a title for a Muslim scholar, disappeared.

Indian authorities have been tightening the lockdown on hot spots across the country, shutting down all movement in areas where coronavirus cases have been detected. Though the nationwide total remains relatively low, many fear the highly contagious virus could rip through crowded urban areas, overwhelming already beleaguered public hospitals.

Authorities have used mobile phone data to track Tablighi Jamaat congregants and intercepted Malaysian missionaries at an airport before they could board an evacuation flight out of India.

At a public briefing last week, Lav Agarwal, a Health Ministry spokesman, said that the number of days it would have taken India's coronavirus cases to double would have been 7.4 — not the more alarming 4.1 days it hit this past week — had the gathering not happened.

Since then, more than 25,000 people who came in contact with Tablighi members have been quarantined. Some nurses have complained that Tablighi members put in isolation wards acted lewdly. One Muslim man who tested positive for the coronavirus took his own live in a central Indian hospital on Saturday.

Some Hindu nationalist politicians and their supporters seized on the situation, eagerly piling on the anti-Muslim sentiments that have been building in recent years under Modi's government.

Sensing the backlash against Muslims, the Health Ministry has stopped blaming Tablighi Jamaat at public briefings.

"Certain communities and areas are being labelled purely based on false reports," the ministry said in a statement a few days ago. "There is an urgent need to counter such prejudices."

The New York Times

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'Game of Thrones' Author George R. R. Martin Wanted to 'Die Horribly' in the Red Wedding

George R.R. Martin has probably already secured his immortality. The Game of Thrones author penned five fantasy tomes (with two more perpetually on their way) that then became a widely acclaimed HBO series—the sort of thing that bends pop culture even for people who haven’t seen it. Game of Thrones has just become part of our shared lexicon, whether it’s appearing in memes, being referenced in politics, or showing up as a cameo in Westworld.

So Martin is probably secure knowing that he’ll be remembered. But like a lot of creators, he apparently couldn’t resist inserting himself into his creation. As the writer revealed in a blog post on his website, as his A Song of Ice and Fire was being turned into the Games of Thrones television series, he had a few shots at a cameo.

His first, from the pilot, ended up on the cutting room floor after reshooting. Then he thought he might appear as a severed head on the wall of the Red Keep. That time budget constraints kept him from being immortalized (dead) onscreen. And finally, he thought he might appear during the Red Wedding—the famously bloody third-season episode.

“I also campaigned to die horribly at the Red Wedding,” Martin writes, “which seemed only fair since I was responsible for it, but it was felt that my presence in that powerful, wrenching, bloody scene might have taken the viewers out of the moment.”

He graciously acknowledges that was the right creative choice, though he does sound a little wistful to have never appeared on the show. Still, as he mentions, it’s not like he’ll have to live on through his books alone. In Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, the esteemed fantasy author appears, utters no lines, and has his head bitten off by a shark. A bloody death, indeed.

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