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Aunts Play a Crucial Role in Every Child’s Life, and Here’s Why

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If you’re lucky enough to have an aunt, you know how cool she is. She is a loyal friend who is equal parts support, joy, and fun. Aunts are very important people in the life of every child, playing no less a part than parents and grandparents. And it’s not just about being a family member, it’s about making the effort to occupy a special place in the lives of their nieces and nephews.

We at Bright Side value family relationships and want to draw your attention to the role of the aunt, which is sometimes not a simple role to fill, but nevertheless can be really impactful. Aunties are great and here is some proof.

The aunt is one of the few people who knows a child from birth and, accordingly, she often acts as a babysitter, knows their habits, and participates in their upbringing. Who better for parents to entrust their baby with, than a family member? Aunties, grannies, and grandpas are always ready to take care of the children in their lives, but the aunt has more endurance than the grandparents. This allows her to respond to the moods and whims of the child less emotionally.

Despite her adult age, the aunt can act as a friend. The fact that she is not the child’s parent allows her to communicate with them on an equal footing and to find a common language while still remaining an authority in the eyes of the child. And when the aunt sees the kid as a best friend, it’s so easy to have fun and fool around together, while creating pleasant and warm memories.

Since children are sometimes afraid of how parents might react to this or that news, it’s easier for them to talk about their problems with another person. And at this moment, it’s the aunt’s turn to impartially listen to the child, without anger, disappointment, or accusation. Afterward, she will be able to give valuable advice based on her rich life experience, provide support, and help the child deal with problematic situations.

The presence of the aunt in a child’s life allows them to form family values. The child follows the example of their parents who are close friends with their sisters, and they see them as role models in forming and understanding family relationships. They will even try to communicate in the same way with their siblings and other family members. And what could be more valuable than strong bonds with loved ones?

The aunt knows the child’s parents very well, so she can tell the child a lot about them. By sharing memories and stories about their childhood and youth, the aunt is able to strengthen her relationship with the child. She allows them to look at their parents with different eyes and learn some interesting facts that make the child understand their parents and get to know their lives better. And let’s be honest, the stories about our parents’ youth, especially without them being there to censor them, are extremely exciting and interesting.

And as long as the aunt knows both parents and the child, she can act as a mediator. Generational problems can happen in families sometimes. Parents don’t know how to talk to their children, and the children in turn believe that their elders don’t understand them. And the aunt can try to convey to each side the wishes and claims of the other. She doesn’t participate in this dispute and therefore she sees the situation from the sidelines. In this case, both the parents and the children will listen to her, as she is an adult and a friend at the same time.

It’s also important for the aunt who has children to provide the child with friends and playmates. They can spend time at their grandparents together, learn the history of their family, and just have fun gathering in the family circle. And, if the aunt has no children, then it’s the kid’s turn to help her. Childless aunts find that their nephews and nieces are an opportunity for them to give their love, care, and tenderness to children, without having their own little ones.

The role of the aunt in the child’s life can’t be overemphasized. She is important, she is part of their family and life, and she will always be there for her nephews and nieces. She loves them and there is no need to wait for a special occasion to tell her that this love is mutual.

Do you have an aunt or maybe you already have nephews and nieces yourself? What is the relationship like between the 2 of you? Share your story with us in the comments.

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Look at How Much “Game of Thrones” Characters Have Changed Over 8 Seasons

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During the summer of 2019, the final season of Game of Thrones aired. The show had gone on for almost 10 years which is a long time not only for the characters but also for the actors who portrayed them.

Bright Side is remembering what characters looked like in the very first episodes of the groundbreaking series and is comparing them to what they look like in the final season of the show.

1. Cersei Lannister

2. Jon Snow

3. Tyrion Lannister

4. Daenerys Targaryen

5. Sansa Stark

6. Arya Stark

7. Jorah Mormont

8. Varys

9. Jaime Lannister

10. Sandor Clegane

11. Brienne of Tarth

12. Samwell Tarly

13. Davos Seaworth

14. Theon Greyjoy

15. Brandon Stark

Did you watch Game of Thrones? Did you enjoy season 8? Tell us in the comment section below.

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Baltimore’s ransomware attack, explained – Vox

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Thirteen bitcoins are standing between the city of Baltimore and many of the services and processes its citizens rely on after hackers seized thousands of government computers at the start of the month. The ordeal has been going on for two weeks, and there’s no clear end in sight.

Here’s what’s happening: On May 7, hackers digitally seized about 10,000 Baltimore government computers and demanded around $100,000 worth in bitcoins to free them back up. It’s a so-called “ransomware” attack, where hackers deploy malicious software to block access to or take over a computer system until the owner of that system pays a ransom.

Baltimore, like several other cities that have been hit by such attacks over the past two years, is refusing to pay up. As a result, for two weeks, city employees have been locked out of their email accounts and citizens have been unable to access essential services, including websites where they pay their water bills, property taxes, and parking tickets. This is Baltimore’s second ransomware attack in about 15 months: Last year, a separate attack shut down the city’s 911 system for about a day. Baltimore has come under scrutiny for its handling of both attacks.

The ransomware attacks in Baltimore and other local governments across the US demonstrate that as ransomware attacks spread, and as common targets such as hospitals and schools beef up their online systems’ security, there are still plenty targets vulnerable to this kind of hack. It also exemplifies the conundrum that ransomware victims face: pay up and get your access back, or refuse — potentially costing much more in the long run.

What’s going on in Baltimore, briefly explained

Hackers targeted the city of Baltimore on May 7 using a ransomware called RobbinHood, which, as NPR explains, makes it impossible to access a server without a digital key that only the hackers have.

The Baltimore hackers’ ransom note, obtained by the Baltimore Sun, demanded payment of three bitcoins per system to be unlocked, which amounts to 13 bitcoins to unlock all the seized systems. The note threatened to increase the ransom if it wasn’t paid in four days, and said the information would be lost forever if it wasn’t paid in 10 days. Both deadlines have now passed.

“We won’t talk more, all we know is MONEY! Hurry up! Tik Tak, Tik Tak, Tik Tak!” the note said.

The city government is refusing to pay, meaning that the government email systems and payment platforms the attack took down remain offline. The attack has also harmed Baltimore’s property market, because officials weren’t able to access systems needed to complete real estate sales. (The city said transactions resumed on Monday.)

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young, who’s officially been in his office less than a month, said in a statement on Friday that city officials are “well into the restorative process” and have “engaged leading industry cybersecurity experts who are on-site 24-7 working with us.” The FBI is also involved in the investigation.

“Some of the restoration efforts also require that we rebuild certain systems to make sure that when we restore business functions, we are doing so in a secure manner,” Young said. He did not offer a timeline for when all systems will come back online.

The Baltimore City Council president also plans to form a special committee to investigate this latest attack and try to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

A similar attack using RobbinHood hit government computers in Greenville, North Carolina, in April. A spokesperson for Greenville told the Wall Street Journal that the city never wound up paying, and that while its systems aren’t entirely restored, “all of our major technology needs are now being met.”

More than 20 municipalities in the US have been hit by cyberattacks this year alone. And such attacks can be expensive, perhaps especially if targets say they won’t pay. In 2018, hackers demanded that Atlanta pay about $50,000 in bitcoins as part of a ransomware attack. The city refused, and according to a report obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News, the attack wound up costing the city $17 million to fix.

Ransomware attacks aren’t new — but we’re still figuring out how to deal with them

In 2017, a ransomware called WannaCry targeted tens of thousands of computers using Microsoft Windows operating systems in more than 100 countries. Officials in the US and the United Kingdom eventually blamed North Korea for the attack. Also in 2017, corporations in the UK, France, Russia, Israel, and Ukraine experienced ransomware attacks. US hospitals were also targeted.

Here’s how Timothy Lee explained for Vox what was going on and how ransomware had become more prolific:

The basic idea behind ransomware is simple: A criminal hacks into your computer, scrambles your files with unbreakable encryption, and then demands that you pay for the encryption key needed to unscramble the files. If you have important files on your computer, you might be willing to pay a lot to avoid losing them.

Ransomware schemes have become a lot more effective since the invention of Bitcoin in 2009. Conventional payment networks like Visa and Mastercard make it difficult to accept payments without revealing your identity. Bitcoin makes that a lot easier. So the past four years have seen a surge in ransomware schemes striking unsuspecting PC users.

Some ransomware schemes are so sophisticated that they even invest in customer service, helping victims who want to pay their ransoms navigate the complexities of obtaining bitcoins and making bitcoin payments.

Since then, a number of sectors and organizations have made improvements to their security practices to protect against ransomware. But the latest Baltimore attack exemplifies what a whack-a-mole game this is: One area improves its practices and hackers just go looking for another.


Recode and Vox have joined forces to uncover and explain how our digital world is changing — and changing us. Subscribe to Recode podcasts to hear Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka lead the tough conversations the technology industry needs today.

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Cameron Russell for ELLE

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A film by Kai Z Feng of our February 2014 cover.

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