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Learning to build a positive digital footprint

Rather than just teaching children about internet safety and reducing their digital footprint, we should also encourage them to curate a positive digital footprint which will be an asset for them in their future. Today’s children are prolific users of the internet. Concern has been raised about the future impact of the digital footprints they are generating. While much discussion of this issue focuses on keeping children safe, little is known about how children manage their digital footprints. While digital footprints are considered to be a liability, if managed well they can be an asset. Digital footprints can showcase identity, skills and interests. This is important in an era where employers “google” candidates to check their identity and verify their suitability. In this context, having no digital footprint can Click here to continue reading.

Study habits for success: tips for students

Right now, thousands of Australian school children are taking a well-earned break from the classroom. Long breaks like this help us clear our minds, but they can also provide an opportunity to prepare for the learning year ahead. If you’re a student, this might mean thinking about your study habits. Here are some suggestions to help you learn as efficiently as possible. Focus! And don’t multi-task Our brains are impressive machines, but they can’t handle everything at once. There is simply too much going on in our sensory environment for us to digest. To be effective, we need to direct our attention to just one or two tasks at a time. That generally means no background music – it won’t help Click here to continue reading.

Boredom busters can include a little learning

The hype and festivities of Christmas are over, the New Year has been rung in and children across Australia have been on school holidays for weeks – boredom is starting to bite. With kids eager to keep their minds and bodies active over the holidays parents can struggle with finding activities and events to keep them entertained, engaged and happy. Western Sydney University Mathematics Education Professor Catherine Attard says calls of boredom from holidaying children should signal to parents that their sons and daughters need some “physical or mental activity to keep them occupied and to vent energy, just like needing food to satisfy feelings of hunger.” In an article for the Conversation, A/Prof. Attard says there are many problems Click here to continue reading.

Balancing the scales of social media use – good vs bad

Young people spend a lot of time on social media. They’re also more susceptible to peer pressure, low self-esteem and mental ill-health. A number of studies have found associations between increased social media use and depression, anxiety, sleep problems, eating concerns, and suicide risk. Certain characteristics of social media may contribute to these negative effects. Cyberbullying Cyberbullying has been linked to depression, anxiety, social isolation, and suicide. Compared to “traditional” forms of bullying, cyberbullying can be witnessed by a larger audience, the perpetrator can remain anonymous, and the victim may find it difficult to escape. Social media platforms have taken steps to address cyberbullying (such as Facebook’s bullying prevention hub), and almost all social media content can be reported to Click here to continue reading.

Kids digital usage limits need rethinking

Digital guidelines for children have been challenged by new research from Oxford University which has found no consistent link between digital usage limits and children’s wellbeing. Lead author Oxford Internet Institute’s Dr Andrew Pryzbylski said the findings suggested there was “little or no support for the theory that digital screen use, on its own, is bad for young children’s psychological wellbeing.” “If anything, our findings suggest the broader family context, how parents set rules about digital screen time, and if they’re actively engaged in exploring the digital world together – are more important than raw screen time,” Dr Pryzbylski said. “Future research should focus on how using digital devices with parents or care-givers and turning it into a social time Click here to continue reading.

Teaching preschoolers internet safety

Fifteen years ago, parents and caregivers did not have to worry about teaching pre-school aged children about internet safety. A new report prepared for the Children’s Commissioner of England suggests this time has passed. Children now live in a digital age, which means internet access is a daily part of life for many young children around the world. Touchscreen technologies have changed how accessible the internet is for very young children, particularly between the ages of four and five. It’s now quicker and easier to connect to the internet using these technologies, as they don’t require the same level of fine motor and literacy skills used to navigate a mouse and keyboard. More recently, the Internet of Things has become Click here to continue reading.

Bedtime routine key to best start

What happens in the early years of a person’s life has a profound effect on how they fare later on. Thousands of research papers – many of them using the rich data in the British Birth Cohort studies – have shown that children who get a poor start in life are much more likely to experience difficulties as adults; whether that’s to do with poor health, or their ability to enjoy work and family life. Ensuring that children get enough sleep is one of a number of ways to get them off to the best possible start in life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that toddlers should get roughly 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. For children aged three to five years, Click here to continue reading.

Boredom is not a bad word – it’s an opportunity

As the summer school break approaches at speed, parents are beginning to question how fast the first dreaded “I’m bored!” will be uttered by their sons. Play dates, movies, park adventures and Christmas celebrations are all at the ready, yet there is still plenty of time for young boys (and older ones) to complain about a lack of “stuff to do” – and it seems that’s ok. Researchers and psychologists see a child’s ability to deal with boredom as a challenge which can affect their coping skills as adults. Key skills in managing those “boring” moments need to be developed in childhood to help in adulthood when boredom needs to be dealt with without complaint or tantrum. Nature Play WA Click here to continue reading.

Science at home boosts learning

Did you know that children spend just 14 per cent of their waking time between Kindergarten and the end of Grade 12 in school? Given this startling statistic, it comes as no surprise that much of children’s learning happens “out there” –  in the playground, during extracurricular activities, at a museum, on a walk, via the media, and, perhaps most importantly, at home. I have worked for decades to engage parents because I believe that families and schools have much to learn from and share with each other. Schools have formal knowledge of teaching and learning, curriculum, assessment and evaluation. And parents know their children’s motivations, skills and interests. The research also shows that informal environments including the home – Click here to continue reading.

Breaking stereotypes: boys and emotions

Emotions and boys – pairing these two words conjures up many old-fashioned stereotypes young men today are still grappling with as they try to understand how to deal with and show their emotions effectively. Decades past, boys were told to “man up” and “take it on the chin”, to “stop crying, you wuss” and “take it like a man”. Despite society having advanced into the modern day with vast research into boys and their emotions, these harsh stereotypes still linger – making it difficult for boys to trust they can show their emotions openly without negative consequences. Sitting on the sidelines of an U14s cricket match, a prime example of the different ways boys deal with and communicate their emotions Click here to continue reading.