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Keep informed with news, articles and stories about all things related to children, young people and families.


Children in Chile

An invitation to Chile this month to talk about child development and the beneficial effects of music to children’s social, emotional and cognitive progress was the result of our report on Children and Music prepared for Unilever. Supporting Unilever’s CSR initiative with Unicef, children from a poor area of Santiago played in a superbly produced ‘swing band’ at the launch of the report. Questions from the audience that included representatives of children’s organisations, business, politicians…
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Tablet Schools: inspiring schools and inspiring leadership

In our recent research we have been visiting UK schools that use one-to-one tablet computers. Research has included ethnography, focus groups and individual interviews with pupils, teachers and parents. A noticeable characteristic of these schools is the inspiring leadership and innovative thinking that has led to the adoption of one-to-one devices. While undoubtedly a big commitment and one that requires a big investment on the part of the school, including ensuring that there is sufficient…
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Children need recognition and acceptance

Much has been written about the Tiger Mother, and the term ‘helicopter parenting’ appears to be ubiquitous. But what exactly does this mean, and why is there such questioning about the style of parenting adopted globally? Constant, demanding attention on the part of an over-ambitious (and over-anxious) parent is not healthy for children. While they need encouragement to learn and to thrive, children also need space and privacy. Parenting styles have always differed across cultures,…
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Allowing children the freedom to play outside

The Nation Trust’s campaign to allow children the freedom the play is something that resonates with much of the work we have done over the last few years. The ’50 things to do before you are 11 ¾’ campaign sums up beautifully the ability of a charitable organisation to promote behavioural change amongst children and families. Based on research carried out by the Trust, the campaign provides a checklist for under 12’s to get active…
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Should commercial researchers be more academic, or should academics be more commercial?

Ethical committees in Universities are challenging and questioning about the way research is carried out, especially in relation to vulnerable participants, and research with children. Some of the post-graduate students I’ve supervised over the last few years with subjects that centre on child development and wellbeing have steered clear of certain topics, or even avoided doing research with children at all for fear of being turned down by ethics committees. Which raises the question about…
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Kids as Consumers

There is little heard now about ‘Pester Power’ or the ‘Nag Factor’, but these were terms frequently used a few years back by marketers. Happening on a brochure from a very old conference about marketing to children, held in a southern European city, it is clear from this that the message appeared to be ‘how do we persuade kids to buy, or pester their parents to buy for them’. It is refreshing, and probably says…
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Conferences, and myth busting about kids and digital

I attended an excellent conference yesterday at the British Library (yesterday was ‘Super Thursday’, the day booksellers rush out titles for Christmas). Organised by The Bookseller, the Children’s Conference looked at the digital landscape for children and considered how this is impacting on print media; the conference had a thoughtful and receptive audience as well as insightful co-speakers. I presented key findings from our Digital Family Kids and Youth research. It is the season of…
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What is poor parenting?

An American commentator said yesterday that a couple of months ago England was viewed as the land of Harry Potter and royal weddings, and now it is apparently the land of anarchy. He has a point. It is shocking to see bored and disillusioned children and teenagers behaving on our urban streets in a way that is more like Lord of the Flies than helpful, clever, Harry Potter. William Golding’s novel describes children stranded on…
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5 a day – tips on parenting – helpful or prescriptive?

Giving tips on parenting is always a difficult area, but the news that the Coalition Government is thinking of rolling out a national campaign to help under-performing children was bound to prompt criticism (see The Telegraph as an example). This has been based on the Lib-Dem’s think tank ‘The CentreForum’s report’ which suggests a ‘5-a-day’ guideline to effective parenting. It might be the name that is unfortunate. There have been many comments over the last…
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‘Too fast, too soon’ : becoming a teenager too early

More evidence emerges of children’s (unhealthy?) engagement with digital. Research released today from charities Family Lives and Drinkaware shows that 87% of parents think children are experiencing ‘teenage’ issues before their teens. We know from our recent research for The Bailey Review on behalf of Credos that parents are very worried that their children are exposed to media content that is too old for them, but feel helpless to stop it. We have long been…
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