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

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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Mind the Gap and Facebook Stole My Childhood

Many of us working with children and young people will be in Sheffield this week at the The Children’s Media Conference. I’m talking there alongside children’s digital whizz David Squire from DESQ about meeting the media needs of early adolescents. Our session Mind the Gap will be on Thursday at 2-3pm and again on Friday at 12.45 – 1.30 pm. In this David and I explore who early adolescents (10-14 14 year olds) are and…
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The Bailey Review – The Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood

In Family Kids and Youth’s research carried out for the Bailey Review on behalf of Credos – the independent research arm of the Advertising Association) parental fears centred on their child’s future: their education, their future job prospects, and social concerns such as drugs and violence. This seemed to override concerns about advertising and marketing to children, although clearly this was an issue for some parents. Parents did express unease about the lack of control…
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Children are people too

The research I carried out for my doctorate at Cambridge highlighted the naivety and trust children have in what is completely natural for them – communicating on-line. Our recent research has shown just how vulnerable young children might be. We have observed 5 year olds talking to ‘friends’ online. While this may be completely innocent what is a concern is that frequently parents are unaware of what their children are doing. This is not neglect…
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Kids and Youth Conference – Part 1

The MRS conference held last week in London took us on a journey from small children engaging with the DUKTIG range at IKEA, through the story of today’s digital kids, questions about ethics, and onto the raw and challenging world of teenage street drinkers in Tower Hamlets. Unfortunately Saher Sidhom from Great Works was unable to Chair as planned because his father was taken seriously ill. I was asked to step in at the last…
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