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


#ToyLikeMe campaign inspires first ever LEGO toy in wheelchair

LEGO has released its first mini-figure in a wheelchair after a Change.org petition launched last year called #ToyLikeMe received over 20,000 signatures. Journalist Rebecca Atkinson, co-founder of the petition, argued that LEGO was excluding ‘150 million disabled children worldwide by failing to positively represent them in its products’. The figure was spotted at the Nuremburg and London toy fairs wearing a beanie, hoodie and with a small dog. Australian academic Katie Ellis stressed the importance…
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Commercialisation and Childhood: Resilience, Responsibility, and Media Literacy

FK&Y spoke this week at the Policy UK Forum conference about the way in which children and young people want support to use the internet responsibly and the way in which families feel digital is taking over family communication. Drawing on our research for the IKEA Play Report which interviewed nearly 30,000 parents, children and young people in 12 countries, Heidi Hasbrouck, lead ethnographer at FK&Y, illustrated that two in five parents and young people…
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As we approach Christmas, MD Dr Barbie Clarke sums up our year…

2015 has been an excellent year for us with increased growth in revenue and the size of our team. We are very proud of the publication of the IKEA Play Report and look forward to working with the IKEA children’s team once again next year. Our literature review for the Committee of Advertising Practitioners (CAP) on online food and beverage marketing to children was published in February. Also in February, education charity Techknowledge for Schools…
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OECD report on technology in schools faces critique from head teachers

A global report by the OECD claims investing in school computers does not improve student performance. The report argues instead that frequent use of computers is associated with lower results. The findings are based on the international PISA tests, which are taken in 70 countries worldwide. The OECD’s education director Andreas Schleicher however states that the report’s findings should not be used as an excuse not to use technology, but rather as a prompt to…
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Study finds over-controlling parenting can cause long term harm

A study which tracked more than 5,000 people born between the 1940s and present day has explored the relationship between parenting and wellbeing. The University College London (UCL) study found that parents who exerted too much control over their children could be causing them long term harm. People who reported that their parents had intruded on their privacy during childhood or encouraged dependence were more likely to have low scores in surveys of happiness and…
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Children have a key role in teaching families about healthy eating, says the NHS

According to the National Health Service in the UK, children have an important role to play in teaching families about healthy eating and obesity. The medical director of the NHS has encouraged the British government to make education its key focus in tackling obesity. The statement was made after a key government advisor on childhood obesity, Professor Susan Jebb, suggested that schools have an important role to play in teaching children about obesity, with the…
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Should schools teach mindfulness?

Meditation has been found to offer significant health benefits and to be effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety and pain. Research is now examining the usefulness of teaching mindfulness and meditation in schools. One school found that teaching yoga and meditation to students significantly lowered their levels of the stress hormone cortisol while other schools found positive effects on attendance, performance and a lowering of suspension rates. Further studies have found a positive impact…
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Has Digital Killed Play?: Part 1 – The Importance of Play

Play has an important role in children’s lives, not only as a means to act out key events in a child’s life, but also as a way to escape difficult emotions. Piaget (1962) wrote: “We can be sure that all happenings, pleasant or unpleasant, in the child’s life, will have repercussions on its dolls” But play is not just important to younger children. The period of early adolescence (10-14) is a key age to learn…
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Has Digital Killed Play: Part 2 – The Place of Digital in Play

So are children playing less because of the widespread adoption of digital devices? Two recent research studies carried out by FK&Y show not. Despite concern about the time children spend online, there is evidence to show that parents are taking a sensible view of the place of digital in their children’s lives. The IKEA Play Report was carried out in 2015 by FK&Y in 12 countries and interviewed nearly 30,000 parents, children aged 7-12 and…
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Hashtags and emojis – How social media influences children’s use of language

The internet and social media are having a profound impact on how children communicate and express themselves, offline as well as online. While it is often assumed that social media and text speech will have a detrimental effect on young people’s communication skills, others argue that children use these new additions to the English language in a creative and innovative way. Oxford University Press recently announced ‘hashtag’, the term for the symbol ‘#’ used to…
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