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Reading Magic Project – reading to pre-schoolers is in decline

An intervention carried out by our team at Family Kids & Youth on behalf of Egmont Publishing UK was published this week. The research sought to understand how parents could be encouraged to read more to their pre-school children.  Egmont commissioned the project in light of The Nielson Report which found that the number of pre-school children being read to daily has dropped from 69% to 51% since 2013. Egmont Publishing wanted to investigate what could be done to encourage more families to read with their children aged 3-4. Our researchers closely followed 12 families from October to December 2017, to study parents’ attitudes and behaviour towards reading to their 3-4-year-old. The research included in-home ethnography before and after the intervention, as well as focus groups. The families were sent books each week for six weeks, with hints and tips on how to improve engagement when reading with their child. Children and parents were then invited to WHSmith to attend a ‘Storytime’ session every Sunday for a further six weeks, at which our professional storyteller read to the children. The research found that the intervention created positive behaviour change across the families, with parents gaining considerable insight into the way in which children can be engaged with reading at a young age. In some cases, reading books replaced the use of digital devices. The findings of the ‘Reading Magic Project’ can be found here.

FK&Y and IKEA talk at the MRS Kids and Youth Research conference on 25th January

This year’s MRS Kids & Youth Research conference is focusing on all things Generation Z, looking at young people’s media habits and how to engage and co-create with this new generation of consumers.

Dr Barbie Clarke from Family Kids & Youth will be presenting with Magnus Thuvesson from Children’s IKEA about our ongoing research with children and the methodology that puts children at the centre of everything IKEA does.

Event details: MRS Kids & Youth Research conference – ‘Engage, empower and inspire Generation Z’. See the full programme and get tickets here. #mrslive @TweetMRS

Talk details: ‘How IKEA puts children at the centre of design’. The talk presents a case study of our ‘IKEA Kids’ Advisory Panel’, a panel that includes face-to-face workshops, ‘store tours’ and regular updates from the children telling us about their lives. Barbie and Magnus explain how IKEA approach their most important customers, and talk about how the findings are fed into the Children’s IKEA team and help to develop and co-create innovative new products.

When & where: Thursday 25th January, 11:50am, Etc.venues, Riverside Building, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB

About our talk: Children’s IKEA was launched 20 years ago, and it takes children and their lives very seriously, putting them at the centre of all it does. Family Kids & Youth has worked closely with them since 2009, interviewing over 30,000 children and parents in 12 countries to discover what play means to children and their families. More recently IKEA has set up the IKEA Kids’ Advisory Panel with children around the world. We communicate with the Panel face-to-face, taking them on ‘store tours’ using go-pro cameras, and film, and through using regular online communication, asking children to tell us about their lives. Having children work closely with Children’s IKEA allows for co-creation and instant feedback, and a deeper understanding of how children think and behave. The children can tell us about their everyday activities, their hopes and dreams, and the practicalities of their lives. In our talk we explain about the methodology used, and, importantly how the findings are fed into the 80-strong Children’s IKEA team, and the impact this has had on the way Children’s IKEA has developed.

New website to help children navigate the internet

The BBC has launched a new website that aims to help children develop the skills and confidence they need to navigate the digital world. ‘Own It’ was announced by the Duke of Cambridge at the Children’s Global Media Summit in Manchester this week and is a result of the work done by The Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce. Children taking part in the research carried out by Family Kids & Youth for the Taskforce identified the need for a ‘one stop shop’ for information and advice. The new web portal is aimed at 9-12 year olds and includes tips, stories and advice to help them get the most out of their time online and stay safe. Alice Webb, Director, BBC Children’s, says: “The internet is full of exciting opportunities for young people, but it also throws up complex emotional and practical challenges that they are not always equipped to deal with. We want to help them get the most out of their digital lives, in safe, fun and creative ways. Own It does that brilliantly.”  The BBC is working with an advisory network of partners including The Royal Foundation, Childline, Young Minds and The Diana Award to ensure the website covers the wide range of topics and issues affecting children online, ranging from cyberbullying, online privacy and avoiding malware, to dealing with everyday dilemmas. ‘Own It’ marks the start of the BBC’s £34 million investment in children services and content across three years, helping to give children the confidence and resilience to tackle the challenges they face online.

Prince William launches anti-bullying plan to combat ‘banter escalation scenarios’

Our research on behalf of The Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce showed that young people are reluctant to admit to bullying, often referring to distressing online experiences as ‘banter’ when in fact it is bullying. The Taskforce, which includes ISPs, social media giants and charities such as the NSPCC and Diana Award has worked hard to put together this new project aimed at keeping children safe online, with the slogan ‘Stop, Speak, Support’. Social media companies such as Facebook and Snapchat have already begun to adapt their sites with the help of the NSPCC, to allow direct support for their users in ‘the event of a banter escalation scenario’.

Details of the Cyberbullying Taskforce’s new initiative can be found here. A short video has been released to announce and support this project, which can be viewed below.

FK&Y and Children’s IKEA to present at the MRS Kids and Youth Insights Conference

Dr Barbie Clarke from Family Kids & Youth and Magnus Thyvesson from Children’s IKEA will be presenting at the MRS Kids and Youth Insight Conference this January about how IKEA puts children at the centre of design.

Children’s IKEA was launched 20 years ago, and it takes children and their lives very seriously, putting them at the centre of everything it does. Family Kids & Youth has worked closely with IKEA since 2009 and most recently set up a panel of children aged 8-14 from around the world to learn more about the everyday lives, interests, hopes and dreams of children in this age group.

Having the panel work closely with Children’s IKEA allows for co-creation and instant feedback, and a deeper understanding of how children think and behave. The findings of the research informs and inspires the 80-strong Children’s IKEA team, helping them to develop and deliver innovative new products that have children at their heart.

FK&Y and Children’s IKEA will be discussing the IKEA Kids’ Advisory Panel at the Kids and Youth Insights Conference which takes places in London on 25th January 2018.

CWB article outlines FK&Y research into the impact of school uniform

An article from CWB features findings from FK&Y research conducted on behalf of the Schoolwear Association this year. Focus groups were conducted with 50 Essex school children, from ages 11 through to 14. The article highlights findings that show uniforms in schools support self-confidence, as part of a community identity.

You can read the full article here.

Children confirm school uniform helps reduce anxiety about appearance

FK&Y moves to Notting Hill

Today we have moved to our new offices in Notting Hill! We have many enterprising companies as neighbours, including Cath Kidston, Five Guys, Me & Em, MOD Pizza, alongside Egmont Publishing and Talk Talk.

Our new address is: Family Kids & Youth, 146 Freston Road, London W10 6TR

FK&Y and Egmont Publishing present their research today and tomorrow to the Children’s Media Conference, Sheffield

Can reading improve children’s self-esteem?

The presentation describes an 6-week intervention carried out last summer with the aim to encourage reluctant readers to read more. Working with bookseller Foyles, families were given book tokens so that children could choose new books each week, together with a family coffee voucher. Although the intervention only lasted 6 weeks, a significant change was found in attitude to reading, children’s level of confidence and family time spent together. The research, which included in-home ethnography, in-store focus groups, Skype calls and behaviour change questionnaires has tracked the families for a year. Children have maintained reading habits and there has been a noticeable growth in their levels of confidence about reading, something that has been observed by the children’s teachers. The children’s reading levels have improved, with teachers noting that they are more engaged in lessons, asking more questions and taking part in discussion. This has been a surprise to some parents, who are extremely proud of the change that has been brought about. Praise from both parents and teachers has resulted in a growth in children’s self-esteem and level of confidence. A fuller description of the research can be found on the Egmont website here.


FK&Y publishes its research for the Royal Foundation’s Cyberbullying Taskforce

Research carried out by FK&Y for the Cyberbullying Taskforce illustrates what steps children and young people would like industry, parents and schools to take to prevent cyberbullying taking place.

Cyberbullying can impact the mental health of children and young people. The Cyberbullying Taskforce was set up by the Duke of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation in May 2016, bringing together industry and experts to develop a single up-to-date resource providing practical support, advice and information for those affected by cyberbullying.

A key finding is that not all young people recognise cyberbullying. Whilst over half (55%) reported experiencing something online that had upset or really hurt them, nearly two-thirds of these young people (65%) did not define these experiences as cyberbullying. Young people’s negative experiences online are frequent and recurrent – particularly amongst girls.
Download the qualitative research here.
Download the quantitative research here.

Egmont’s Print Matters More research praised as ‘inspirational’

Research carried out by FK&Y for Egmont Publishing, in collaboration with Foyles Bookshops in the UK, has received much praise, including from children’s author Michael Morpurgo.

Egmont has published a summary of findings from the research, which was an intervention with 15 families with children aged 7-9, all of whom, like many families, were reluctant readers in some way, either because children were disengaged, or because parents were time poor. Many parents were no longer reading with their children.

Using an ethnographic methodology, families were observed over the summer holidays, with FK&Y researchers visiting and filming in-home. During this time families were given a weekly £10 voucher to spend at their local Foyles Bookshop in Bristol, Birmingham and Stratford East. By the end of the holidays, children and parents had found a real connection with reading, and with visiting the book shop where staff were friendly and welcoming. Following the summer holiday intervention, families were interviewed again in October (half term) and early January this year.

The programme has had a profound impact on relationships between parent and child; spending quality time reading together created a deep emotional connection. Despite having felt some initial trepidation, the families loved taking part, visiting the bookshop, and finding a new enjoyment in the process of reading. Children’s confidence in reading grew and parents too were reminded of the joy of reading.

Children’s author Michael Morpurgo commented

‘Print Matters More is such a vitally important initiative’.

Joy Court, Chair of CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals added

‘Egmont’s Print Matters More research is really important. In depth research with real families with children struggling to read. The impact of the intervention not just on the reading but on the quality of family relationships is moving and inspirational. There is much that policy makers concerned with reading and literacy should learn from this.’

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Family Kids & Youth LLP
London Office:
146 Freston Rd
London W10 6TR

Tel: +44 (0)207 183 0261


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