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FK&Y research for Egmont Publishing highlights the importance of story time for children

FK&Y has been working closely with St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Stoke-on-Trent for the past 6 months (September 2018 to February 2019) to explore the impact of reading aloud to children in-school for Egmont’s ‘Stories and Choices’ intervention. Evidence shows that being read to aloud can prompt a greater love of reading and improve children’s emotional wellbeing, but that after the age of eight children are less likely to be read to by parents and teachers. To facilitate learning and a love of reading, Egmont provided St Joseph’s with a generous selection of books for teachers to read to their Key Stage 2 classes (7-11 year old’s) for 20 minutes each day. Egmont also provided magazines for children to take home each week.

The FK&Y team carried out workshops in the school with all Key Stage 2 children and separate teacher focus groups in 3 stages – before, half way through, and after the intervention, as well as in-home interviews with eight children and their parents pre and post-intervention. The purpose was to explore in-depth attitudes towards reading, books and magazines and the way in which this changed throughout the intervention. Results were presented in London yesterday by Egmont’s Alison David at the publisher’s excellent 2019 Annual Insight Presentation with over 200 delegates attending.

The results of the intervention were very positive, with teachers seeing a marked improvement in children’s enthusiasm for reading, and reading ages increasing by 10 months on average – twice what would be expected.  Laura Hamilton, Headteacher at St Joseph remarked, “it is no secret that the primary curriculum is jam-packed and some days it was a struggle to fit in story time, but the benefits were clearly evident”. As a result of the research, Egmont is calling on the government to make space for reading on the school curriculum and is urging daily story time to be an intrinsic part of the school day right up until teens – see #Don’tStopAtEight@EgmontUK. Giving teachers the time to read to children aloud, without any accompanying work or exercises, is the key to encouraging a love of reading for pleasure and the benefits to children’s wellbeing that come from this. For details of the research see here.

Read more in The Guardian here, and TES here.

We would like to thank the staff and children at St Joseph’s for their commitment to the task and for allowing our research team to take time out of the school’s busy days to take part in the research.

FK&Y presented new research at Ofcom’s children’s research event, on the impact that social media and gaming has on children’s lives and wellbeing

Dr Barbie Clarke presented FK&Y’s new research on the impact that social media and gaming has on children’s lives and wellbeing at Ofcom’s ‘Making Sense of Media’ event on Tuesday 29th January, hosted by Sharon White, Ofcom’s Chief Executive. The research found that children and young people can get upset if parents break their own rules when it comes to going online and using tech devices.The presentation can be found here.

Barbie also took part in the expert panel which discussed how children can be protected online, the need for global co-operation, and what more needs to happen to reach a safe place for children and young people online. The event brought together representatives from government, academia, research agencies, the voluntary sector and the media industry to showcase and debate the very latest research on children’s relationship with media today.

The new research is part of a large study the FK&Y team is carrying out (the ‘Wellbeing and the Internet Study’) looking at 7-17 year olds’ hopes and aspirations, attitude to gaming and social networking, and to the news. It is also looking at their experience online, both good and bad, what makes them happy and what worries them. It explores their relationship with their parents, with friends, and with school.

Parenting in the digital age

Dr Barbie Clarke talks to Sunday Times journalist Lizzie Catt who spent a week as a ‘digital teenager’, learning how young people today get their news and current affairs.

With a world full of fake news and dramatic stories, parents can be concerned that their teenagers are vulnerable. However, from the time spent with them Lizzie finds that there is a drive from teenagers to find the real news; they are not to be duped or feel foolish. They check google news, speak to their parents and their teachers.

Barbie agrees with this, and points out that most teens communicate regularly with their parents, “they are communicating with each other almost minute to minute, and most parents are in touch with their children via social media”

The 3rd December article can be found here.

How do young people really use social media?

FK&Y are delighted to be presenting new research at the MRS Kids and Youth Research Conference 24 January 2019

Dr Barbie Clarke will be presenting with Lucy Gradillas from mental health charity, Shout, looking at FK&Y’s brand new research that explores children, young people, social media and mental health. We took a new approach to finding out how young people are behaving online.

The Kids & Youth Research Conference looks at new approaches to understanding youth culture and explores how big issues around health, wellbeing, deprivation and online safety are being navigated by young people and how they can be better supported by their families, public services and brands.

Event Details:  MRS Kids and Youth Research Conference. See the full programme and get tickets here. #mrslive @TweetMRS

When and where:  Thursday 24th January 2019, Radisson Blu Edwardian, 9-13 Bloomsbury Street, WC1B 3QD, 09:00 -17:15

Dr Barbie Clarke discusses the need to be aware of what children are doing online and their emotional wellbeing

The article from Campaign Asia explains how today’s kids are better than those of previous generations at talking about what’s going on in their emotional lives. Dr Clarke comments on the responsibility of gaming and social media brands to provide more information to help parents become aware of when they need to step in to protect the welfare of their children.

The article also looks at the way in which Children’s IKEA keeps in touch with children through the IKEA Kids’ Panel, presented at the MRS Kids & Youth Conference in London by IKEA’s Magnus Thuvesson and FK&Y’s Barbie Clarke.

You can read the full article here.

School Uniform helps children’s self-confidence  

Family Kids &Youth carried out research for the Schoolwear Association, which revealed fascinating insights into how school uniform helps to reduce children’s anxiety about their appearance and fitting in with their peers.  As one Year 9 student told the researchers: “With uniform, you can’t be judged. Without uniform, everyone would be competing about what the style is, what the trend is, what you need to wear. I think there’d be more bullying as well and it would be more stress in the morning.”

Lead researcher for Family Kids & Youth, Barbie Clarke said: “School uniform seems to play an important role in establishing identity among young people of this age. It can protect adolescents from being picked on. This creates a greater degree of self-confidence, and ultimately helps with the fundamental adolescent need to be accepted by others.


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.

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