Wednesday, 27 July, 2022

Selling kids junk on TikTok; a new wandering walrus; the police hunting marauding monkeys; and some legendary WA woodchoppers.


Wally the Walrus’s 2021 Adventure: 

Freya’s turn in 2022: 

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It’s Wednesday, and I’m thrilled to welcome Squiz-E the Newshound back, to tell us what kind of fishy stuff he’s sniffed out online this week. And what he’s found is so important, it’s here in your Lowdown!
Apparently, one in four Aussie kids use TikTok – which, for your parents’ and teachers’ sake, I will explain is a social media app, used by one billion of Earth’s inhabitants to make, share, and watch short videos. And, according to a new report released yesterday by Deakin University, the world’s biggest junk food companies are also on TikTok, and are using it to market their products to kids. 

They don’t do this in the old-fashioned way, by making ads that people would probably scroll right past. 

Instead, companies like McDonalds, Pepsi, and Doritos have much sneakier strategies. For example, Doritos created what’s known as a hashtag challenge, called #Doritosduetroulette, which encouraged kids to create and share a video of themselves eating, you guessed it, a bag of Doritos chips that are unpredictably spicy. I checked yesterday, and there are TONS of those videos, with millions and MILLIONS of views. Squiz-E points out that Doritos knows that most kids on TikTok are really keen to get views and likes, too – so they’ll pester their parents to buy them a bag of chips, to make their own video. Which is exactly what Doritos is hoping to do – sell more chips. 

Of course, Doritos aren’t the only ones. McDonalds challenged kids to record themselves singing to a video that showed – no surprises here – food from Maccas. A hashtag challenge created by Pepsi has had more than 107 BILLION with a B views. 

And the fast food giants are also paying TikTok influencers – people whose accounts are followed by lots of people – to make videos featuring their products. So the next time you see someone eating or drinking something on TikTok, stop, think, and check. Are you falling for junk food marketing? Thanks, Squiz-E (howl)


Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Norway, where a 600 kilogram walrus named Freya has taken up residence in the nation’s capital, Oslo. 

More specifically, young Freya is spending time in an Oslo fjord – a long, narrow, deep body of water formed by a glacier. The local media are in love with her – one newspaper apparently livestreams her every move, even though she spends about 20 hours a day sleeping! Still, the fact that she’s nodding off on people’s boats – and sometimes bending them with her bulk – does make for pretty entertaining viewing. Freya has been spotted out of her usual Arctic habitat in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, and now, she seems to be seeing out the European summer in Norway. 

She reminds me of Wally the Wandering Walrus, who made a similar journey around the British Isles last year. Some people are concerned that walruses are leaving the Arctic because of climate change, but others believe that these youngsters are just naturally curious explorers. I wonder if Wally told Freya about his trip, and that’s why she’s here? There are links to more information about the pair in your episode notes.



Police in the Japanese city of Yamaguchi have turned to tranquiliser guns to try to capture some particularly problematic perps.

Perps is police speak in America for perpetrators – meaning someone who causes injuries to others, or acts illegally. And in this case, the perps are Japanese macaques —fluffy little red-faced monkeys, also known as snow monkeys, which are a delightful tourist attraction in many parts of Japan. But in Yamaguchi, abnormally aggressive macaques have attacked 42 innocent citizens, and counting. The malevolent little monkeys – malevolent means wanting to hurt others – are invading people’s houses by sliding open screen doors, or climbing through windows. Sneaky little monkeys!  So far, the injuries suffered by their victims have been mild – just bites and scratches. But because experts don’t know why these good monkeys have turned bad, they also don’t know what they’ll do next. Police and city officials have patrolled and set traps, but so far, no luck. For now, people of Yamaguchi, I’d recommend leaving your doors and windows locked.  



And so we head to Esperance, in Western Australia, where a group of around 30 volunteers – with an average age of 80 years old – spend these cold winter months outside doing hard physical labour… for free.

For the past 15 years, these volunteers have chopped donated wood, and then delivered it to paying customers to use as firewood. They then give every last penny to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which, as you probably know,  transports people living in rural and remote regions to get emergency medical care. So far, they’ve donated $700,000… an impressive effort. 

Many of the men have been flying doctor patients themselves, so they appreciate its lifesaving service. But they also enjoy each other’s company, and most days, after they’ve finished chopping wood, they have a sausage and a soft drink together before heading home. Wood choppers of Esperance, Squiz Kids Salutes you. 


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. Where does Freya the Wandering Walrus usually live? 
  2. What kind of monkeys are attacking the people of Yamaguchi? 
  3. Have you ever seen a fast food video on TikTok? 




It’s July 27… National Crème Brûlée Day… which is technically an American holiday, but I see no reason for that to stop me tucking into a rich creamy custard with a crunchy, caramelised sugar topping… my mouth’s watering just thinking about it…

It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … 

Grace from Berwick, Renee from Cannon Hill, Edith from Westbrook, Ryleigh from Forest Lake, Archie from Karabar and Millie from Quirindi.

Belated birthday shout outs go to Lotti from Rose Park and Elke who is travelling around Australia.

And today’s classroom shoutouts are going to … class 4O and Mrs O’Brien at Henschke Primary School in Wagga-Wagga, class 6B at Echuca Primary School and their favourite teacher Mrs Oliver, class 4CR with Mr Coulter and Mrs Rae at Baulkham Hills North Public School and lastly to class MC3 at Hastings Secondary College in Port Macquarie.  

The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. The Arctic
  2. Japanese macaques
  3. No right answer, but an important thing to talk about, and think critically about!