Date night with Squiz-E the Newshound

November 20, 2023 – An education blog for parents.

Every now and then I managed to crawl out of Squiz Kids HQ (aka the downstairs spare bedroom of my suburban Brissie home) to frock-up and head out for date night with my good lady wife.

And that’s what happened on Friday, as we trooped off to Customs House on the Brisbane River for the Queensland 2023 Churchill Fellows Dinner.

A couple of months back, I learned I had been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel overseas and study how media literacy is being taught to primary school kids in other countries.

I’ve written about this before, so won’t bore you with the details again, but briefly: there are a bunch of countries who are world leaders when it comes to arming their populations against misinformation. The UK and the US are among them, as is Estonia and Finland – where close proximity to Russia has made fending off propaganda a nationwide priority.

At the dinner on Friday, I once again found myself dumbfounded at the quality and variety of projects that my fellow Fellows will be undertaking, and was humbled to be in their presence. You can read about some of them here.

And once again, I was encouraged by the reception Squiz Kids’ Newshounds program received when I talked about it. Teaching kids to be critical consumers of media, and to STOP, THINK and CHECK before believing everything they see, read or hear online – is going to be at least an important a educational skill as reading, writing and ‘rithmetic.

And a shout-out to my lovely wife, Shay, for being chief cheerleader.

Why kids should HIT PAUSE online

If you thought I was obsessed with misinformation – and teaching kids to be critical consumers of media – at least I’m in good company.

Last week, I sat down with YouTube’s Rachel Lord to discuss our mutual passion – keeping kids safe online by arming them with the skills to spot misinformation and share responsibly.

The podcast dives into the key messages behind YouTube’s Hit Pause series of videos – including how to check the source and spot when someone might not be giving you the full picture.

And if that all sounds reminiscent of Newshounds’ ‘Stop. Think. Check’ messaging – well, isn’t that a happy coincidence?

You can view the Hit Pause videos here and listen to Rachel and I chat in the podcast here.

Introducing the Squiz Kids Merch Shop

Just in time for Christmas … we’re here to solve all your end-of-year teacher-gifting and stocking-stuffing problems.

Fancy a Squiz Kids water bottle? Or maybe a trucker hat? How about a key ring, badge or sticker?

Whatever you’re looking for this festive season – the Squiz Kids Merch Shop has you covered (as long as it’s a water bottle, a sticker, a trucker cap, a key ring or a badge … 😂)

All prices include postage and handling in Oz. And because we’re such a professional outfit (read: bootstrapped and understaffed) we can guarantee all items will be lovingly hand-packed by the ludicrously capable Emma (and her teenage kids) direct from the Squiz Kids Merch Distribution Centre (aka her spare room). And a shout out to Christie’s daughter, Bronte, for modelling some of our wares.

See? We’re a truly family operation here at Squiz Kids …

This week on Squiz Kids …

This week in Squiz The World, we strap ourselves into the Squiz Kids Super-Fast Supersonic Jetliner to pay a visit to Jordan … where we meet the people, learn a bit about the history and culture and even sample some of the food stuffs. Yum. The STW pod drops every second Tuesday.

Our final Squiz Kids Book Club episode for the year drops on Friday – as our kid reviewers from as far afield as West End in Brissie to West Croydon in South Australia dive into this month’s two kids’ book titles: “Rex: Dinosaur In Disguise” (for our junior readers) and “Alex Rider: Stormbreaker” for our middle grade readers.

Also on Friday you can test to see who’s been paying the most attention to the week that just was in our celebrated Kids v Adult Weekly News S’Quiz. There’s no more fun way to recap the week in news.

On our radar …

We’re up to our eyeballs all day, everyday in all things kids and parenting. So when we see an article or come across a topic we think you might be interested in, we’ll post it here.

The kids are not alright … new research has found Aussie kids are angrier, lonelier and more anxious than they were five years ago – with 56% of high school kids surveyed saying they have a hard time controlling their ‘sense of worry’. It’s partly why we created our daily news podcast, Squiz Kids – to take the anxiety-inducing bits out of the news.

Defence goes to war with fake news … Australia’s defence chiefs have called on our universities to help in the battle against misinformation – as AI makes it ever more dangerous to the smooth functioning of a democracy. Have I mentioned Newshounds?

Smile on your dial … 

It’s less of a smile on your dial this week than a ‘Christmas shopping with purpose’ shout out. It’s time to be thinking about what pressie you’re going to give your kids’ teachers this year – and if the Squiz Kids Merch Shop doesn’t have what you’re looking for, I reckon Teacher Presence is the way to go. Instead of gifting another box of choccies or coffee mug – give them the gift of charity. Teachers sign-up and nominate the charity to which they’d like a donation made, or families nominate a charity and let their teacher/s know. Genius.

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