Choosing hope in a bleak time

Before I threw myself headlong into the world of podcasting, I was senior writer at the Australian Womens’ Weekly (among other things). Which often meant becoming acquainted to well-known folk.

I crossed paths with Rosie Batty barely a week after her son, Luke, was murdered by his father. I was a new parent at the time and we established a rapport almost instantly. So much so that when she asked if I would ghost-write her memoir, A Mother’s Story, I was honoured to oblige.

Rosie is on an Australia-wide tour at the moment promoting her follow-up book, Hope – which I would urge anyone to run out and buy.

When she passed through Brisbane last week and needed someone to facilitate a Q+A to launch the book here, I was, again, honoured to oblige.

It was the same day news was breaking about the death of Molly Ticehurst at the hands of her former partner in Forbes. A sorry succession of similar stories of family violence soon followed – culminating in the nationwide protests we saw at the weekend.

As parents, we all have a role to play in changing the social dynamic that gives rise to this sort of violence against women. Whether it’s modelling behaviour or educating our kids – in an age-appropriate way, of course.

Rosie’s stoicism in the face of unfathomable trauma never ceases to amaze and inspire me. If she chooses hope for the future – in the face of all this awfulness – then so too do I.

All roads lead to Newshounds 

On the subject of hope, if there’s a glimmer of it to be found in the recent spate of awful news events, it’s that we might finally see some progress in our crusade to improve levels of media literacy among primary school kids.

As I write in an op-ed this week: if there was one common denominator in the Bondi Westfield and Wakeley riot stories, it’s the speed at which mis and disinformation were created and disseminated (to devastating effect). Wrongly identifying a killer, in the case of Bondi, and inflaming an already febrile situation in the case of Wakeley.

The airwaves have since been thick with the sound of politicians opining on the root cause of the problem and actions they plan to undertake.

Here’s hoping Newshounds is firmly in the mix: Squiz Kids’ very own, free media literacy resource for Australian primary school kids – teaching kids to spot misinformation when they come across it online.

Because education and prevention are better than trying to come up with a cure. As I say in the op-ed: teaching kids to be critical consumers of information AFTER they have a mobile phone in their hands is like shutting the gate after the disinformation horse has bolted.

It’s certainly the lesson I tried to impart when I was down on the Mornington Peninsula last week, visiting the kids at Our Lady of Fatima in Rosebud.

Local member, Zoe McKenzie (pictured with me and Mr Ferguson’s 3/4 class) understands the looming problem we have on our hands – prompting her to come along and see Newshounds in action in a classroom.

Thanks for having me Our Lady of Fatima. It’s a beautiful part of the world you have down there.

This week on Squiz Kids …

In this week’s Squiz The World  …  we hop into the Squiz Kids Super-Fast Supersonic Jetliner to pay a visit to India … where voting is underway this week in the world’s biggest democracy. But what’s it like to go to school there? What sort of food can you eat there? And why does the expression ‘sacred cow’ have its origins there? It’s a snapshot of a nation, delivered in our signature engaging style. The perfect way to expand your kids’ knowledge about the big wide world around them.

And of course, 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. Don’t forget there’s an extensive back catalogue of these quizzes if you find yourself on a road trip …

Meanwhile on The (Big) Squiz

Today we give a hearty shoutout to the Saturday Squiz newsletter – it’s a great wrap of the week in news, and chock-full of recommendations from Team Squiz on what they’re reading/watching/listening/cooking. Get it in your inbox here.

Another addition to a great weekend is the Weekly Wrap podcast with Claire and Kate. In the latest they take you through Elon Musk’s beef with Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, the US TikTok ban and that viral story of comedian Arj Barker kicking a breastfeeding mother out of his show. If you’re listening on Spotify, don’t forget to vote in their poll on the impact of social media…

Other great episodes to get across include this one on the weighty issue of Ozempic, and this one on the current state of Trump’s legal issues and how they’re playing out in his 2024 presidential bid. You’re welcome.

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.

We are what we eat … no surprises in this SMH report which details a a recent study showing kids that ate a proper meal at breakfast – and not one high in sugary content – did better at school overall. Healthy body = healthy mind, people.

The more things change … as this article highlights, parents have been worried about their kids online for almost 30 years. So, right back when the internet became a thing. And yet – as I write in my op-ed above – we’ve nevertheless continued to sleepwalk towards the dystopia we’re facing down today.

Smile on your dial … 

Getting kids into books can be a struggle. And yet research is constantly telling is that reading helps them achieve in all school subjects. So I was excited to stumble upon this school teacher, who goes by the name of Mr MC Grammar on Instagram, and whose ‘book raps’ are surely giving rise to a whole new generation of book worms. Check out this Hairy McLary rap – and then lose yourself on his Insta page. You’re welcome.


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A post shared by MC Grammar (@mrmcgrammar)

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