Here’s to late bloomers …

I’ve had more than few conversations about NAPLAN this week, as my youngest submits herself to the rigours of the national literacy and numeracy testing regime still underway this week.

Truth be told, I’ve been more worked up about it all than she has. She’s one of those kids who floats blissfully through these sorts of things. Far from being anxious about the testing, she’s practically indifferent.

And despite my instinct being to lean in and inject a sense of urgency into proceedings, I’ve been telling myself to chill – that every flower blossoms in its own time.

It was a lesson I was reminded of this week when I stumbled across this article about a kid from Tasmania who has bolted from out of the blue to become one of our hot contenders for a swimming medal at the Paris Olympics.

At 17, Max Guiliani (pictured below) was on track to become a tradie like his mates – but thought he’d give the ol’ swimming one more hit out. And now he’s clocked a time comparable to Ian Thorpe and is being spoken of in the same breath as some of our Olympic greats.

It’s a rollercoaster of a ride this parenting thing. Sometimes the best we can do is make sure everyone has their seatbelts on and is holding on tight for the ride.

Why the Meta news has us worried

One of the news stories that’s been bubbling away the last few weeks that we’ve been watching closely is the recent decision by Meta – Instagram and Facebook’s owner – to stop paying Australian media outlets whose news appears on their platform.

It’s a vexed issue to be sure – and one which has left lots of media companies very nervous about a sudden drop in income.

One thing that appears certain should actual news from credible news outlets no longer be supported on Meta’s platforms – is that misinformation is going to run even more rampant than it does now.

And along the way, Australia’s citizenry will be less able to tell online fact from fiction and become more susceptible to fake news, deep fakes and AI-generated disinformation.

It’s why we’ve been talking these past few months with Federal and State Government ministers about ongoing funding for Newshounds – our media literacy resource for primary school kids, teaching them to spot misinformation when they come across it online.

Overseas experience shows that you need to teach kids good internet surfing habits long before they get a smart-phone in their hands if you want to inoculate them against the worst excesses of the misinformation scourge.

And if it sounds like I’m on a soap box about this stuff – it’s because I am. There’s nothing less urgent at stake than the health of our democracy.

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 Papua New Guinea … our near neighbour – and a country that I’ll warrant very few of us know much about. Like the fact that it’s home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity and more than 800 different languages are spoken there – the most of any country in the world. Squiz The World takes kids on a virtual excursion to a different country every fortnight – to broaden their horizons and educate them about the world around them. You’re welcome.

It’s also Women’s History Month – and we’re celebrating all month by posting daily about a remarkable woman from Australian history to our Instagram account. Check it out and give us a follow.

And of course, on Friday you can test your wits against the small people in your life in our celebrated Kids v Adult Weekly News S’Quiz. A hotly contested competition in households and classroom all over the country.

A reminder too that this week is Harmony Week, promoting inclusivity, respect, and a sense of belonging for everyone. And as food is one of the most enjoyable ways to celebrate our multiculturalism, clever Christie has developed a matching activity for teachers to use this week with their students – challenging students to pair traditional cuisines with their respective countries.

Meanwhile, over on The Big Squiz…

The news around Princess Kate, her whereabouts and that photo just keep on keeping on. Conspiracy theories aside, there’s an interesting element to the conversation that the peeps at The (Big) Squiz are delving into this week on their new-ish pod, News Club – not least the questions it raises about trust, manipulated images and AI.

That episode drops tomorrow. Hit follow on Apple or Spotify to make sure you don’t miss out.

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.

TikTok ban … The Australian government today indicated it was carefully watching what happens in the United States where the House of Reps has passed a bill that could ban Tik Tok outright in America. Watch this space.

Lessons in sexting  … hopefully you’re years away from having to deal with your kids sexting, but this article from The Conversation argues it’s as important a life lesson to pass on to our offspring as sex education itself.

Smile on your dial … 

Last week we called for all budding nature enthusiasts to send us their best David Attenborough impersonations to go into the draw to win a family pass to the BBC Earth Experience now on in Melbourne. The videos sent in by our kids’ audience were just priceless – and we’ve shared a selection on our Instagram. Check out the video compilation here. And have an excellent week!

 

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