In the middle of the storm

Do you ever get the sense there’s a big ol’ storm brewing and you might just happen to find yourself in the middle of it?

That’s how it felt this weekend as the ripple effects of the Bondi attacks and Wakeley church riot in Sydney continue to be felt.

I woke this morning to the news that Elon Musk has picked a fight with the Australian government after refusing to remove from Twitter/X video of the Wakeley church stabbing. While over in the US, Congress has passed a bill that could see Tik Tok banned in the United States.

It all comes hot on the heels of politicians of every hue decrying the pernicious role that misinformation and disinformation played in last week’s tragdies: confusing the situation (and incorrectly naming the offender) in the case of Bondi – and inflaming an already febrile situation in the case of Wakeley.

The simple fact of the matter? We’re not going to stamp out mis- and disinformation. That horse has bolted. And we can go around banning social media platforms, but others will pop up to replace them.

Our only hope lies in educating the next generation to be wise to the ways of those who would seek to confuse, confound or sway them.

It’s why we’ve been on a media literacy crusade these past two years. It’s why we created Newshounds – our free resource for primary school kids. And it’s why we continue to tell anyone who will listen that media literacy isn’t a ‘nice to have’ in the school curriculum, but a life skill that will be as vital to our kids as reading, writing and arithmetic.

If you feel the same way: tell your kids’ teachers about Newshounds. Petition your school principal to spread the word. Talk to your local member of parliament. Doing nothing is simply not an option.

Help us redesign Newshounds

On the subject of Newshounds – there’s been such enthusiastic uptake of the Newshounds 1.0, we’re doubling down on our investment in the resource and undertaking an overhaul to create a more streamlined user experience.

That’s computer geek speak for: let’s make this easier and more intuitive for teachers everywhere to use.

To that end, the heroic Christie has been talking to teachers who have used Newshounds in the classroom and have thoughts on what can be improved, in terms of the interface, the delivery, the content and its ease of use.

If you’re a teacher that’s used Newshounds and have some thoughts on how we can improve it, we’d love to hear from you. Please send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get in touch. 👍

Kids ANZAC Day content

Do the names Pied Piper and White Mouse mean anything to you?

If I told you they were the code names of two of Australia’s most decorated war heroes, would it be ringing any bells? No. I didn’t think so.

Which is one of the reasons we’re marking this Anzac Day week with the publishing of a very special Squiz Kids Shortcut on Australian Women War Heroes.

The ‘Pied Piper’ was the code name given by British armed forces to Australian, Joice NanKivell Loch who – with her husband – was responsible for the daring evacuation of thousands of Polish and Jewish women during World War II. The ‘White Mouse’ was the name by which fellow celebrated war heroine Nancy Wake was known to the Gestapo – who spent a good deal of WWII fruitlessly trying to capture her and stop her from similarly saving thousands from the clutches of Nazi Germany.

The Shortcut drops today.

And then, to round out commemorative proceedings, we’ll be marking Anzac Day itself with another piece of kid-friendly content on one of our country’s most important holidays.

The Squiz Kids Shortcut to Anzac Day will be out in time for when you get home from your dawn service on Thursday morning, explaining what happened on that fateful day in Gallipoli, why we commemorate it, and how the holiday has evolved over the years.

Lest we forget.

Meanwhile on The (big) Squiz …

Our friends over at the Big Squiz do a great job of balancing the light and shade when it comes to the news, so in the midst of getting across aid to Ukraine and US politics, doping scandals in swimming, and the latest in social media tech v governments, they’ve been giving a whole lot of  love to this story of a little Jack Russell dog who was reunited with his owners after 17 days on the loose at Melbourne Airport.

It’s all about balance, right?

Sign up to The Squiz Today newsletter here for your own daily shortcut to the news.

And if you’re a busy working parent, one recent reviewer had this to say about The Squiz Today podcast: ‘As a busy working mum of 3 kids, I love that The Squiz keeps me informed, up to date & that I have the option to learn more so my kids think I’m amazing when they ask me questions!! For free! Thanks for the extra apparent IQ points!’ Check it out for yourself here.

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.

Ban on Tik Tok … so it appears to be happening. A bill has just passed in the US Congress which could result in an historic law to shut down an entire social media platform.

Flexible learning … while the prospect of having your kids ‘learn from home’ will fill many of us with COVID-inspired PTSD – there’s evidence from trials with high school kids that the practice may have benefits – as this article explains.

Smile on your dial … 

I’m constantly trying to mix up my work-station-situation. It speaks to my general restlessness plus actual scientific evidence that sitting and being desk-bound all day is really bad for your health. So when I came across this contraption the other day on Instagram, I was intrigued. Stay tuned for Squiz Kids being brought to you in the future from a state of weightlessness …


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A post shared by Bastien Dausse (@bastiendausse)

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