Striking the right balance

One of the things we grapple with here at Squiz Kids is how to produce a podcast that talks about things kids are interested in – but, in the case of certain trends or products – doesn’t necessarily glamourise them.

Because as parents and teachers: we all know how impressionable kids are. FOMO, or the fear-of-missing-out, is as powerful a force among small people as it is amongst us adults. Arguably moreso.

It’s a conundrum we’ve wrestled with a lot this week as worldwide attention has turned to the debilitating effects social media can have on our kids. Locally, from Four Corners to 60 Minutes and every news website in between, there’s been blanket media coverage of the subject, including government plans to trial age verification technology to ban kids under a certain age (more on that later).

So we leant in this week to produce a Squiz Kids Shortcut on Social Media – a ten-minute, kid-friendly deep-dive that traces the history of the technology and spells out its many pros and cons – whilst going to great pains to point out that kids under 13 shouldn’t be on these platforms at all. The pod drops first thing tomorrow.

Because yes: there are pros – just as there are cons. And to simply demonise social media as the root of all evil would ultimately be counter-productive. You’ve seen Footloose right? The kids all end up dancing in the end.

We figure we can either present the world as we’d like to be, or present it as it is. And so we’ve gone with the latter, in the hope that educating kids about the dangers that lurk on social media before they get onto it, rather than ignoring it completely, is an infinitely better way to go. We hope you agree. Moreover, we hope we’ve got the balance right.

Have a listen to our Shortuct tomorrow and be sure to let us know via our feedback line: [email protected].

We asked, you answered! 

At the risk of para-phrasing Oscar-winning actress, Sally Field: ‘You like us, you really like us!”

That at least is the story we’re sticking too as we pore over the responses we received in the Squiz Kids Survey.

Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to take part. We appreciate it enormously. We’ll be using the insights to inform how we give shape to the podcast – its daily content and associated products.

A huge congrats to Mrs Jones, a teacher from Secret Harbour Primary School in WA, who won the draw for the $250 gift card. When we emailed to let her know she’d won, she said she’d been a loyal Squiz Kids listener since we started four years ago. Awwww! How nice. And a big thank you to all of you have been with us since the beginning of this crazy experiment, and welcome to those of you who have only recently jumped aboard.

One of the more encouraging outcomes was the response we received to the question: “Do you agree media literacy is an important life skill for kids?“. See the pie chart below.

The response from parents and teachers alike was an overwhelming yes. Which is encouraging, as we’re pouring no small amount of effort (and money) into a re-vamp of our Newshounds media literacy resource – to make it prettier, punchier and ultimately more user-friendly. Stay tuned for the big reveal …

This week on Squiz Kids …

As I’ve already mentioned, this week’s Squiz Kids Shortcut is on Social Media – covering off the low-tech origins of what has since become an all-pervasive social phenomenum. As Christie explains in the section about the pros and cons: between the addiction to likes, the impact on self-esteem, the FOMO and the algorithms designed to encourage the ‘endless scroll’, being on social media can be ‘like wandering into a haunted house when you thought you were heading into a candy store.’ The pod drops first thing tomorrow.

Teachers: don’t forget every Monday, Christie creates an excellent, totes-free, curriculum-aligned classroom worksheet – or ‘Classroom Companion‘ – which now comes with a searchable database 🎉. So get involved already!  Sign up at

And Fridays are when kids get to prove once and for all that they’re smarter than adults when we get our Kids v Adults Weekly News S’Quiz on. Fun for everyone.

Meanwhile, on The (Big) Squiz …

The Squiz team’s deep dive into the 3G shutdown was one of those episodes that illustrates why they do what they do so well.

It took an obscure topic in the news and made it accessible, easy to understand, and relevant. The upcoming 3G shutdown is going to affect around 500k Aussies when it comes to their handsets and plans – but if you’ve got a baby monitor, a medical alarm or even an older EFTPOS machine running in your business, it might just affect you too. Get across it in a 15 minute listen here.

As for what else they’ve been pumping out – last week’s News Club episode on Baby Reindeer was a fascinating look at truth in entertainment – and something that made it all the way to the UK Parliament. The thing about News Club is that they’ll always give you some good reading/watching/listening recommendations so you’re equipped to get across the topic covered.

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.

What kids think about age verification … Props to the team at The Conversation whose academics have produced an interesting report into what parents and kids themselves think about age verification for social media. The upshot: while they supported it, they don’t think it works. And that more attention needed to be paid to educating kids about the risks.

How to handle a bully … this article from ABC Online reports Australian teens experience bullying at the second highest rate among developed countries, according to an international report. It also features expert advice on how to help your child if they are a victim of bullies – cyber or otherwise.

Smile on your dial … 

To mark Reconciliation Week this week, we’ve been using the traditional names of Aussie towns in the Shoutouts. And apologies if I have stuffed up the pronunciations.

How good was it also over the weekend to see the likes of Selwyn Cobbo (pictured) from the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL’s Indigenous Round celebrate scoring a try with a traditional dance. Brought a great big smile to my dial.

Have a great week.

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