Best of the Web: Be your teen’s online coach, not their boss, and more

Working with your teen about online use, the morning chaos of leaving the house, and making our streets safe for kids to play.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

The complex world of teens and screens

(Jill Anderson, Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Worried about your child’s screen time? Sick of imposing limits? Of being the referee imposing the rules?

The good news is that there is a much better approach, detailed in a new book from authors from Harvard’s Project Zero (a long-standing partner with Independent Schools Victoria.)

The authors surveyed more than 3500 teenagers for the book,  Behind Their Screens: What Teens Are Facing (And Adults Are Missing). A key finding is that we don’t understand how teens are behaving online, both in positive and negative ways.

And adults are missing critical opportunities to guide teens, rather than ‘falling back on useless and tired messaging’. Instead of being a referee, imposing restrictions, we can become a coach for our teens.

This podcast interview, with a transcript, gives us insights into what’s happening with teens online, and strategies to connect with them.

Read the full article, listen to the podcast

How long to get a child out of the house? Forty minutes, unless they forget the gym kit

(The Guardian UK)

You plan, you prepare the night before, you pledge to keep your cool. This time, leaving the house with the kids in the morning will be a seamless operation.

Forty minutes later, you finally make it out the door – or rather fall through the door. What just happened?

In reassuring news, you are not alone. Forty minutes is the average time it takes for the more than 1000 parents surveyed who shared their insights into the unique and exhausting bedlam that is leaving the house.

This article is a fun take bouncing off the survey results, capturing plenty of moments that will resonate.

Read the full article

Cars have taken over our neighbourhoods. Kid-friendly superblocks are a way for residents to reclaim their streets

(Matthew Mclaughlin, Hayley Christian, Jasper Schipperijn and Trevor Shilton, The Conversation)

You may be in the category of parents who lament the end of the good old days, of kids playing outside with friends or walking to school.

We know things are different – there’s been a shift inside, with the safety of local streets being a primary concern.

There is something that can be done to reverse this trend – and in fact, is already happening. It’s the concept of creating ‘superblocks for kids’. It’s about turning several neighbourhood blocks into spaces shared by cyclists, walkers and residents. There’s low-speed car access for residents only.

The idea goes back to the 1970s but is spreading around the world – including Australian suburbs. There’s a video, below, looking at the benefits of temporary play streets. 

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