Best of the Web: Little shops of horror, and more

When did the toy shop become so frightening, the case for more women coaches in sport, and what to do if your teen is sexting without consent.

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

Shelf life: why are toy shops full of horrors these days?

(Eva Wiseman, The Guardian)

If you have a younger child, there’s a good chance you’ve visited a toy shop recently. But did you have a proper look — or did you go in with blinkers on, only getting the toy you had already decided you were purchasing?

The author writes, ‘I was not prepared. There are the board games, which include your Guess Who’s and so on, but they are overwhelmed by other games called things like, Who Can Poo On Who and Fart School and Diarrhoea of a CEO and I may be misremembering titles slightly yes, but this was very much the gist, boxes with rabid cartoon characters covered in phlegm and instructions that involve, for e.g., burping one’s name’.

She goes on to lament about the toys designed to bully you. You know the ones — often noisy ones with no on/off switch or batteries that seem to last longer than your typical smartphone. And what about the plethora of dolls and the intricate Lego sets?

And the gender-neutral aisle, the one that is neither pink nor blue. She writes, ‘I suppose I feel, rather than banning, for instance, cleaning kits or baby dolls for little girls, we might be better placed to look at who, in these girls’ homes, does the cleaning, and who puts the babies to bed. If we degender our domestic lives, then won’t the toys surely follow?’

It seems that today’s toy shops are like a chocolate box to Forrest Gump: ‘You never know what you’re gonna get.’

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Most kids are only coached by men in junior sport – women need to be part of the picture, too

(Kara Dadswell, Clare Hanlon and Stefan Sambol, The Conversation)

Ask a kid what a sports coach looks like, and most will tell you a man. This is because many kids associate sports coaches with men, but women should also coach them. In this article, researchers question whether the bias can be shifted.

‘In Australia, women account for only 15 per cent of accredited high-performance sports coaches, with similar under-representation in community sport’.

But why is this the case? The researchers point to a historical perception of coaching roles, which have often been associated with needing traits that are perceived as ‘tough, aggressive and emotionally focused on competitive success – traits which are typically associated with men’.

The children who participated in the research were biased towards men as coaches.

‘Unsurprisingly, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – children’s attitudes, both positive and negative, towards women as coaches very much aligned with their parents’ attitudes.’

While there is no quick fix to this, if sporting organisations work to hire and retain women as coaches and then expose children from a young age to both women and men as coaches, then children and adults will see the shift with women seen as capable coaches.

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What to do when you find out your teen has been sexting without consent

(Hannah Reich, ABC Lifestyle)

Many families with young people with smartphones have the agreement that parents can conduct periodic checks. So what would you do if, during one such check, you discovered that your teen was sexting without consent?

In this article, a mother shares her story with teen educator and podcast host Bec Sparrow and clinical psychologist Dr Sophie Li. The mother explains how once she discovered the texts on her son’s phone, she looked to the internet for help on how to talk to him but came up empty-handed.

‘I couldn’t find anything online about what to do when the boy is hassling the girl. It’s all about how the girl should respond.’

One critical point outlined in the article is that it’s about ensuring your teen understands that consent, not convincing, is required. Dr Li says that involves a conversation around: ‘How to establish consent and what to do if someone’s not consenting; which is that you don’t keep requesting the nudes, you accept that they’ve said ‘no’. And then that’s it.’

‘If you have to convince somebody who’s already said ‘No,’ — that’s a red flag,’ said Bec Sparrow. She also highlights the point that parents should have ongoing conversations about consent at home and not leave it up to schools.

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