Best of the Web: Making our neighbourhoods kid-friendly, and more

How we can make our neighbourhoods kid-friendly once again, talking to teenagers about money, and should you post your kids' lives online?

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

Japan’s Old Enough and Australia’s Bluey remind us our kids are no longer ‘free range’

(Rebecca Clements, Elizabeth Taylor and Hulya Gilbert, The Conversation)

In the popular Netflix documentary Old Enough!, Japanese parents send toddlers out on their own to run errands, creating shock among viewers. But it wasn’t that long ago that our neighbourhoods were also child-friendly — and we can make them so again, write the authors.

Looking closer to home, the authors note that Bluey often depicts the children being driven by their parents and staying close to home or school. But in the episode ‘Fairytale’, Bandit talks of walking alone to a shower block on holidays, alarming his kids and commenting, ‘Hey, it was the 80s!’.

So, what changed between then and now? We’ve become a car-based society, write the authors.  ‘… priority given to car traffic and street parking has led to cities being redesigned to accommodate cars rather than children and their needs’.

‘Perhaps the remarkably child-friendly outcomes we’re seeing in Japan can inspire us to rethink what kinds of neighbourhoods are possible – and what kinds of lives our children can have.’

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‘Sacrifice your civility and make a start’: how to talk to teenagers about money

(Michelle Bowes, The Guardian)

It seems there’s always a conversation that needs to be had with our teenagers, and money is one of them. The author, a finance writer, argues that it’s up to parents to arm teens with information on the topic – before they’re expected to make adult financial decisions.

The author reminds parents that financial literacy isn’t explicitly taught under the national curriculum, so don’t expect the school to do the hard yards for you.

Rather, she suggests using an acronym for tackling the tough topic. ‘Try the TALKS acronym: Tackle your own money taboos; Acknowledge your shortcomings; Lift examples from real life; Keep the conversation going and Stay positive.’

‘With $10 lettuces trending, petrol pushing $2.50 a litre and stable electricity supplies threatened due to escalating prices, it’s possible that money has never been more topical in your teen’s short lifetime so far.’

And don’t stop talking about it once you start. ‘Things evolve in the world of money (case in point – ten years ago no one had even heard of buy now pay later) and what your children need to know will change as they progress through their teens.’

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Should you post your kids' lives online?

(Nicola McCaskill, SBS Insight)

As family life is increasingly displayed online — in a term known as ‘sharenting’ — it opens debate about the ethics of the growing phenomenon, writes the author.

Parents such as Bruce Devereaux blog about their family life online, using it as a way to share and record their stories. Bruce’s son Josh, 17, and daughter Molly, 15, said their dad’s blog was an ‘amazing’ record of their lives growing up. ‘It’s just a laugh,’ Josh said. ‘It’s good fun.’

Yet not all kids are happy about their parents sharing these family moments. ‘I feel uncomfortable with that. People I don’t know, viewing pictures of me without me knowing,’ said Indi, aged 12, who put a ban on her mother posting photos online. ‘I just think it’s weird,’ she said.

Seemingly benign photos – like a snap of your child’s first day at school – can be used maliciously, said Toby Dagg, from the eSafety Commissioner. He notes that it ‘doesn’t take a lot of inventiveness’ for photos to reveal where your child lives and goes to school.

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