Best of the Web: making smacking illegal, parenting a gifted child, and online predators using gaming apps

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Should smacking children be illegal?

(Amanda Smith, Life Matters, Radio National)

Should the smacking of children be illegal? This Radio National report looks at the debate through the eyes of Robin Barker, the author Baby Love and The Mighty Toddler. Barker’s verdict? ‘It doesn’t work.’  There has been enormous amount of research since the 1950s, says Barker, and nearly every study shows that smacking is counter-productive. If done often enough, children become insecure, tend to have more emotional problems, and their relationship with their parents suffer.

What I want you to know about my gifted son

(Wendy Wisner, The Washington Post)

The author is the parent of a gifted child. As she notes, it’s normal to lack self-confidence as a new parent. Yet almost a decade into parenting her son, she still often feels completely and utterly lost. ‘I wonder: Is he normal? Is it really supposed to be this difficult? Does he need more intellectual stimulation? Does he need less?’ This article explores the complex nature of what it can sometimes mean to have a child classed as gifted, and challenges it presents.

‘They’re getting in through our computers’: Predators using games to groom kids

(Timna Jacks, The Age)

This is another disturbing report about cyber safety, looking at a group of popular games and apps among children that are being used by predators. Victoria Police say there have been a rising number of complaints about computer programs that allow users to interact. ‘Police are extremely concerned that commercial applications are increasingly used by child-sex predators to seek to contact and groom children,’ said Detective Senior Sergeant Boris Buick of the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team.


‘Parents panic about sexting but children will make their own online moral codes’

(The Guardian, United Kingdom)

As the dangers for young people in the online world become more apparent, much of the focus has been on policing their online lives.  Sandra Leaton Gray, an author and former teacher, sees it differently, warning that we’re beginning to lose our way in terms of how we bring up our children. Gray co-authored a controversial report that suggests that the pendulum may be swinging towards too much regulation and intervention in young people’s online activity. The report suggested children were successfully developing their own moral codes to keep the practice of sexting within limits.

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