Best of the Web: Should you ban your child from social media, and more

Why banning your child from social media might not be the best approach, the finalists in this year's Children's Book of the Year awards, and the need for compassion when it comes to school refusal.

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

How should you approach your children's and teenagers' social media use?

(Daniel Johnson, ABC Lifestyle)

Kids’ social media use is in the spotlight again, as the South Australian government recently announced a proposal to ban children under the age of 14 from popular sites such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

Parenting and positive psychology expert Dr Justin Coulson says, ‘Ultimately, the social media genie is out of the bottle, and we’re not getting the three wishes we hoped for’.

Ideally, it comes down to setting boundaries—something that requires trust. While most parents can agree they’d like to see their kids on screens and social media less, the reality is that our young people become isolated when they don’t.

‘There is no magic age at which young people suddenly are bestowed with all of the skills and competencies to effectively navigate social media’, says University of Sydney Media and Communications lecturer Dr Catherine Page Jeffery.

Dr Coulson says, ‘The rules around social media are exactly the same as the rules around living a good life: There are rules around respect, consent, kindness, and support’. If these values are upheld in the family unit, they are more likely to be transferred to online spaces.

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The Children’s Book of Year Awards Shortlist

(Children’s Book Council of Australia)

Here at The Parents Website, we like to celebrate the amazing talent of Australia’s children’s authors and illustrators, by bringing you the winners of the Children’s Book of the Year awards.

Those winners provide a wonderful resource for parents, carers and educators as they seek out the very best in literature for young people.

Of course, the winners come from a stellar collection of books that have made the shortlist. So once again this year, in addition to featuring the winners in August, we are also highlighting those works on the shortlist.

The books capture the theme of Reading is Magic. Wendy Rapee, CBCA National Chair, says, ‘This year’s shortlist lays bare what matters most to young people across Australia through a rich tapestry of genres, themes, and voices, reflecting the dynamic nature of contemporary Australian children’s literature’.

They include Let’s Never Speak of This Again, a coming-of-age debut novel from author Megan Collins in the Older Reader category, in addition to a verse novel and a dual timeline novel.

In the Picture Book category, finalists include Every Night at Midnight, a story about staying true to one’s identity and finding friendship in an unlikely place

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So-called ‘school refusal’ must be tackled with compassion, not hard-hearted discipline

(Paul Daley, The Guardian)

‘Make them go.’ ‘Put them in the car and drop them at the gate.’ These statements are not helpful to parents who are dealing with the very real situation of school refusal.

The author, who shares that this is something his family has been touched by, laments how the judgemental nature of strangers is not supportive and shows a clear misunderstanding of this problem.

‘Only parents and families who have had to deal with a child unable to attend school will understand the heartbreak and anguish it brings for everyone involved’, he writes.

He continues, ‘To sit with a child who wants nothing more than to be able to go to class, to be with a cohort and to leave their darkened bedroom, but cannot due to an amorphous black cloud of anxiety and fear, is truly crushing and perplexing for carers’.

Ultimately, these families ask for compassion, understanding, and patience. Not ignorance and statements of tough love.

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