Best of the Web: the Batman Effect on Kids, Fighting Against Tech, Volunteering and Teens, and Don’t Ban Fairy Tales

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

New research shows that kids 4-6 perform better during boring tasks when dressed as Batman

(Jenny Anderson, Agenda, World Economic Forum)

This is the age of digital distraction, and for children, computer games are high on the list. So what if you set children a boring computer task, telling them that if wanted, they could play a game on an iPad?  Who would stick to the task? In this experiment on perseverance, some of the children could pick a superhero who was good at working hard, such as Batman and Dora the Explorer. They got to dress up as the character. The superhero kids worked harder than the rest.

Children are tech addicts – and schools are the pushers

(Eliane Glaser, The Guardian, UK edition)

In an article that will resonate in many countries, this is a strident rallying call against the pervasiveness of technology in England’s  classrooms. The author flinches when her five-year-old tells her she plays computer games at school as a reward for good behaviour. This is an era where Silicon Valley executives are sending their children to tech-free schools. ‘I can opt my children out of RE, but where technology is concerned, I feel bound by a blind determinism.’

Helping Strangers May Help Teens’ Self-Esteem

(Juli Fraga, npr)

New research from the United States suggests that teens may benefit psychologically from spending time helping strangers. This report details the findings of the study published in the Journal of Adolescence. But parents be warned – recommending anything that may improve a teen’s behaviour may be received as condescending or critical. Rather, suggest volunteer projects for the whole family.

From Sleeping Beauty to the Frog Prince – why we shouldn’t ban fairy tales

(Michelle Smith, The Conversation)

Fairytales are increasingly being targeted for banning in schools or avoidance by parents, writes the author. This is because of their perceived sexism, passive princesses and reinforcement of marriage girls’ ultimate goal. But, she asks, are fairy tales actually as harmful as their critics believe? This is a deeper dive into the history of fairy tales and their evolution. The author argues there are a range of reasons why calls to restrict children from reading fairy tales are misguided.

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