Best of the Web: The Class of 2021: Giving it their best, and more

How our Year 12 students made it through, a different view on the impact of social media on teens, and the Secret Santa grandparents who helped struggling families.

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

How the class of 2021 made it through

(Tim Elliott, Good Weekend)

Our remarkable Year 12s are sitting their final exams, after navigating another year of lockdowns and remote learning. It’s been a year of the good and the bad, as told by nine of them in this feature article.

The students came from the lockdown states of Victoria and NSW. Their stories are part heartbreaking, part inspiring, the two often intertwined. 

Take Oscar Miller, living in Echuca and attending Moama Anglican Grammar School across the border, who lost his mother to cancer in September last year. So 2021 has been a year of grieving and supporting his family, while still managing good marks and having ‘some awesome fun’.

‘Yeah, I still miss Mum the most – I think about her every day – but I know she is proud of me.’

The students came from a range of schools, including Georgina Gough, from Lauriston Girls’ School, and Morgan Williamson, from Goulburn Valley Grammar School – both member schools of ISV.

The class of 2021 provides a powerful and authentic account of how they gave it their best. It’s a must-read.

Banner image – Screenshot of Good Weekend from The Age.

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The impact of Facebook and Instagram on teens isn't so clear

(Anya Kamenetz, npr)

There’s been blanket coverage of the documents published by a Facebook whistleblower. Published first in The Wall Street Journal, Facebook had commissioned research showing that its platform Instagram could affect girls’ mental health on issues such as body image and self-esteem.

This article takes a step back, and looks at exactly what the research is finding. Facebook asked teenagers about what their thought Instagram’s effect on their body image, mental health and other issues.

That’s where an issue may lie – teens self-reporting, says an expert quoted in the article. Teenagers are already primed by media coverage, and the disapproval of adults, to believe that social media is bad for them.

Anya Kamenetz is the author of The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life. You can read our interview with Anya, about the best approach for parents to take with tech.

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Secret Santas pay off scores of Christmas lay-bys for struggling families at Victorian toyshop

(Sarah Lawrence, ABC Central Victoria)

There have been plenty of moments during these difficult times when our faith in human nature has been restored by unexpected acts of kindness.

So it was in Bendigo recently, when a mystery couple walked into a toy shop, and paid off thousands of dollars of lay-bys for Christmas toys.

The grandparents told the store owner Scott Mills they wanted to help people who were struggling. They paid off the laybys of 82 families.

‘In their younger years, they struggled to pay bills and always said if they got to a point in life where they were financially secure, they wanted to pay it back,’ says Scott.

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