Best of the Web: Three ways families can restore their digital health, and more

A new study confirms our overuse of screens, the impact of ultra-thin dolls on kids' body image, and using business skills to improve your parenting time.

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

Three ways families can restore their digital wellbeing

(Pasi Sahlberg and Amy Graham, The Conversation)

How many times have you checked your phone in the past hour? What about your children? Have they been glued to their screens, which you might have deployed as as digital babysitters?

The answers to these questions and more are found in the results of a study on the use of digital devices by families during the pandemic.

Growing Up Digitally In Australia confirms our obsession with screens. Most 5-17-year-olds on average own three digital devices, starting as young a four.

And almost all parents surveyed admitted being distracted themselves, and half used devices as digital babysitters.

The solutions aren’t easy to find, but the authors have made three practical and achievable suggestions to get the balance back in family life.

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Playing with ultra-thin dolls could make girls as young as five want skinnier bodies

(Lynda Boothroyd, The Conversation)

Dolls have been part of human cultures for millenia, begins the author. Her concern lies with the form they now take – popular fashion dolls with impossibly thin bodies.

These bodies could never be achieved in real life. So what message is it sending to our children, whose body image is still developing?

The author and her colleagues found evidence that ultra-thin dolls pose a potential risk to young girls’ developing body ideals. ‘On top of this, the apparent effects of ultra-thin dolls don’t seem easily reversed by play with healthy-weight dolls or other toys – at least in the short time periods we used in our study.’

You might also find useful the video and supporting article from our recent webinar How we can promote positive body image with tweens and teens, by Dr Zali Yager,  part of The Parents Website Webinar series.

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Are you spending your parenting time and energy wisely?

(Amy Jen Su, Harvard Business Review)

Carole moves mountains to make sure she can leave work early on Tuesdays to take her daughter to soccer practice. But her daughter doesn’t seem to care if her mum is there – Carole feels under appreciated. And if she doesn’t make the time, she feels guilty.

This common dilemma for the working parent is explored in this article on work-life balance, but viewed from a different perspective – a more analytical approach you might see in the world of business.

The author, who coaches business leaders, suggests using a parenting time matrix, to make sure you are using your parenting time and energy in the right way.

This approach prioritises contribution – what you do as a parent that your child values – and passion – what you do as a parent that gives you the most motivation, inspiration and energy.

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