Best of the Web: Vaping – what’s happening in schools, and more

Concerning research on vaping and behaviour issues in schools, a new Barbie with Down syndrome, and how a tired mum found the fun in life again.

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

Vaping behaviour in schools: what does the research tell us?

(Becky Freeman, The Conversation)

The Federal Government has recently declared a war on vaping, describing it as the biggest behavioural issue in secondary schools.

This article tests the claim against the Generation Vape study being conducted among students, educators and school administrators. It finds a deeply concerning situation with one in three teens having tried vaping. Only a few years ago, it was rare.

Teens who vape regularly reported experiencing nicotine withdrawals at school, sneaking out of class to vape, and finding it hard to focus.

The author, one of the researchers, reports that 86 per cent of teachers are concerned or very concerned about students vaping in their schools. Principals are having to think about the safety issues of people selling vapes to students at the school gate.

‘The evidence tells us we really need to get these products out of the hands of young people,’ the author writes. ‘That’s why making them harder to buy is vital.’

Related article: Practical tips to help your teen stop vaping

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Barbie doll with Down syndrome launched by Mattel

(Sarah Marsh, The Guardian)

The US toy maker Mattel has launched a Barbie with Down syndrome, part of a move to make the doll representative of the diverse range of children who play with them.

British model Ellie Goldstein, who has Down syndrome, appears in a campaign for the new Barbie, saying she is ‘so happy’ about the new doll. ‘Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.’

The doll is part of Mattel’s Barbie Fashionistas line, which also includes a Barbie with a prosthetic leg, a Barbie who uses a wheelchair, and male dolls that are thinner and less muscular.

The toy maker says the collection is its ‘most diverse and inclusive doll line, offering a variety of skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions, to inspire even more stories’.

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Finding the balance (and the fun) in life as a parent

(Megan Holbeck, ABC Everyday)

It had been a ‘standard’ morning for the author, a mum with girls aged one and three. Toast, teeth and small crises, before the kids were in the pram on the way to a catch up with other mums.

After a ‘bout of complaints’, she told her friends, ‘Life’s just a bit hard at the moment.’ Her friends agreed: ‘Life is hard.’

But this was more than a passing comment. The reply ‘shook my fundamental, unspoken and (until then) unquestioned attitude to existence: namely that “life is fun”.’

What followed was a period of reflection and research, before eventually finding fun in the smaller, achievable things: people, nature, exercise and mental stimulation.

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