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Analysis and Comment (47)

Same-sex parents are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than other families. Same-sex parents are more likely to share child care and work responsibilities more equitably than other families. Jessica Lucia/Flickr

Kids from same-sex families fare as well as peers – or better

It’s often suggested that children with same-sex parents have poorer outcomes because they’re missing a parent of a particular sex. But research my colleagues and I published in the journal BMC Public…
There’s a case to make for public service broadcasters' role as a preventative health initiative. There’s a case to make for public service broadcasters' role as a preventative health initiative. Joe 13

Keep watch: your kids would be worse off without the ABC

Due to Australia’s small population and high concentration of few media voices, public broadcasters play a pivotal role in shaping the media ecosystem and cultural landscape. With the ABC and SBS under…
British children are among the saddest. British children are among the saddest. Niall Carson/PA Wire

British children are unhappy enough without cuts to youth services

It was reported last week that spending on youth services is down by one third, with some budgets cut by 78%. The cuts to youth service budgets have been called “disproportionate” by Tim Loughton, the…
More fun than maths? More fun than maths? Olaf Kraak/EPA

Time for smarter thinking on costs of holidays and truancy

The recent debate in the House of Commons on the cost of going away during the school holidays has reignited a long-running concern about price banding in the tourism industry and the educational impact…
How much‽ Children can quickly run up huge bills on online games without their parents' knowledge. How much‽ Children can quickly run up huge bills on online games without their parents' knowledge. Shutterstock

The app trap: how children spend thousands online

For many parents who caved into the pressure and splashed out on a new tablet computer for their children this Christmas, the not inconsiderable initial purchase bill may almost be a distant memory. Yet…
Twins can tell us a lot about our meat and two veg. Twins can tell us a lot about our meat and two veg. Bloody marty mix

Fussy children won’t eat their greens? They probably got that from your genes

Health professionals and parents appear to disagree about what determines children’s food preferences. While the former often take the view that healthy foods and the absence of “junk food” in the home…
Cancer targets young and old. Cancer targets young and old. National Cancer Institute

EU loophole means children with cancer are denied drugs

In spite of a major drive to develop targeted drugs to “personalise” cancer treatments, children with cancer still have to put up with drugs that have remained largely unchanged for decades. Currently…
Too many two-year-olds. Too many two-year-olds. Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Very few schools are ready to take two-year-olds into class

Proposals to allow schools to start looking after two-year-olds go to the heart of a long-standing tension in education policy: is early childhood provision about childcare for working parents or is it…
Artists such as The Wiggles help kids learn how to listen to live music. Artists such as The Wiggles help kids learn how to listen to live music. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Shows for little people: why seeing live music early matters

The mass media invented the teenager during the 1950s and 60s – and thus emerged a whole new audience for popular culture. What we’re seeing now is the recognition of children as an ever more important…
The benefits children gain from Authoritative parenting benefit their own children in turn. The benefits children gain from Authoritative parenting benefit their own children in turn. Angerboy

Talking to kids about emotions matters more than you think

Pop culture parenting styles like “Helicopter” and “Snowplow” have received a lot of recent media attention. Such coverage tends to overlook the findings of decades of parenting research. Much of this…
Young children cannot consent to personal information being shared online, or understand the possible implications. Young children cannot consent to personal information being shared online, or understand the possible implications. Lotus Carroll

Posting a child’s life for the world to see is a privacy issue

Children consistently delight and surprise us, and make us hoot with laughter. It’s only natural to want to share these moments with friends and family. But the trend of posting information about our young…
Advergames on mobile phones allow advertisers to directly target young children with games that promote unhealthy food. Advergames on mobile phones allow advertisers to directly target young children with games that promote unhealthy food. Toca Boca/flickr

Advergames play with nutrition by making fast food rewarding

Advergaming is a relatively recent approach to advertising that overcomes many of the limitations of traditional advertising. But advergames are increasingly being used by fast food companies to target…
Supposed savings on children’s television are based on flaky figures. Supposed savings on children’s television are based on flaky figures. ABC

Give Hoot the boot? Let’s not downsize ABC’s kids offering

In a report published this month by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), Simon Cowan advocates the downsizing or sell-off of ABC3 – the dedicated channel for Australian school-age children – as a…
The UN has criticised Australia’s housing and transfer of asylum seeker children in offshore processing facilities on Manus Island and Nauru. The UN has criticised Australia’s housing and transfer of asylum seeker children in offshore processing facilities on Manus Island and Nauru. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Offshore processing centres are no place for asylum seeker children

Recent reports that three asylum seeker children have been transferred from Nauru back to Australia because of concerns about their health raises a more fundamental question that lies at the heart of Australia’s…
Fathers stick around if they can afford to. Fathers stick around if they can afford to. Orlando Rob

Hard evidence: what sort of people are absent fathers?

Since the 1970s, family life in the UK has changed dramatically. Increases in relationship breakdown, remarriage and repartnering have seen us move away from the traditional, two-parent nuclear family…
Two thirds of children with cancer are in clinical trials. Two thirds of children with cancer are in clinical trials. Matter

New law will help drive more clinical trials for child cancers

Clinical trials provide the unbiased evidence essential for improving treatments in all areas of medicine. For children with cancer the development of safe treatments that work has relied on high quality…
One day, if you’re lucky. One day, if you’re lucky. Niall Kennedy

Despite risk, kids can be space flight pioneers

Humanity is standing on the cusp of a huge technological leap. Commercial space flight could place something that has been the preserve of a chosen few (around 500 people) who’ve completed years of gruelling…
Cyber-bullies can have access to potential victims round-the-clock. Cyber-bullies can have access to potential victims round-the-clock. wentongg

With the right tech, online bullies can be outsmarted

Recent revelations about the frequency with which children experience cyber-bullying have caused alarm among parents, advertisers that feature on social media sites and even the Prime Minister. Social…
Time to give pink toys the pink slip. Time to give pink toys the pink slip. Dollyclaire

There’s no good reason to push pink toys on girls

You only have to walk down the aisle of a toy shop to see that young girls really love pink. This has some parents worried. They are concerned that pink is bad for their daughters. One engineer in the…
The Hadron Collider was built to find the Higgs Boson but it might also help us discover better ways to treat cancer. The Hadron Collider was built to find the Higgs Boson but it might also help us discover better ways to treat cancer. PA/CERN

Cutting-edge particle physics could bring cancer therapy home

The recent case of Neon Roberts and the legal dispute over his treatment for a brain tumour threw the spotlight on the potential risks of using radiotherapy to treat complex cancers in children. Radiotherapy…
School music proponents like to big note the effectiveness of such programs, what what evidence of genuine benefit is there? School music proponents like to big note the effectiveness of such programs, what what evidence of genuine benefit is there? Music image from www.shutterstock.com

Striking a chord: what can music really do for students?

School music is a big fish within the small pond of the Creative Arts curriculum. In lobbying for more space, music advocates often use an array of arguments – some backed by evidence, some not. Many argue…
There is mounting evidence that babies might have more of a moral compass than we once thought. There is mounting evidence that babies might have more of a moral compass than we once thought. Baby image from www.shutterstock.com

Young morals: can infants tell right from wrong?

Psychologists from Yale and the University of British Columbia think they have found a way to show that infants in their first year of life possess the psychological building blocks of a moral sense. These…
For women and children the risks when crossing borders are far greater than men. For women and children the risks when crossing borders are far greater than men. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

Deadly borders: women and children seeking asylum

Crossing borders is far more dangerous for some. The facts are that women and children are more likely to die crossing borders in environmentally hazardous conditions than men. When boats sink or encounter…
Storytelling is increasingly being left behind in a crowded curriculum. Storytelling is increasingly being left behind in a crowded curriculum. Storytelling image from www.shutterstock.com

Once upon a time: reclaiming storytelling in schools

With high stakes testing and a crowded curriculum, something fundamental is being left behind in education – storytelling. Some might argue that speaking and listening have always been undervalued in schools…
Reading from an early age can instill healthy habits for a lifetime. “Possum Magic”, by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. Reading from an early age can instill healthy habits for a lifetime. “Possum Magic”, by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. Scholastic

Worth a thousand words: the top 10 best Australian children’s picture books

The academics and the “mummy bloggers” are in furious agreement – reading picture books to children is one of the best things you can do for a child’s development. It also happens to be, in the opinion…
We may have to apologise for intercountry adoptions in future, just as Victoria has apologised to the children of forced adoption mothers here. We may have to apologise for intercountry adoptions in future, just as Victoria has apologised to the children of forced adoption mothers here. AAP/Paul Jeffers

The politics of ‘orphans’ and the dirty tactics of the adoption lobby

You might not have realised it, but it is Adoption Awareness Week. Every year at this time lobbyists pull out the big gun – the celebrity card - and Deborra-Lee Furness hits the airwaves. The messages…
Telstra listened to customer complaints about data privacy, but they could have done more. Telstra listened to customer complaints about data privacy, but they could have done more. gailjadehamilton

Telstra’s revised cyber-safety service could (and should) be better

Telstra’s first attempt to introduce a cyber-safety service for mobile customers in June was a flop of significant proportions. Customers and concerned members of the public reacted strongly to the collection…
The videogame classification scheme was revised to better protect minors from inappropriate content. The videogame classification scheme was revised to better protect minors from inappropriate content. Ian Muttoo

R18+ rating added for videogames … but are children protected?

New guidelines for the classification of videogames have been released by Federal Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare and, despite being a step in the right direction, the revisions are largely disappointing…
Young athletes are not small adults. Young athletes are not small adults. JosephB

Monday’s medical myth: young athletes can train like adults

Public health experts, educators and the media constantly remind us that children should put down the video games and get active. But how much activity is really necessary to maintain health? And how much…
Bad NAPLAN results can lead parents to seek help, but which learning programs can they trust? Bad NAPLAN results can lead parents to seek help, but which learning programs can they trust? Test image from www.shutterstock.com

Nasty NAPLAN results: what should parents do next?

The latest NAPLAN results have arrived, and soon enough thousands of Australian parents will tear open the envelope containing their child’s NAPLAN results. They will be faced with a series of graphs that…
Schools fear of litigation could be driving bans on “risky” playground activities - like cartwheeling. Schools fear of litigation could be driving bans on “risky” playground activities - like cartwheeling. Cartwheel image from www.shutterstock.com

Banning cartwheels: school litigation fears are unfounded

A few schools have hit the headlines recently for banning traditional playground activities like cartwheels, handstands, ball games and even high fives. Parents are rightly objecting to the bans, and pointing…
Birdbrains or copycats: Aesop’s fable offers insight as to how children and birds think. Birdbrains or copycats: Aesop’s fable offers insight as to how children and birds think. 'Playingwithbrushes'

Fable or truth: are birds as brainy as children?

Humans are very good at innovating and it would seem reasonable to expect our children would be too. But a recent study questions these assumptions, suggesting young children’s ability to problem-solve…
The trauma of women forced to give up their children will finally be recognised. The trauma of women forced to give up their children will finally be recognised. .Andi.

An apology to forced adoption birth mothers: it’s about time

A national apology to Australian mothers who experienced forced adoptions was announced by Attorney General Nicola Roxon last weekend. This apology will follow those made to the Stolen Generations, Forgotten…
Questions of cuckoldry and fidelity have always existed – and comfort has come from religious customs. Questions of cuckoldry and fidelity have always existed – and comfort has come from religious customs. More Good Foundation

In the name of the father: the links between religion and paternity

Religious leaders and holy texts share deep preoccupations with sex and reproduction. From Islamic purdah to Jewish menstrual purity laws, to Vatican neuroses about everything from contraception to masturbating…
Praising kids all the time might lead to inflated self-esteem and low regard for others. Praising kids all the time might lead to inflated self-esteem and low regard for others. Flickr/ymc_photos

Can excessive parental praise turn good kids into bullies?

When most people picture the typical school bully, they think of a kid who is likely to have been bullied themselves. A child with low self-esteem who is trying to make themselves feel better by picking…
How young is too young to be prosecuted or convicted of a crime? How young is too young to be prosecuted or convicted of a crime? Flickr/Chris Runoff

Age-old question: when should children be responsible for their crimes?

The age of criminal responsibility acts as the gateway to the criminal justice system – under a certain age you are kept out. Most jurisdictions have this age barrier because it’s widely understood children…
Finally children’s rights will be represented at the national level in Australia. Finally children’s rights will be represented at the national level in Australia. Flickr/vastateparksstaff

A long wait: Australia finally gets a Children’s Commissioner

A national Children’s Commissioner to champion the rights of Australia’s young people was announced last week by the Gillard government. The long overdue announcement is a welcome development and should…
The tax transfer system does not treat all families equally. The tax transfer system does not treat all families equally. Sean Dreilinger

Time to start a debate on universal family payments in Australia

Most of the reforms proposed by the Henry Tax Review appear to have died a quiet death. In his recent article on inequality in The Monthly, Treasurer Wayne Swan does not mention the Henry Review at all…
The Federal government has secured rare uniform cooperation from the states on its early years learning reform. The Federal government has secured rare uniform cooperation from the states on its early years learning reform. AAP/Paul Miller

The best start in life for the price of a cup of coffee

Would you pay the equivalent of a coffee a day to guarantee a system whereby Australian children got the best start in life? From January this year, the Australian education system is changing its approach…
Convicted murderer Keli Lane is one of Australia’s most famous cases of infanticide. Convicted murderer Keli Lane is one of Australia’s most famous cases of infanticide. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Safe haven: preventing women from harming their babies

In December 2010, Keli Lane, a former champion water polo player, was convicted of the 1996 murder of her two day old daughter, Tegan. The new-born girl was never seen again after leaving the hospital…
Children remember advertisements and, more often than not, they want what they see. Children remember advertisements and, more often than not, they want what they see. Dimitris Papazimouris

Fat Free TV – one step towards tackling childhood obesity

The impact of junk food advertising on childhood obesity is a topic often debated in the media. One side calls for banning junk food advertising during children’s television viewing times while the other…
Quality relationships and time spent together is what’s important when it comes to children’s wellbeing. Quality relationships and time spent together is what’s important when it comes to children’s wellbeing. Flickr/disgustipado

Shared parenting: what’s really important when dads move out

The media often blame a lot of society’s problems on the break down of traditional family structures and the increase in single parent homes. When fathers no longer live at home, policy makers focus on…
Are hormone therapies the answer to transgendered children? Are hormone therapies the answer to transgendered children? Flickr/PhotoComiX

Eugenics and the practice of transgendering children

The practice of eugenics is returning to contemporary Australia in the treatment of transgendered children. With the cooperation of the Family Court, children as young as ten are being put on puberty delaying…
ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC’s The Slap investigates the complex and very personal views of those at the heart of a smacking case. ABC

The legality of ‘The Slap’

In last night’s ABC program, The Slap, an impulsive slap changed everything. A man struck someone else’s child at a barbecue provoking a legal challenge. In real life, that would be an assault, though…
A year four slump can be avoided if children are given the tools to read when very young. A year four slump can be avoided if children are given the tools to read when very young. Flickr/Éole

As easy as ABC: the way to ensure children learn to read

Human speech has long been present in every culture, and our brains have evolved specialized features to enable its rapid development when we are exposed to the speech of others. Reading however is a relatively…
Helping children recognise the sounds in words can improve their reading ability. Helping children recognise the sounds in words can improve their reading ability. Pratham Books/Flickr

Sounding off about teaching children to read

There are two main approaches to teaching children to read. Phonics, involves teaching children to recognise combinations of characters and establish the meanings of words based on combining them. The…

Research and News (4)

Research Briefs (31)

Hand gestures help kids learn maths

Using hand gestures may help children learn mathematics better, according to a recent study. Researchers, led by Miriam A…

Moving tougher on poor children

Children who move frequently while young are more likely to have behavioural problems - but only if they’re from low income…

Babies show computers how to learn

Research into the cognition of babies and small children may help scientists program computers to think and learn more like…