Read series of books by Enid Blyton by Contributors to Wikimedia projects

The Faraway Tree is a series of popular novels for children by British author Enid Blyton. The titles in the series are The Enchanted Wood (1939), The Magic Faraway Tree (1943), The Folk of the Faraway Tree (1946) and Up the Faraway Tree (1951).

We recently went on a driving holiday and I borrowed out an audiobook reading of Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood, read by Kate Winslet. Although we did not get around to listening to it in the car as I thought, I listened to it personally. I was left wondering if there was anything as comparable in today’s books, maybe the Rainbow Magic series?
Bookmarked Why Are Kids So Sad? by Malcolm Harris (Intelligencer)

As American youths suffer from a mental-health crisis, the media asks the wrong questions. Instead of focusing on technology, iPhones, and social media, pundits should be paying attention to broader economic and social patterns.

Malcolm Harris goes beyond the technology thesis to explore why children today are so sad. In part, he talks about the lack of genuine autonomy and trust:

Autonomy is essential for developing what psychologists call an “internal locus of control” — the sense that your choices and actions affect your life, that they matter — and that’s exactly what today’s young people don’t have. Decades of studies have established the connection between an external locus of control in youth and hopelessness, depression, and suicidality, but amid the current crisis there’s been no political constituency for giving kids some slack. Instead, the New York Times suggests dialectical behavior therapy, an effective resource-intensive way to help patients deal with their lack of genuine autonomy (and another set of appointments for them to keep). A therapist for every child might be the best solution we can hope for, but I simply do not believe that any substantial portion of children should require frequent psychological treatment to cope with being alive except in a deeply malformed society. Why is the alternative — increasing the trust that we are willing to put in our country’s youth — so unthinkable?

However, at the end of the day, maybe children are sad because we are all sad with the world in disarray.

American kids feel like their actions don’t matter and the world is fucked anyway; is that so different from the rest of us?

In some ways this reminds me of danah boyd’s work with children and technology documented in It’s Complicated.

Liked Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up (WIRED)

In sharp contrast to Postman’s prediction, childhood never did disappear. Instead, it has become ubiquitous in a new and un­expected way. Today, childhood and adolescence are more visible and pervasive than ever before. For the first time in history, children and adolescents have widespread access to the technologies needed to represent their lives, circulate these representations, and forge networks with each other, often with little or no adult supervision. The potential danger is no longer childhood’s disappearance, but rather the possibility of a perpetual childhood. The real crisis of the digital age is not the disappearance of childhood, but the specter of a childhood that can never be forgotten.

Excerpt adapted from The End of Forgetting: Growing Up with Social Media by Kate Eichhorn, published by Harvard University Press.
Liked How The Very Hungry Caterpillar Became a Classic (The Atlantic)

Part of why both kids and parents love The Very Hungry Caterpillar is because it’s an educational book that doesn’t feel like a capital-E Educational book. Traditionally, children’s literature is a didactic genre: “It teaches something,” Martin says, “but the best children’s books teach without kids knowing that they’re learning something.” In The Very Hungry Caterpillar, she adds, “you learn the days of the week. You learn colors. You learn the fruits. You learn junk-food names. In the end, you learn a little bit about nutrition, too: If you eat a whole bunch of junk food, you’re not going to feel that great.” Yet, crucially, none of the valuable information being presented ever feels “in your face,” Martin says.

Liked Is Your Child An Orchid Or A Dandelion? Unlocking The Science Of Sensitive Kids by Sam Briger, Seth Kelley (KQED)

I think that this is probably the most difficult parenting task in raising an orchid child. The parent of an orchid child needs to walk this very fine line between, on the one hand, not pushing them into circumstances that are really going to overwhelm them and make them greatly fearful, but, on the other hand, not protecting them so much that they don’t have experiences of mastery of these kinds of fearful situations.

via Ian O’Byrne
Bookmarked Big tech has your kid’s data — and you probably gave it to them (Vox)

A big culprit: “sharenting,” or parents willingly giving away their children’s information, like name and date of birth. Those Facebook birth announcements may be posted with innocent intentions, but they can come with serious consequences. According to security experts at Barclays consulted for the children’s commissioner report, this leaves the door open to identity theft. The experts cited criminal reports where kids’ data was stashed away until they turned 18, upon which fraudulent credit card and loans applications were created in their names.

I am always intrigued by what we share online and the implications this may have. One area that interests me is the consequence of inadvertantly sharing things like photographs. Do social media sites even care if we tag or not? Do they automatically tag? Is this attached to our shadow profile? As the New York Times highlights, the collation of tracking data by third parties is currently unregulated.
Bookmarked Six myths about children in the digital age (Parenting for a Digital Future)

Today Sonia Livingstone is presenting on the panel at the Digital Families 2018 conference discussing the future for young people online – risks, opportunities and resilience. In this post Sonia ta…

Sonia Livingstone outlines six myths associated with children and their:

  1. Children are ‘digital natives’ and know it all.
  2. Parents are ‘digital immigrants’ and don’t know anything.
  3. Time with media is time wasted compared with ‘real’ conversation or playing outside.
  4. Parents’ role is to monitor, restrict and ban because digital risks greatly outweigh digital opportunities.
  5. Children don’t care about their privacy online.
  6. Media literacy is THE answer to the problems of the digital age.

She then highlights many of the contradictions associated with these beliefs. Along with the work of Alexander Samuel, Anya Kamenetz, Erika Christakis, danah boyd and Doug Belshaw, they provide a useful point of conversation and reflection.

via Doug Belshaw

Bookmarked Digitally Connected and Proficient at Three by Mal Lee; Roger Broadie (

The bit of being digital that is set in stone from age three is the absolute awareness that being connected aids their learning, and that connectedness is highly visual and aural, as well as being textual, and includes connection with people as well as information. They have probably also internalised that they can interact creatively with the digital environment and everything in it, to aid their learning.

Hence the comparison with learning to speak, in that it is messy, diverse, involves a lot of trial and error and has concepts built and rebuilt from a multitude of influences.

Mal Lee and Roger Broadie discuss the relationship between infants and the digital world. One of the points that they make is that, by three, children brought up in digital environments will be largely directing their own learning with the digital. This raises so many questions for me, such as what is lost in this transfer to swipping on a tablet and talking to search engines, as well as who or what the children are actually connecting with? It is interesting to think about this in regards to Google’s ‘selfish ledger’.
Liked A Study of 1 Million Teenagers Reveals This Much Screen Time a Day Leads to the Happiest Kids (

The key is to not just say, but do. Offer more attractive alternatives. And don’t just encourage other activities; actually get involved. Do things your kids like to do. Take them places they like to go. Help them learn a sport. Help them learn to play an instrument.

Make it easy for friends to visit, and for them to visit friends — in real life, not virtually.

Via Glen Cochrane
Listened Perfect prams for perfect parents: the rise of the bougie buggy – podcast from the Guardian

How the rise of the luxury pram capitalised on the status anxiety of a new generation of parents

This is a fascinating insight into the Bugaboo. This includes a background to the development of the first Bugaboo prams, the role of Sex in the City and the way that it has changed peoples decisions.
Liked Tread Softly by Sue Crowley (Freeing the Angel)

When children are tiny, they are reliant on the gentle nurturing of adults. They need us to play with them, to give them lots of warmth and attention and love. As they grow older we can be a bit tougher on them, show them how to stand up in the world that they live in, and help them succeed. But when they are tiny we need to handle them gently. And they are only tiny for a very short while. So maybe we should all tread softly, lest we tread upon their dreams.