10 January 2024

How to talk to your children about hate speech

Hate speech has a long history, but the growth of online communications means that it can now spread far and fast. Whether in person or online, almost all children and young people will encounter hate speech at some time. As a parent, it’s important to talk to your child about hate speech, to help them recognize it and know what to do when they…, Hate speech facts, What is hate speech?, Hate speech can be described as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour that attacks or discriminates against a person or group’s identity, such as religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, disability, age, gender or sexual orientation. Hate speech can also include other “identity factors”, like language, economic…, How are children affected by hate speech?, Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to hate speech, both online and in person. When children hear or read hate speech aimed at them directly or a part of their identity – such as their race, colour or gender – it can make them feel like there is something different or wrong about them. This can impact their self-esteem and can…, Hate speech vs free speech, Freedom of expression is a human right and tackling hate speech protects this right. It’s possible to disagree with or criticize an individual or group without threatening their well-being and safety. Hate speech limits freedom of expression as those targeted by hateful language do not feel safe expressing themselves freely., What is trolling?, “Trolling” is when someone posts or comments online to provoke a reaction from others. Trolling aims to disrupt, get attention and cause distress. It becomes hate speech when the actions promote hatred and discrimination against a person or group’s identity, such as their gender, race or sexual orientation. People involved in trolling will often…, How to talk to your children about hate speech, Conversations about issues like hate, racism, sexism and xenophobia can be uncomfortable for many parents. But it is important to try to create a safe space for your child to be able to speak to you and share anything that is on their mind.  Conversations will look different for every family, but remember: You know your child best. Use age-…, 1. Educating your child about hate speech, Explain to your child that everyone has a right to be safe in society and treated with dignity and respect. Hate speech is always wrong and it’s on all of us to reject it. Explore together what hate speech is, so your child can identify it, whether it happens to them or someone else. Here are some questions you can explore together: What do you…, 2. Hate speech online, The Internet and social media enable us to connect with friends and family, pursue interests and be part of communities. Sadly, the same digital tools and platforms can also enable hateful content to be created easily, often anonymously, and shared widely fast. Hate speech has the potential to spread online to a global audience and can resurface…, 3. Talk openly and frequently to your children, The more you talk to your children about topics like hate speech, racism and xenophobia, the more comfortable they will be to come to you if they experience it. Find opportunities to talk about these topics in your daily routine. For example, if something relevant comes up on TV, you could ask your child what they know about the topic and what…, 4. Stand against hate speech, Remember that you are the example that your child follows and be mindful of your own words and actions, including online. Take every opportunity to reject hate speech and stand up for every person's right to be treated with dignity and respect. Explain to your child that if we witness hate speech, we can show support to the person or people…, 5. Embrace diversity, Explain to your child that we aren’t all the same and that is a good thing. The world would be a very boring place if everyone was the same. Encouraging openness and curiosity can help children to notice differences and appreciate them. It fosters conversation, understanding and empathy with people who are different from them. > Read: Talking…, What should I do if my child experiences hate speech?, All children have the right to protection from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. Any incidents of hate speech need to be taken very seriously. Depending on the situation, you may need to report it to your child’s school, to the platform it happened on or to the police.  , Listen and reassure, If your child has experienced hate speech, the first step is to give them time to explain what happened. Listen carefully and tell them that you are glad they came to you. Focus on making them feel heard and supported. Your child is more likely to open up to you if you stay calm about what you hear. Be clear that hate speech is wrong and that your…, Hate speech at your child’s school, If the hate speech was from a student at your child’s school, record the evidence if possible and report it to the school. Discuss with the school authorities how they will protect your child’s right to be safe, as well as what consequences there will be for the sender of the hate speech. Discipline should always be immediate, non-violent and…, Hate speech from someone outside your child’s school, If the hate speech is from someone outside your child’s school, document any evidence and consider reporting it to the police. Don’t hesitate to speak to the police if you have any concerns for your child’s safety.  , Hate speech online, Record the evidence and report it to the social media platform. Check what tools are available on the platform/s to block or restrict the sender. Here are reporting and safety resources for many popular platforms: Facebook Instagram Kik Snapchat TikTok Tumblr WeChat WhatsApp X (formerly Twitter) YouTube
10 January 2024

How to talk to your children about hate speech

Hate speech has a long history, but the growth of online communications means that it can now spread far and fast. Whether in person or online, almost all children and young people will encounter hate speech at some time. As a parent, it’s important to talk to your child about hate speech, to help them recognize it and know what to do when they…, Hate speech facts, What is hate speech?, Hate speech can be described as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour that attacks or discriminates against a person or group’s identity, such as religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, disability, age, gender or sexual orientation. Hate speech can also include other “identity factors”, like language, economic…, How are children affected by hate speech?, Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to hate speech, both online and in person. When children hear or read hate speech aimed at them directly or a part of their identity – such as their race, colour or gender – it can make them feel like there is something different or wrong about them. This can impact their self-esteem and can…, Hate speech vs free speech, Freedom of expression is a human right and tackling hate speech protects this right. It’s possible to disagree with or criticize an individual or group without threatening their well-being and safety. Hate speech limits freedom of expression as those targeted by hateful language do not feel safe expressing themselves freely., What is trolling?, “Trolling” is when someone posts or comments online to provoke a reaction from others. Trolling aims to disrupt, get attention and cause distress. It becomes hate speech when the actions promote hatred and discrimination against a person or group’s identity, such as their gender, race or sexual orientation. People involved in trolling will often…, How to talk to your children about hate speech, Conversations about issues like hate, racism, sexism and xenophobia can be uncomfortable for many parents. But it is important to try to create a safe space for your child to be able to speak to you and share anything that is on their mind.  Conversations will look different for every family, but remember: You know your child best. Use age-…, 1. Educating your child about hate speech, Explain to your child that everyone has a right to be safe in society and treated with dignity and respect. Hate speech is always wrong and it’s on all of us to reject it. Explore together what hate speech is, so your child can identify it, whether it happens to them or someone else. Here are some questions you can explore together: What do you…, 2. Hate speech online, The Internet and social media enable us to connect with friends and family, pursue interests and be part of communities. Sadly, the same digital tools and platforms can also enable hateful content to be created easily, often anonymously, and shared widely fast. Hate speech has the potential to spread online to a global audience and can resurface…, 3. Talk openly and frequently to your children, The more you talk to your children about topics like hate speech, racism and xenophobia, the more comfortable they will be to come to you if they experience it. Find opportunities to talk about these topics in your daily routine. For example, if something relevant comes up on TV, you could ask your child what they know about the topic and what…, 4. Stand against hate speech, Remember that you are the example that your child follows and be mindful of your own words and actions, including online. Take every opportunity to reject hate speech and stand up for every person's right to be treated with dignity and respect. Explain to your child that if we witness hate speech, we can show support to the person or people…, 5. Embrace diversity, Explain to your child that we aren’t all the same and that is a good thing. The world would be a very boring place if everyone was the same. Encouraging openness and curiosity can help children to notice differences and appreciate them. It fosters conversation, understanding and empathy with people who are different from them. > Read: Talking…, What should I do if my child experiences hate speech?, All children have the right to protection from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. Any incidents of hate speech need to be taken very seriously. Depending on the situation, you may need to report it to your child’s school, to the platform it happened on or to the police.  , Listen and reassure, If your child has experienced hate speech, the first step is to give them time to explain what happened. Listen carefully and tell them that you are glad they came to you. Focus on making them feel heard and supported. Your child is more likely to open up to you if you stay calm about what you hear. Be clear that hate speech is wrong and that your…, Hate speech at your child’s school, If the hate speech was from a student at your child’s school, record the evidence if possible and report it to the school. Discuss with the school authorities how they will protect your child’s right to be safe, as well as what consequences there will be for the sender of the hate speech. Discipline should always be immediate, non-violent and…, Hate speech from someone outside your child’s school, If the hate speech is from someone outside your child’s school, document any evidence and consider reporting it to the police. Don’t hesitate to speak to the police if you have any concerns for your child’s safety.  , Hate speech online, Record the evidence and report it to the social media platform. Check what tools are available on the platform/s to block or restrict the sender. Here are reporting and safety resources for many popular platforms: Facebook Instagram Kik Snapchat TikTok Tumblr WeChat WhatsApp X (formerly Twitter) YouTube  
19 January 2023

The science of play

Did you know your child’s brain develops more in the first three years of life than at any other time? That’s a lot of growing! The good news is that one of the best ways for you to support your child’s development is actually quite simple and fun for both of you. On the surface, play may seem like it’s all about having fun, but it’s far more than…, When she’s building a tower, she’s practicing physical skills, Stacking objects helps her to understand movement and space through practicing sensory-motor skills and developing spatial understanding. This skillset is important for nurturing a healthy, active body. Engage with your child by noticing what she is building, making sounds and facial expressions, and taking turns adding objects to the structure –…, When he’s making silly sounds, he’s building social skills, Little ones naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions and gestures. Paying attention to your child, naming what he is doing, and responding by adapting your gaze, voice and movement helps to build and strengthen neural connections in his brain that support the development of communication and social skills. This kind…, When you’re playing hide-and-go-seek with objects together, she’s building cognitive skills, Working on a challenging (but fun!) task like hiding and finding household objects helps your child to practice concentration, problem solving and flexible thinking. She’s learning to tackle complex tasks and build effective strategies to overcome obstacles. If your child seems frustrated at any point, provide helpful hints but let her reach the…, When he sings and dances, he’s building emotional skills, Understanding, managing and expressing emotions by building self-awareness and handling impulses is vital to your child’s emotional development and lifelong well-being. Singing and dancing is a great way to express and let out feelings! Make it a bonding activity by and singing or dancing along.  , When she draws from her imagination, she’s building creative skills, When your little one is sitting down and drawing her own world on paper, she is expressing her ideas and transforming them into reality. Once she’s finished, have her walk you through the world she’s created and ask questions about what you see.   The good news is that children don't need expensive toys to play and learn. In fact, you probably…
15 December 2022

How to discipline your child the smart and healthy way

There comes a time when every parent struggles with how best to discipline their child. Whether dealing with a screaming toddler or an angry teen, it can be hard to control your temper. No parent wants to find themselves in such a situation and the bottom line is that shouting and physical violence never help. Thankfully, there are other, more…, -, Why positive discipline?, “Parents don't want to shout or hit their kids. We do it because we're stressed and don't see another way,” says Professor Cluver. The evidence is clear: shouting and hitting simply do not work and can do more harm than good in the long run. Repeated shouting and hitting can even adversely impact a child’s entire life. The continued “toxic stress…, 1. Plan 1-on-1 time, One-on-one time is important for building any good relationship and even more so with your children. “It can be 20 minutes a day. Or even 5 minutes. You can combine it with something like washing dishes together while you sing a song or chatting while you're hanging out the washing,” says Professor Cluver. “What's really important is that you…, 2. Praise the positives, As parents we often focus on our children’s bad behaviour and call it out. Children may read this as a way to get your attention, perpetuating poor conduct rather than putting a stop to it. Children thrive on praise. It makes them feel loved and special. “Watch out for when they're doing something good and praise them, even if that thing is just…, 3. Set clear expectations, “Telling your child exactly what you want them to do is much more effective than telling them what not to do,” says Professor Cluver. “When you ask a child to not make a mess, or to be good, they don't necessarily understand what they're required to do.” Clear instructions like “Please pick up all of your toys and put them in the box” set a clear…, 4. Distract creatively, When your child is being difficult, distracting them with a more positive activity can be a useful strategy says Professor Cluver. “When you distract them towards something else – by changing the topic, introducing a game, leading them into another room, or going for a walk, you can successfully divert their energy towards positive behaviour.”…, 5. Use calm consequences, Part of growing up is learning that if you do something, something can happen as a result. Defining this for your child is a simple process that encourages better behaviour while teaching them about responsibility. Give your child a chance to do the right thing by explaining the consequences of their bad behaviour. As an example, if you want your…, Engaging with younger children, One-on-one time can be fun – and it’s completely free! “You can copy their expressions, bang spoons against pots, or sing together,” adds Professor Cluver. “There’s amazing research showing that playing with your children boosts their brain development.”, Engaging with older children, Like younger children, teenagers seek praise and want to be thought of as good. One-on-one time is still important to them. “They love it if you dance around the room with them or engage in a conversation about their favourite singer,” says Professor Cluver. “They may not always show it, but they do. And, it's an effective way of building a…, Advice for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic , The pandemic has brought about sudden and drastic changes in the lives of families with parents directly in the middle of it. Here are some tips that can help parents get through these and any other stressful times:, 1. Pause, We all know the stress when we feel our child is being difficult. At moments like these, being present and stepping back is a simple and useful tactic. Hit the “pause button”, as Professor Cluver calls it. “Take five deep breaths, slowly and carefully and you'll notice you are able to respond in a calmer, more considered way. Parents across the…, 2. Step back, Parents often forget to care for themselves, says Professor Cluver. “Take some time for yourself, such as when the kids are asleep, to do something that makes you feel happy and calm. It's really hard to do all the things right as a parent, when you haven't given yourself a break.”, 3. Praise yourself, It’s easy to forget the astonishing job you do as a parent every day and you should give yourself the credit, advises Professor Cluver. “Each day, maybe while brushing your teeth, take a moment to ask: ‘What was one thing I did really well with my kids today?’ And, just know that you did something great.”   “We might be in and out of isolation,…
10 February 2022

What we know about the Omicron variant

The highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 is driving an unprecedented surge of infections globally. We’ve gathered the latest expert information about this variant and will continue to update this article as more information becomes available. For more tips and information on COVID-19, see our  COVID-19 guide for parents . Last updated…, What is the Omicron variant? , The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been called a variant of concern by WHO based on the evidence that it has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves. There is consistent evidence that Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant in countries with documented community transmission, with a doubling time of 2-…, How did the Omicron variant develop? , When a virus is circulating widely and causing numerous infections, the likelihood of the virus mutating increases. The more opportunities a virus has to spread, the more opportunities it has to undergo changes. New variants like Omicron are a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is therefore essential that people get the…, Where is the Omicron variant present? , Omicron has now been detected in most countries, after the variant was first detected in November 2021.   , Is the Omicron variant more severe than other COVID-19 variants? , Early findings suggest that there is a reduced risk of hospitalization for Omicron compared to the Delta variant. But WHO warns that it should not be dismissed as “mild”. Increased transmission is expected to lead to more hospitalizations. That increase causes strain on frontline workers and healthcare systems, which in turn can result in more…, Is the Omicron variant more contagious? , Yes, the Omicron variant is more contagious than previous variants. However, being vaccinated and taking precautions such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and wearing a mask are critical in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we know these actions have been effective against other variants.   > See other…, Does the Omicron variant cause different symptoms?  , There is no information to suggest that Omicron causes different COVID-19 symptoms from other COVID-19 variants.  , Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective against the Omicron variant?  , Researchers are looking into any potential impact the Omicron variant has on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Information is still limited, but there may be a small reduction in the effectiveness of vaccines against severe illness and death, and a decline in preventing mild disease and infection. However, WHO reports that so far it looks…, Is a prior COVID-19 infection effective against the Omicron variant?, WHO reports that early evidence suggests that previous infection could offer less protection against Omicron in comparison to other variants of concern, such as Delta. Information is still limited though and we will share updates as it becomes available. You should get vaccinated even if you’ve previously had COVID-19. While people who recover…, Do current COVID-19 tests detect the Omicron variant? , The widely used PCR and antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests continue to detect infection of COVID-19, including Omicron.  , Are children more likely to contract the Omicron variant? , Research is ongoing into Omicron’s transmissibility and we will update as more information becomes available. However, people who are mixing socially and those who are unvaccinated are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.  , How can I protect myself and my family against the Omicron variant?, The most important thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, make sure to:  Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Make sure that your hands are clean when you put on and remove your mask. Keep a physical distance of at least 1 metre from others.  Avoid poorly ventilated or…, How can I talk to my child about the Omicron and other COVID-19 variants?, News about COVID-19 and now the Omicron variant is flooding our daily lives and it is only natural that curious young children will have questions – lots of them. Here are some pointers to keep in mind tips for helping to explain what can be a complicated topic in simple and reassuring terms.  Children have a right to know what is going on, but it…