The Media love Pinetrees Lodge, Lord Howe

The Media love Pinetrees Lodge, Lord Howe

Over the years we have provided the most wonderful experiences for media at Lord Howe island. The 120 year old Pineteees Lodge is a place to relax, unwind and experience the beautiful surroundings of this heritage listed island. It’s a special place and the below pieces of coverage are some of my favourites. Visit all here:

Prevention story read here:

The Weekend Australian :

How much internet use is too much for our young teenagers?

How much internet use is too much for our young teenagers?

recent study released by the University of Sydney has made a connection between internet use and the ability teenagers have in regulating their emotions. How I understand this from my own kids perspective is – the longer my child is online the harder it is for him/her to regulate their own emotions.

Now even though I believe my son is not addicted to being online, I certainly notice a change in behaviour if he has been online for too long in one day. I notice a change in mood and even the inability to regulate his response to a request from me. For example, asking him to get off being online can be met with ‘attitude’. This is when I know I have been too ‘relaxed’ with his time online.

What the research says about internet use

With over 2800 kids from 17 schools around Australia participating in this study, the results are sobering.  Sydney University’s Business School, Dr Donald was quoted saying:

“We were surprised to find the negative effects of compulsive internet usage on things like the ability to set goals and understand one’s emotions, remained stable across all four years of the study.”

The other key outcome in this research, was a suggestion that it is limited internet use that will be more effective in helping kids manage their emotional regulation, rather than learning how to regulate their emotions. That is, the less they are online the better equipped they are to develop this aspect of human development more effectively and possibly even more naturally.

How much time should kids spend on the internet

At Cue-7 Workshops we believe a healthy social media and internet use plan is the key to bringing balance to usage. As parents, what we can do is sets limits and help our kids get control of ‘themselves’ , as we can’t really control technology and its evolution.

In terms of how much time our kids should be spending online  and how much time would contribute to addictive usage? I refer back to a previous blogand the research released by McCrindle Research (in October, 2019) highlighting the recommended screen-time for a child between 2-5yrs is no more than 1hour and 5-17years, no more than two hours a day. (Australian Department of Health recommendations) However realistically this is closer to 3.5 hours during the week with an increase of 20% on weekends, taking it to 4.5hours.

The report by Sydney University did suggest that 12-months of heavy internet use is not likely to contribute to addiction, however ongoing use across the teenage years could compound the effects and impact emotional dysregulation in the long -term.

How to manage kids online media use

In light of ongoing emerging research that continues to educate us on the impact of social media and internet use, I have created a usage plan with each of my kids. It includes periods of online activity, then breaks with physical exercise. No gaming during the week and when it does occur,  it includes a maximum use of 3 hours a day. This is still over the recommended time! and it’s a work in progress most of the time!

The other important area I try and get my  kids to think about, is to question WHAT they are consuming online?  Becoming a critical thinker when it comes to consuming media, is a must for all of us. Understanding how information is ‘framed’ is key to getting some perspective online – especially in the word of instagram! Asking them questions such as; Is that true do you think? Do you think they look like that every morning? Why would they be promoting this fabulous life of theirs that way? Can everyday life really be that exciting all the time? Does having the right shoes really impact the type of person you are? Should you believe them? Why?

The Cue-7 online workshop to help manage social media use

When starting high school there is great excitement in connecting with new friends via social platforms and apps. Managing this explosion of usage and connectivity is an area of great concern to parents ( I remember feeling this acutely when my daughter started year 7). Cue-7 Workshops believes there are positive impacts to using social media for our kids, but they also must be considered in light of issues that kids will face too. I will aim to talk about the positive and negatives in more detail in a following post.

if you would like to start planning the social media use by your child in high school, visit our quick, easy and guided online workshops to help with this plan. . There are also some great resources for parents, including esafety commission.


Cue-7 helps prepare kids for high-school

Cue-7 helps prepare kids for high-school

Why preparing your kids early for High School will give them the best start to their education

As a teacher and a mum, I was keen to prepare my kids early for the start of high school. Firstly I am going to talk about my background in education and how this has influenced the creation of Cue-7 Workshops. Secondly, I will share how I am planning to help my son start high school with confidence in 2021. 

The school transition 

I have worked in tertiary education for over 15 years now (yikes!). I meet with new school leavers every year and watch their enthusiasm, passion and preparation either flourish or waver. This is usually in response to a new environment, new assessment schedule, new people, new technology and more. In the same way, the transition of year six students into high school can be a challenge for them.

These are two important transitions for our students, high school to university AND year six to high school. As a former high school teacher, I was very passionate about providing a positive first year experience for students in year seven. However as I became a mum myself and moved into tertiary teaching, I focused on preparing students for the workforce. 

More recently as my kids have started to move into high school the importance of preparing them early and giving them the best start to their education is a top priority. This has now moved me to create Cue-7 workshops to help prepare all year six students to start high school with confidence. Providing students with a platform to think about and plan their start to high school will give them a confident boost.

Some of the key reasons I want to help prepare my kids for high school include; 

  1. Introduce them early to homework and assessment planning. This skill will set routine, behaviour and a pattern for keeping on top of work so they don’t fall behind.
  2. Having a consistent approach to doing homework can help with procrastination, feeling overwhelmed and bored. 
  3. Having a (homework, social media, goal-setting) plan will boost their confidence and sense of personal accomplishment. Accordingly, I want my kids to feel good about their accomplishments, big or small. Just starting on a task can kick start this.
  4. Tasks in the workshop such as identifying your strengths and knowing your values will help boost confidence and help negotiate friendships. In this way, I want my kids to feel their best when dealing with other kids at school. 
  5. Have a realistic perspective around friendships in high school. This is tricky for kids and adults alike. All relationships change. Knowing what to expect and what to look out in a friend can help kids negotiate and traverse the tricky nature of high school friendships. 
  6. How goal setting, big or small can make a difference in how you progress in high school. Knowing how to set goals and how to celebrate one’s day can contribute to feelings of positivity. 
  7. Lastly, how to enjoy your time off school! This is about knowing what kids like to do and how to relax to support all the hard work a student does at school. As part of work you need playtime! 

The Department of Education also have a great resource of tips and information to help start high school. This video was filmed and produced by my cousin atGood Chat TV and features my twin second cousins! I love how it highlights what kids may be experiencing and how a few gestures can make their day easier. 

The Cue-7 Workshops to do at home

To find out more about the Cue-7 Workshops and the tasks students can compete at home, visit us here. Each student is guided by myself in each video. Student receive a PDF booklet to track their tasks. Students also hear from other high school students for great tips and advice for starting high with confidence. Visit our three packages to see which one may suit your child.

Good luck in preparing your child for high school! 

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Identifying Kids Strengths for High School

Identifying Kids Strengths for High School

As a teacher and a mum, I want all of our kids to feel confident, capable and inspired when heading into high school. Identifying kids strengths for high school is one of the important areas we cover in the Cue-7 Workshops. I start each workshop with two tasks; firstly, Who am I? and secondly, What are your Strengths? 

Both of these tasks come before activities in the workshop aroundhomework planning, social media management and friendships for example. Strengths come in a few different areas – character strengths, skill-set strengths and even mental strengths. I read a beautiful quote yesterday which said: 

In light of this quote, courage can be a subtle quality. It can be a strength our kids possess but they might not have identified it or named it yet. Other qualities our kids should value in themselves include patience, kindness, being positive, having the courage to speak up, respectful of others, compassion, hard working. 

VIA Strengths

In contemplating my own kids strengths, many years ago I sat my kids down to complete the VIA character strengths test (I think my son was too young at the time, however he is in year 6 this year, so it is on my to do list!). It was such an interesting look at where some of the interpersonal (communication between 2 or more people), intrapersonal (the relationship you have with yourself) and even intellectual strengths lay in my kids. 

From this, I’ve simplified the exploration around one’s strengths for kids doing the Cue-7 Workshop online. It allows them to give some thought to their values and character plus what their strengths are and how to nurture those strengths. 

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Tips from Raising Children’s Network

With kids understanding who they are more clearly, it can help build their confidence. I love what the Raising Children Network share about confidence in teenagers: 

‘Confidence helps teenagers make safe, informed decisions. Confident teenagers can avoid people and situations that aren’t necessarily right for them, and find those that are. If your child is confident, he’s also more likely to be assertive, positive, engaged, enthusiastic and persistent’.

They suggest some key steps to help build your teens confidence too;

1. Be practical – to help nurture and build strengths

2. Give your child opportunities to try new things

3. Encourage your child to keep trying 

4. Model confidence in your own ability

5. Encourage your child to act confident 

6. Practise social skills

7. Praise their efforts 

Cue-7 Workshops

Following these tips, not only can parents help build confidence in their kids, but kids can actively contemplate their values and current strengths to help nurture these qualities and skills in themselves. My aim in the workshop is to give kids a chance to identify themselves and feel positive about who are they are, before heading into year 7.

If you would like your child to do an online workshop, have a look at the 3 packages we have available. They consist of 2-3 minute videos with guidance from myself, a teacher, talking about each task. They also hear from students just like them, providing tips and advice about high school. Each child does the workshop in their own time, any time.

If you would like to hear about our next free webinar for parents, email with free webinar in the subject line.