New podcast KidsQs, hosted by children for children, aims to answer all big questions

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Gail AnthonyThe West Australian
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Hosts Kate Jeffery and Dylan Easther record KidsQs.
Camera IconHosts Kate Jeffery and Dylan Easther record KidsQs. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

Q: What’s better than a podcast for kids organised by adults?

A: A kids’ podcast run by kids!

KidsQs, the brand new podcast for young people, brought to you by Seven West Media Education and ED!, launched this month with a discussion about climate change, which linked to ED!’s cover story on that day.

Today’s KidsQs topic is gaming. With children stuck at home recently because of COVID-19, gaming has been a way for them to keep in touch with friends.

But can too much gaming become a problem?

Year 5 Applecross Primary School student, Gweni Fisher, records her question about gaming for KidsQs.
Camera IconYear 5 Applecross Primary School student, Gweni Fisher, records her question about gaming for KidsQs. Credit: Supplied

We asked Year 5s at Applecross Primary School to send questions about digital technology. They wanted to know:

  • What is an appropriate amount of time to spend on screens? Does gaming, schoolwork and other media all add up to screen time?
  • How do children become addicted to gaming and how can you prevent it?
  • How are age ratings determined for gaming such as Fortnite, which is 12+. Is it a problem if you play a game you’re not old enough for?
  • How does gaming affect the brain?
  • What are the positives from gaming?

To answer their questions we contacted Dr Kristy Goodwin who has spent 15 years studying the impact of digital technology on young brains. The highly sought-after educator, author and public speaker has a PhD on the impact of digital technologies on children’s learning.

We go to school and spend all day with teachers who are adults, so it’s great to have a podcast where kids can relate to each other.

KidsQs hosts Kate Jeffery from Victoria Park and Dylan Easther from Kensington, both 12, are enjoying their new roles. Both have had opportunities at school, such as presenting at assemblies, giving speeches and performing, that have given them confidence to host the podcast. Dylan has also done voice-overs for television and Telethon.

Dylan believes it’s important to have a podcast for young people hosted by young people, with questions from local school students because many podcasts for kids are recorded and hosted by adults, which “isn’t as engaging”.

“We go to school and spend all day with teachers who are adults, so it’s great to have a podcast where kids can relate to each other,” Dylan says.

He thinks the best thing about KidsQs is that “we are getting information out there for other kids.”

Kate finds it interesting to hear what kids want to know and what experts have to say.

“I've already broadened my knowledge and I'm sure others have, too,” Kate says.

“I really enjoy working with Dylan and we have a great time together when we're recording (even if we record the same sentence a million times!).”

Dylan says it can be nerve-racking when you are phoning someone who may be a professor in their field but so far the expert guests have been lovely to talk to.

When asked which topics they would like to explore on KidsQs Kate says she loves the environment and is a bit of an activist herself.

“Although we've already covered the topic of climate change, I'm hoping to see some more kids interested in specific areas of it like air, sea and land pollution,” she says.

Dylan was keen to investigate gaming because so many kids are doing it and there are many different opinions about it.

“I’m also interested in current events such as coronavirus because it is great to hear information delivered for kids,” he says. “I’m also really interested in scientific breakthroughs as topics because we will inherit these discoveries.”

Seven West Media (WA) executive producer, Natalie Bonjolo, who produces KidsQs, says it’s exciting to produce a podcast especially for young people, by young people.

“Sometimes as adults we don’t always see things from the unique perspective of a child, so we really wanted this podcast to answer the questions kids are most curious about,” Bonjolo says.

“We’re thrilled with the response from WA schools so far — students are joining us with really insightful questions.”

Although Bonjolo operates the podcast panel, she says it’s up to Kate and Dylan to interview the guest expert and get the answers to the questions kids have asked.

While Kate and Dylan are loving their hosting experience, it’s not without its challenges.

“It can also be time-consuming,” Dylan says.

“We still have to get our homework done!”

Seven West Media's new KidsQs podcast.
Camera IconSeven West Media's new KidsQs podcast. Credit: Melinda Penn/Jamie Hart

KidsQs can be found at thewest.com.au/kidsqs.

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