Gimme 5: Stories parents should hear this week (but may have missed)

Trying to catch up with the latest stories this week? We’ve got you covered.

Ken gets a makeover

Mattel released images of the upcoming new “Ken” dolls this week, introducing the new dolls with various new clothes and appearances. There are 15 new dolls with 3 different body types — slim, broad, and original. The dolls feature a variety of clothing styles, from business casual to athletic chic, and 7 different skin tones. The rollout is part of the “Fashionista” line, which will include 25 new Barbies as well. Mattel is revamping Barbie and Ken dolls with the goal of reviving the line’s sales, which have fallen in recent years. Despite lower sales across the nation, Barbies remain a staple of children’s toys. See the new dolls here. (NPR)

Dad sets goal to end smartphone sales to preteens

Colorado dad Timothy Farnum is campaigning for the prevention of smartphone sales to children under 13. According to Farnum, he was disturbed by his son’s reaction when his smartphone was taken away. He has seen children as young as 10 and 11 lose interest in outdoor activities. He and other parents started the group Parents Against Underage Smartphones. Pediatrics groups recommend limited screen time for children. They say a limit of 2 hours on a smartphone or laptop should be allowed per day, and no screen time should be allowed for children under 2 years old. A media curfew is also recommended. Wireless technology group CTIA responded to the proposed restrictions, saying, “mobile phones can empower kids to learn, engage and communicate with family, teachers and friends, and we encourage parents to talk with their children about responsible use and set rules that are right for their family. (CNN)

Boys wear skirts to protest school dress code during heat wave

A group of boys in southwest England wore skirts to school this week, protesting their school’s strict dress code that states boys may not wear shorts to school. Students at Isca college were frustrated by the school’s insistence on boys wearing pants while girls could wear skirts. One student said of his choice, “We’re not allowed to wear shorts, and I’m not sitting in trousers all day, it’s a bit hot.” If male students chose to wore shorts to school, they would be placed in isolation for the duration of the day, unless they changed. Parents concerned about their children’s health supported the boys’ choice to wear skirts instead of pants to school. (Huffington Post)


Yellowstone grizzly removed from protected animals list

The Yellowstone grizzly bear is being removed from the endangered species list after its numbers have grown. At their lowest point, only about 150 of the bears existed, a number that has grown to 700. Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, said of the decision, “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners.” Delisting the bear is a controversial move opposed by conservation groups and some Native American tribes. Bears within the park will not be hunted.

Yellowstone National Park is home to the famous geyser Old Faithful and the supervolcano Yellowstone Caldera as well as a variety of ecosystems that are home to free-ranging wild animals. Visitors to the park can hike, camp, fish, and take a guided tour of the park. Click here to find a national park near you. (NY Times)


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