A sassy* Aussie schoolgirl is set for global fame with her plea for parents to ditch digital devices and play with their kids.
Seven-year-old Gold Coast girl Molly Wright has become the youngest person to deliver a TED Talk*, in a passionate message backed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that could reach millions of viewers worldwide.
In her seven-minute lecture, the Year 2 student warned that children could suffer when adults were distracted by digital devices.
“I know it’s important for adults to use their devices sometimes but kids are hard wired to seek out meaningful connections,’’ she said in her talk.
“Not receiving them creates confusion and stress.
“Our brains grow faster in the early years than at any other time in our lives – connect, talk and play with us.’’
Bright and bubbly Molly, who filmed her talk in Australia before it was beamed around the world on July 22, could become Australia’s answer to Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate change activist from Sweden.
Molly, who loves animals and dreams of becoming a wildlife vet, found the experience “amazing’’.
She admires Greta Thunberg’s campaigning* and said it would be a “dream come true to do that for early education’’.
“I feel like I would help so many people,’’ she said.
“Babies can’t speak for themselves so I was trying to speak for them and say, ‘please connect with your children because it’s really important you do that’.
“It’s important for parents to use their devices sometimes, but if you have any free time, put your device down for a moment and connect with your child.’’
Molly was chosen to present the TED Talk on behalf of Thrive by Five, which campaigns to give more children access to quality early childhood education.
Thrive by Five is backed by the Minderoo Foundation, run by Australian philanthropists* Andrew and Nicola Forrest.
Mrs Forrest said Molly’s message was important for parents, carers, policymakers* and world leaders.
Molly’s speech will reach TED’s 30 million followers, be promoted by UNICEF and be shown to new parents in maternity hospitals worldwide.
The head of TED, Chris Anderson, said Molly had a “wow” factor and deserved a huge audience.
“I absolutely love this talk,’’ he said.
“To hear a powerful idea like this spoken so eloquently* by a child – wow!’’
Thrive By Five chief executive Jay Weatherill, a former South Australian premier, said play could have a “profound* impact on a child’s brain’’.
“A million neural* connections are being made every second so when you play with your child, you are literally wiring up your child’s brain,’’ he said.
Seven-year-old Molly Wright becomes youngest person to deliver a TED Talk
Professor Desiree Silva, head of paediatrics* at the Joondalup Health Campus in Perth, said parents who ignored their children could impair* their speech and social development.
“The first five years is absolutely critical for children’s brain development,’’ she said.
“You have to smile at your baby for it to smile back.
“When mothers breastfeed, a lot of the time they are looking at social media and not connecting with the child.
“Kids are not meant to be alone – their brain is like a sponge.
“If you’re not connecting with them, it can affect their development.’’
- sassy: lively, bold, full of spirit, cheeky
- TED Talk: a short video presentation about a great idea that is posted online
- campaigning: working to achieve or promote a particular goal
- philanthropists: people who promote the welfare of others, especially by donating money to good causes
- policymakers: people who set out actions and ideas for others to follow
- eloquently: persuasively and clearly
- profound: very great
- neural: to do with the nervous system which carries messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to various parts of the body
- paediatrics: the science or study of medical care for children
- impair: weaken or damage
- How old is Molly Wright?
- What is her message to parents?
- Which other child campaigner does Molly admire?
- How many followers does TED Talk have?
- Which United Nations group is promoting Molly’s video?
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1. Write a List
Write a list of at least 10 easy and fun activities that can help parents spend time with their kids. Your activities should be free, easy to do and fun.
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education, Personal and Social Capability
Write your own short talk on a topic that you feel passionate about. Your purpose is to convince everyone to understand and agree with your opinion.
Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Civics and Citizenship
Grammar and VCOP
The glossary of terms helps you to understand and learn the ambitious vocabulary being used in the article. Can you use the words outlined in the glossary to create new sentences? Challenge yourself to include other VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, openers and punctuation) elements in your sentence/s. Have another look through the article, can you find any other Wow Words not outlined in the glossary?