Watching the World

Some 17 percent of Brazilian schoolchildren aged 10 to 13 are involved in bullying​—either as victims or perpetrators.​—O ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney stones, and liver problems are now being diagnosed in children under the age of 12. The main causes? Sedentary lifestyles, too much junk food, and overweight.​—ABC, SPAIN.

The cost of raising a child born in 2008 to age 18 in a middle-income family in the United States is “about $221,190 ($291,570 when adjusted for inflation),” according to a government estimate.​—UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, U.S.A.

Forgetting How to Play

A fifth of the parents in Britain claim to have forgotten “how to play with their children,” according to a recent survey. One third confess that they find play boring, while others lack time or ideas. Regarding this finding, Professor Tanya Byron, a clinical psychologist, says: “There are four key ingredients to a successful playtime between parents and children: education, inspiration, integration and communication.” Although 1 in 3 parents chose to play computer games with their children, the vast majority of youngsters prefer playing these alone. Among the activities that most 5- to 15-year-olds want to share with their parents are outdoor games and board games.

Bedtime Stories

An Internet service offers to be of help to fathers who are too busy to read bedtime stories to their children in person. “Hi-tech software records the voice of fathers reading a bedtime story, adds music and sound effects and emails an audio file to the child,” explains Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. Relationship experts, however, are skeptical. “Reading involves a whole lot of relationship building,” says Dr. Richard Fletcher of a families research program at Newcastle University, Australia. It involves fathers interacting with their children, cuddling them, and laughing with them. No e-mail can replicate the benefits of physically sitting down and reading to your child, says Fletcher.