Finding information you can trust online

February 7, 2023
By Kindred
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THRIVARY is a free App which provides verified evidence-based information and resources on all thing’s early childhood development. In a recent Facebook Live Panel, Kindred was joined by Genevieve Johnson (Psychologist and Research) and Leah Hanley, (Speech Pathologist) from the THRIVARY Content Council. The Council is made up of academics, practitioners, other professionals and parents, who together have created a content rubric to assess all of the information on the THRIVARY App to ensure it aligns with latest, evidence based best practice guidelines. 

Whilst it is reassuring to know that all of the resources you find on THRIVARY have been verified. As parents, how do we assess what is actually best practice and evidence based for ourselves when we are searching for information?

In this article we will explore tips from Genevieve and Leah, based on THRIVARY’s rubric and importantly pose the questions to ask yourself, in order to work out whether you can trust the information you are reading online.

Look for evidenced-based information

  • Many articles state ‘research has shown’ but the first question to ask yourself is what is this research and can I trust it? To figure out the answer, look for references to the research (these can often be found in footnotes at the bottom of the page, or direct links within the article).
  • Click through to the research or google the name of the study to work how relevant it is to your child. Was the study carried out with adults or children? Did the participants have a diagnosis, disability or medical condition which is similar to your childs?
  • Has the research been peer reviewed? If you google the name of the research study, can you see if it has been reviewed by other researchers or experts in the field? Generally the more parties who have reviewed a study, the more reliable it is likely to be. Has there been criticism of the research or has it been well received? 
  • How old is the research? Ideally it should have been published in the last 5 – 10 years, and definitely in the 2000’s. Remember any year starting with a 19 is over 20 years old!

From a reputable source

  • If an article isn’t based on research, such as personal stories from parents or carers, one of the first questions to ask is – who is this person, and what do they stand for? At Kindred we look to ensure that any information aligns with our organisational values and the social model of disability.
  • An important question to ask yourself when thinking about the source of information, is whether the publisher or author is being paid to promote, or is trying to sell a product or service. Has someone written an article with the objective of marketing to you? Be aware of product placements within articles, or sites with lots of pop-up ads trying to sell you something.

Ensure it aligns with best practice guidelines

  • Does the information align with best practice guidelines in early childhood development? Is the approach family-centred and strengths-based? Are the strategies designed to build the knowledge and capacity of the people around the child, in their natural environments?  
  • By familiarising yourself with the best practice guidelines, you will gain more confidence in assessing what is considered best practice.
  • In particular, be cautious of the language being used. Does it come from a deficits based approach, or is fear-mongering?

View the National Best Practice Guidelines

To find out more, watch a replay of our Facebook Live Panel with Genevieve and Leah from the THRIVARY Content Council.

The THRIVARY App supports families of young children (0-8yrs) to connect to the right information and community support to guide their child’s development journey. At Kindred, we love the App which empowers families by providing information they can trust, right in the palm of their hands. Our team, and members of the Kindred Community have been involved in the testing of the App and are working with the team at THRIVARY to support the launch.

You can download THRIVARY for free at The App Store or Google Play.


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