What makes media child friendly?

The Children's Rights Centre, South Africa, has produced a check list on child-friendly media.

The organisation notes that child-friendly media helps with children's development. "They produce programmes or reports that prove how capable young people can be and provide positive role models that the children and young people can not only emulate but also identify with - role models from their own life-situations". The questions to be asked are as follows:

Do they help raise awareness on children's needs and rights?

  • Do they report on the deeds and omissions of others, and act as the eyes, ears and voices of civil society - a society that includes children?
  • Do they produce news stories that help people to understand the world of children? That imparts ideas about the rights of children give good coverage to a wide range of children's issues? Especially vital issues such as the effects of state policy, and in particular economic policy, on children's lives?
  • Do they explain the background to experiences they write about, so that the story illustrates a truth about children?
  • Do they know the laws and conventions that exist to protect children, and investigate any breach of these rights?

Are they careful to protect children's right to privacy and dignity?

  • Do they not name or identify in any way child perpetrators of crimes? Do they not name or identify child victims of abuse as this may put them at risk and give them a poor image?
  • Do they not make any reports or show any photographs that may humiliate children now or in the future?
  • Do they not invade the privacy of a child or his or her family in order "to get a good story" as this causes anxiety and distress?

Do they project a positive and realistic image of children?

  • Do they provide images of children to show a variety of human beings deserving of respect, who happen to be young?
  • Do they provide realistic images that children can identify with, of children from a variety of communities?
  • Do they provide images that encourage respect and pride in self-identity, in all children and young people - without bias in favour of the younger "pretty" girls or the expensively-dressed child nor discrimination by race, gender, culture or ability?
  • Are they careful not to stereotype children into the usual sensational categories of "Innocent little angels", "helpless, passive victims" or "lost-generation young devils"?

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