We know the Internet, newspapers, radio, and television have a significant impact on the lives of children and youth. The media has the power to raise public awareness of important issues affecting young people. The media can also have a great impact on how young people feel about themselves and how others perceive them.
But the impact is not always positive. For example, the media reinforces ideals of appearance and behaviour that are often unrealistic and unhealthy, such as excessive thinness as an ideal for female beauty, and macho and violent role models for males. Further, the media routinely covers stories about violent youth, but does not always pay the same attention to positive stories about youth.
Child and youth friendly communities empower young people by helping them understand how the media works, and by providing them with opportunities to have an input. Child and youth friendly media organizations consider the impact of their messages on the lives of children and youth and ensure that young voices are heard.
UNCRC & THE MEDIA
Article 12 is about the views of the child
Children and young people have a right to participate in all matters affecting them, and those views should be given due weight “in accordance with the age and maturity of the child”.
Article 13 is about receiving and sharing information
Children and young people have the right to get and to share information as long as the information is not damaging to them or others.
Article 16 protects an individual’s privacy and reputation
Children and young people have a right to privacy, protecting them from attacks against their way of life, their good name and that of their families and their home.
Article 17 tells us about the right to reliable and accurate information
Children and young people have the right to reliable information from the mass media. Television, radio and newspapers should provide information that you can understand and should not promote materials that can cause harm.
"It is no longer enough to simply read and write. Students must also become literate in the understanding of visual images. Our children must learn how to spot a stereotype, isolate a social cliché and distinguish facts from propaganda, analysis from banter, important news from coverage."
~ Ernest Boyer, Former U.S. Comissioner of Education