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Youngsters in Child Friendly Cardiff meet media to talk stereoptyping

Illustration by Huw Aaron, image courtesy of Child Friendly Cardiff

Young citizens of the Welsh capital, Cardiff, have met with local media organisations to debate and discuss how the portrayal of children and teenagers can affect their health and well-being.

Child Friendly Cardiff – which oversees the city’s UNICEF-affiliated child-friendly city work – organised the event alongside Cardiff Council and Cardiff University, to take a detailed look at media stereotyping and role representation.

Teenagers led discussions about the impact the media can and does have on children and young people, how they feel their voices often go unheard and to raise awareness of children’s rights to news outlets in Wales. 

They were joined by key speakers including Sally Holland, the former Children’s Commissioner for Wales and Professor at the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University; Zoe Thomas, Editor of English Language Programmes at ITV Wales; Andrew Collins, Digital Communications Consultant for ProMo Cymru; and  14 year-old Arthur Templeman -Lilley from the Children and Young People’s Advisory Board (CYPAB). 

‘How young people’s voices go unheard’

On the agenda were three key questions: 

  • How are children and young people represented in the media? And how can we make it better? 
  • What information do children and young people need? And how can we make it more accessible? 
  • How can Cardiff celebrate and promote children and young people, and their rights? 

Arthur, who is the CYPAB Vice Chair said, “It was a fantastic experience. Professionals and young people had the opportunity to challenge themselves, edging out of their comfort zones, to think more deeply about children, their rights, and how this all relates to the media industry. It was interesting to see the different ways we approached the questions, amplifying the fact that we are all unique, with our own views and perspectives”. 

‘It was a fantastic experience’

Fellow CYPAB member Logan added: “‘It was a great event to learn more about what Child Friendly Cardiff strives to do and how it’s going to improve things for young people.”

Councillor Sarah Merry, the city council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “It’s fantastic to see adults, young people and the media collaborating on the best way forward, not only to uphold children’s rights, but to ensure that young people are being included in stories about them and their voices and opinions are heard. 

“It is so important that children’s rights are embedded into all aspects of a child’s life growing up, so they are aware that they’re important, valued and heard. We have come a long way with that in Cardiff as we now have 82 schools signed up to the Unicef Rights’ Respecting Schools Award programme so far. 

Cardiff was the first city in the UK to work with UNICEF as a Child Friendly City programme, and has made huge strides in ensuring children’s rights are embedded within the council’s strategies. The city city, which has a population of some 350,000, is now well on the way to achieving its ambition of becoming an internationally recognised Child Friendly City, as recommended by the UK Committee for UNICEF. 

Click here for more information on the Child Friendly Cardiff initiative.

Author: Simon Weedy

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