Images of childhood.
Images of children in the media
Looking at the coverage of the atrocities in Syria has made me think once again about the representation of children in the media. More often than not the national media portrays children either as devils or victims.
Those living in poverty or victims of war and disaster often lose their humanity and we get no opportunity at all to hear their voice. Usually the coverage is very dramatic and focuses on suffering, injury and loss. Rarely do we get the chance to experience the thoughts of young people in developing countries on the ordinary things of life, there happiness, their joy, their problems, their growing pains, their adjusting to oncoming adulthood – i.e. their views of conflict outside of just being frightened refugees or friends of victims in the next street. I’d like to see a broadcast series comparing say 14 year old children around the world, for example: Inuit culture, Australian aboriginal culture, Native American society, a child soldier in the Congo, a rural Chinese child and even an English public school child as a few possibilities. I’d like this to look at everything from morality, education, emotional development, relationships, age of consent, work expectations, societal permissions (i.e. driving, drinking, voting, hunting, shooting, sexual relationships etc.).
It’s really just a question of balance, so often we see children in Africa as victims of natural disasters and war and recently many of the countries experiencing the Arab spring have produced thousands of young casualties as well. It does give an imbalanced view of the world of tome of their peers sitting in comfort in Western industrialised countries. Couple this with those who belong to cultures that have been decimated over the years and you hear very little of achievements, day to day hopes and joys, comparative normalisation etc. I’d just like to see a little balance and a little more understanding with the hope that the next generation might see a variety that’s not just victim.