The NZ Children’s Screen Trust is launching a Children’s Media Rights Declaration.
Next week, NZ On Air will unveil the results of the study it commissioned last year on consumption of media for kids.
NZ On Air’s research project follows a similar study on media consumption by us all that NZ on Air commissioned last year. The results were unveiled last July.
On 20 November each year the United Nations marks Universal Children’s Day, on the anniversary of the UN adopting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) in 1989. NZ ratified the Convention in 1993.
The NZ Children’s Screen Trust, Kidsonscreen, is working towards the November date to build support for its Children’s Media Rights Declaration, which references articles of the UNCROC. A copy of the Declaration is posted on the Kidsonscreen website.
Kidscreen is building support for the Declaration through Tick 4 Kids and child centred NGOs who understand the dialogue around children’s rights.
“At the moment there is a lot of discussion around child poverty,” Kidsonscreen’s Janette Howe told screeNZ. “For The NZ Children’s Screen Trust, it is not just bricks and mortar or food that needs to be talked about, but what we are feeding kids through the media. Are we giving them enriching stories that inform their identity? Do they have diverse media made just for them?”
Kidsonscreen board member Dr Ian Hassall said, “When it comes to the choices we offer our children it’s not what we are thinking it’s how much we are thinking.”
“Often the message is that screen time is bad, media is junk,” claimed Howe. “The problem is that kids are accessing more media, more often, using multiple devices. So I think it is important to look at what media can do for our children, how it can be a positive experience, how we can engage and inspire children and expand their imaginative horizons.”
Kidsonscreen hopes screen industry groups and media will come on board and recognise that we have an issue here, and will also start sending it out via education, family and parent networks, in the context that media can be enriching for kids (not junk).
The screen is an ubiquitous part of cultures worldwide. For children it is simply there, part of their everyday world and one more thing for them to experience, understand and master. Children need stories to build the power of their imaginations and to contribute to their own life narratives of who they are and who they might become. Screen time is a potentially rich source of stories, which can inform, educate and entertain.
“We know the power of media,” said Howe. “It is essential we equip our children as strong and informed media citizens. This Declaration of Media Rights for Children is intended to bring what we deliver to children on screen to the forefront of the conversation.”
The NZ Chidlren’s Screen Trust, Kidsonscreen is a charity, dedicated to promoting diverse and accessible local content for children on all screens.