Report – Kids Taking a Stand
Young people are constantly given the reminder, especially by media, that their future is bleak. The narrative is one of low pay, dying democracies, a world on fire, and corporations bent on stealing their data. But this needs to be changed to one of hope and possibility even amongst those challenges. This was what the CMC theme – Limitless (suggested by a young person) – meant to the panel, the potential and possibility of youth.
- Young people are energised, hopeful and poised to take action, and hungry for content on activism – but they need the tools and resources to do it.
- Media must accept their responsibility as an educator of the young.
- We have to help ready a pipeline of diverse new talent for the next generation of media creators, as well as bringing in the voices of young people now.
Brandon Relph and Lizzie Hodgson hosted a CMC first – a panel of young people to talk about youth activism, whilst live-streaming the session to their podcast ‘ZX Spectrum’.
Ella Meeks spoke about the power of activism and taking a stand on something you believe in. Alvin Owusu pointed out that everyone has some sort of privilege, a platform they can leverage. There was a strong panel-wide theme of empowerment. Speaking for Youth Politics UK, Dan Lawes said Western democracies tend to look too much at the ‘who’ instead of looking in the mirror to see how we can individually make a difference. Noga Levy-Rapoport urged the media to take responsibility, to accept the influence they have on young people and to change the language – from crisis panic to solutions. Tell them how it affects them, Ella Meeks urged people to care about plastic now because they see how it is affecting them.
The panel also agreed that young people needed to be more centrally involved in the media. As Dan said ‘we’re not that complicated’ – just talk to us. Young people should be involved in the decision making around content, in the presenting, in all aspects. Brendan Relph was clear that diversity isn’t going to happen by itself, you have to push for it. The seeds for change have to be planted earlier. Alvin Owusu said he often finds the young people he speaks with can’t see past the end of school.
Young people are thirsty for content about activism and they care about it deeply. However, as Lizzie remarked, if it’s not there they will provide it themselves. The young people will find a way – they don’t ask for permission.
Author: Laura Hamm, Fabled.
Founder and Director
Youth Climate Activist
The Advantage Group
Sky UK & R.O.I.
Head of Kids Content