Preview – Perspective On… Escapism or Empowerment? Children’s Media’s Role in Motivating Action

Posted on: Monday 05 July 2021 3:27pm by Mary-Jane Attafuah

 Mary-Jane Attafuah from Tifi has produced a video for the Perspective On… strand at CMC 2021. It asks “to what extent should kids’ media promote and encourage activism in the young audience?”

2020 left us with a sharpened awareness of our impact on the planet and each other.

What this means for children and the future they’ll inhabit is unclear, but as the leaders of the future – today’s children will inherit the consequences of the environmental and social issues we have created.

It seems children are already engaging with these issues. The Insights Family survey more than half a million children and parents every year to understand their attitudes and behaviour, and found that far from being passive observers, kids and teens are spearheading action against the climate crisis, driven by access to digital media which is exposing them to issues around the world and mobilising them to create change.

This desire to impact the world and see change became clear over the past year. According to The Insights Family, ‘every day heroes’ grew in popularity amongst children during the pandemic – the number of children aged 3-12 who wanted to be a doctor doubled as the pandemic hit. Children’s concerns about racism also increased by 100% in the UK and the US since the murder of George Floyd.

So how, if at all, should this shape media content? Should media support and encourage children’s growing interest in environmental and social issues, or should it provide escapism? How young is ‘too young’, for grasping issues that are complex and often overwhelming for adults, let alone children? And how can we strike the right balance between inspiring action, whilst protecting children?

All this and more is explored in a panel discussion titled: ‘Escapism or Empowerment? Children’s Media’s Role in Motivating Action’, with expert panellists: Anna Bassi, Editorial Director at The Week Junior, Laverne Antrobus, Consultant Child and Educational Psychologist, Jo Shinner, Executive Producer at BBC Studios Natural History Unit and Laura Henry-Allain, Educational & Media Consultant, and creator of CBeebies characters, ‘JoJo and Gran Gran’.


Additional resources on supporting children in grappling with some of the issues mentioned above can be found in the following guides produced by Laura Henry-Allain in collaboration with Mattel and Tiney: Supporting You to Raise Antiracist Children ©2020 Mattel Written by Laura Henry-Allain and Emma Worrollo and The tiney guide to becoming an inclusive, anti-racist early educator By Laura Henry-Allain MBE & Matt Lloyd-Rose.

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Mary-Jane Attafuah

About the author

Mary-Jane Attafuah

Tifi, Communications Strategist

Mary-Jane Attafuah is a communications strategist with 11 years’ experience delivering global communications programmes for large corporates and industry associations.  Mary-Jane helps businesses to navigate environmental and social issues across industries, advising on purposeful communications to drive industry and behavioural change, having led campaigns for brands such as Vodafone, Lucozade,… Read more