Children and the media
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Children in media production
A major impediment to involving children and young people in media
production is that it means bringing them into a potentially hazardous
workplace. If it is a busy place with lots of people, movement and
equipment it will pose particular hazards for them. Natural curiosity
and the fact that such venues are not designed for people of lower
than average adult height could mean that they are put at risk of
The working culture within high-pressure media institutions is
not child-friendly, and what should be a rewarding experience could
be both bewildering and risky for all concerned unless careful preparation
has been undertaken. Often the real fear is that children might
damage expensive or sensitive equipment, rather than the other way
round. There are also insurance implications.
There are cost implications to some of the safety measures that
are required, but most hazards to children are likely to be hazards
to adults too. Making a workplace safe for children should be an
added guarantee that it is also safe for adults.
Planning ahead is the key to safe participation of children in
any workplace. The following will help as a starting point, but
media initiatives will need to draw up their own guidelines to ensure
that everyone is put at minimum risk. Many media initiatives will
have drawn up their own in-house guidelines, but very often such
matters are dealt with on an ad hoc basis. By sharing examples of
best practice, industry standards can be established, promoted and
monitored. The MAGICmedia section
of this site has examples of good practice.
Spend time preparing the children, away from the site.
When the children are on site make sure they know about
the risks involved, and where they can go for help. Make sure they
have clean toilet facilities, access to an appropriately sized room
where they can relax and opportunities to take refreshments.
Most important of all make sure that at least one appropriate
adult - whom they know and to whom they go for help or advice -
is available at all times.
Those responsible for the management of children's involvement
should ensure that they have checked the health and safety regulations
as they apply to children. They need to ensure that the children
and their carers have been provided with simple, clear explanations
of safety arrangements at the work site, and devise simple means
of checking that the children really understand them - for example,
by taking part in an emergency evacuation exercise.
Those who work at the venue need to be informed that children
may be present in certain places and at certain times, and have
an opportunity to discuss the implications of this, for them and
Those working directly with the children should be operating
according to guidelines that have been thoroughly discussed and
Most important of all, checks need to be carried out to
ensure that the children will not have contact with inappropriate
adults - for example, those who have drink or drug problems, or
convictions for anti-social behaviour.
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