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Kaiser Family Foundation Releases New Report on Role of Media in Childhood Obesity
The Kaiser Family Foundation released a report today reviewing more than 40 studies on the role of media in the nation's dramatically increasing rates of childhood obesity. The report concludes that the majority of scientific research indicates that children who spend the most time with media are more likely to be overweight. Contrary to common assumptions, however, most research reviewed for this report does not find that children's media use displaces more vigorous physical activities. Therefore, the research indicates that there may be other factors related to children's media use that are contributing to weight gain. In particular, children's exposure to billions of dollars worth of food advertising and marketing in the media may be a key mechanism through which media contributes to childhood obesity.
The report cites studies that show that the typical child sees about 40,000 ads a year on TV, and that the majority of ads targeted to kids are for candy, cereal, soda and fast food. Furthermore, many of the advertising and marketing campaigns enlist children's favorite TV and movie characters: from SpongeBob Cheez-Its to Scooby-Doo cereals and Teletubbies Happy Meals. The report also cites research indicating that exposure to food advertising affects children's food choices and requests for products in the supermarket.

Youth Theater Manual (in French only)
Published within the framework of the project "A Cultural Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care", the manual was developed by UNESCO's Regional Bureau for Education in Africa in Dakar, in close collaboration with the Division for Cultural Politics and Intercultural Dialogue.
Produced by young people for young people, the manual proposes an original and creative approach to the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Both educational and recreational, the theatre is presented here as a culturally appropriate, effective and participatory means of prevention. The "theatre forum" - interactive theatre involving direct participation by the audience - seems particularly relevant in this instance.

Television advertising leads to unhealthy habits in children, says APA task force
Research shows that children under the age of eight are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits as evidenced by today's youth obesity epidemic. For these reasons, a task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) is recommending that advertising targeting children under the age of eight be restricted.

On children's TV, we do need another hero - a human one
The days when kids, particularly younger ones, watched shows starring humans - Captain Kangaroo, Mister Rogers, Shari Lewis, even Pee-wee Herman - are for the history books. Now it's "SpongeBob SquarePants", "Fairly Odd Parents" and "Powerpuff Girls," with occasional breaks for human-animated hybrids like "Blue's Clues" and costumed characters like Big Bird and Barney. On children's TV, it seems there isn't a live human left...

The WHO Media Award
WHO Media AwardWHO Media AwardWHO Media Award
WHO/Europe will be giving a Media Award to mark the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (2004), dedicated to "The future for our children".
Entries are invited on subjects related to children's health and environment. These could feature for example, the human stories, the science, the politics, or community action on topics such as air pollution, noise, injuries from traffic, chemicals, poor housing, radio masts/radiation, poverty, contaminated water, climate change (e.g. floods), hazardous work, unsafe food, environmental tobacco smoke, asthma or allergy, reproductive health, social issues (e.g. abandoned children).

New toys interact with TV
A miniature Batmobile can now rev its engine in sync with an animatedversion on TV, while a plush cat can sing along with a DVD or video. Toy companies, hoping to compete with video and computer games, are marketing toys that interact with what children are watching on TV. But unlike some high-tech toys of the past that were too difficult to operate, manufacturers promise the latest versions are easy to use.

Media projects on children's rights
The Brazil-based News Agency for Children's Rights (Andi) is organizing the third edition of its contest for media projects on the rights of children and adolescents.
The purpose is to promote responsible and professional dialogue among journalists, social actors and the mass media about the protection of children's basic rights, using communication strategically to that end. The deadline to submit projects is April 18. The competition is open to nonprofit organizations based in the states of Alagoas, Amapá, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Paraíba, Piauí, Río de Janeiro, Río Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, São Paulo and Tocantins, or initiatives whose actions are aimed at these localities.
MORE INFO from IJNet (in English) or on the ANDI website (in Portuguese).

Media and Children
The course that will take place in Opatija, Croatia from 18 February 2004 to 22 February 2004 is dedicated to child rights in the media and the coverage of children's issues by adult journalists.

13th Global Painting Contest - for children worldwide
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Foundation for Global Peace have launched the Thirteenth Global Painting Contest with the theme 'Seas and Oceans'.
In this contest children are asked to convey their vision for a cleaner, healthier and more environmentally-friendly world. All entries will be archived at the National Museums of Ethnology in Japan. Prizes will be awarded for the best 500 entries which will later be used in the production of postcards, a calendar, posters, publications and exhibitions worldwide.

Ads To Help Children Respect Differences
Children throughout Northern Ireland between the age of three and five years are being targeted by a new educational programme intent on encouraging respect forpeople who have physical, racial and cultural differences.
The Media Initiative for Children was developed by the early years organisation NIPPA and the Peace Initiatives Institute (Pii) from the United States. The adverts are currently running and the curriculum is being taught in this pilot phase of the program in a bid to build a greater understanding of the differences among very young children.
MORE INFO from the MAGIC bank

India for film, TV barter with China
Chinese ballet on Doordarshan's National Network. And Indian dance on CCTV. What next? Two days after a high-powered Chinese delegation led by senior Minister for Radio, Films and TV of China, Xu Guangchun who likes Indian cinema for their dose of realism, called on CEO Prasar Bharati Corporation K.S. Sarma promising to indulge in cultural exchange, it was the turn of Information and Broadcasting Ministry Ravi Shankar Prasad to take the links to greater heights.

Program helps parents cut children's TV watching
A family-based intervention program reduced television viewing for preschool children substantially, researchers report. It's something parents can do in cooperation with their children, says program leader Barbara A. Dennison, because the key element is finding things that children prefer to TV.

Censor 'Scooby-Doo'? Words fail
The Bush administration has decided that people with bad hearing have bad judgment, too, and need special guidance from the federal government. So the U.S. Department of Education is declaring about 200 television programs inappropriate for closed-captioning and denying federal grant requests to make them accessible to the hearing-impaired.

First Independent Video & Short Film Festival in Vilnius
In a Call for Entries, the organizers of the First Independent Video & Short Film Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, are looking for international entries from young people up to the age of 26.

Community radio struggling in hostile environment
Surrounded by a group of noisy young people, Zakia Zaki, a 40-year-old headmistress, tries to host a children's programme on Radio Solh (Peace) - a community radio initiative in Jabulsaraj in the central Afghan province of Parvan. The province was on the front line between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance (NA) for more than five years, which left shattered lives everywhere.

Flash animation competition
The Russian-language website "Djetskoe vremya" offers a competition for flash-animations/flash-games. Create your own heroes, write up the story and your biography and send it to kidzam@kids.1tv.ru before April 1, 2004.
MORE INFO in Russian.

Writing Stories About Tolerance - A Worldwide Student Contest
The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief recently announced a Worldwide Contest for Children and Youth (ages 12 - 25) on writing stories about tolerance. Some of the stories will be selected for publishing, and the writers of the best stories will be rewarded.

UTV set to launch Hindi channel for kids
In a clear sign that pester power - or targeting parents with ads that use children's persuasive powers - is here to stay, UTV-promoter Ronnie Screwvala will launch the country's first 24-hour general Hindi entertainment channel aimed at the 4- to 19-year-old segment.

Ugandan Minister for Health hands over OneWorld/MTV Award and launches public health CD
Joseph Beyanga, the winner of the first OneWorld/MTV Staying Alive audio competition, received his award today from the Ugandan minister of state for health, the Honourable Mike Mukula.
While handing over the award, the minister praised Joseph for the initiative, and effort he put into creating a winning global public service announcement. Speaking at the ceremony, the minister reminded Ugandans that, even with a drop from 30% HIV prevalence to 6% prevalence, AIDS is still an epidemic in the country. He cautioned that not until the prevalence drops to below 3% would the disease be in check.
The OneWorld / MTV World staying alive competition enabled young people from around the world to produce and submit original audio or video public service announcements (PSAs) that convey the messages of MTV's award winning HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, Staying Alive.

Teens get taste of TV - Children's Media Project (CMP) produces series
A year ago, 17-year-old Obi Williams' only experience with television was watching it. That is before she connected with Children's Media Project. ''I did photography,'' said Williams, who lives in Hyde Park. ''It kind of blows my mind seeing my first piece.''
CMP helped Obi create an experimental video about herself that was screened at a film festival in the Hamptons and, on Thursday and Friday, she can sit in front of her television and watch a CMP project she helped edit and produce.
or write to Chris Schuepp for more info

What Works in Youth Media - Case Studies Around the World by Sheila Kinkade and Christy Macy
"What Works in Youth Media: Case Studies from Around the World" looks at how young people are harnessing the power of media to educate the public about issues they care about. It also explores the tremendous power of youth media programs to promote young people's personal growth and development to equip them with essential 'skills for life' that will enable them to succeed."
This 85-page publication profiles case studies of seven youth media projects, including a youth-led magasine in Zambia that's playing a critical role in that country's fight against HIV/AIDs; a youth radio programme in Viet Nam that's reaching over 30 million listeners; and a youth-run television programme in Albania that's educating the public about children's rights.
FULL REPORT in pdf (1.23 MB)

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