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Child Rights and the Media

Electronic media, especially television, has great potential to positively influence the quality of life of children and their families.

This was highlighted in research commissioned in 2014 by UNICEF and the Agency for Electronic Media (AEM) into the television viewing habits of children. Parents responded to questions about the habits of 1,561 children. The research results were compared to the relevant viewing figures.

According to the research, parents estimated that the majority of children (56 %) spend from one to three hours a day watching television, while the viewing figures have shown that children spend on average three hours a day watching television programmes.

The viewing figures have also shown that 50 % of the time that children spend in front of the television screen is not supervised by adults.

Because of these disturbing research results, in January 2015 the Agency for Electronic Media and UNICEF organised a discussion about the need for a new draft ordinance on electronic media to protect children. Representatives from the media, government agencies, parents associations and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, developmental psychologists and media experts took part in the discussion. They worked together to enhance the existing electronic media regulations and categorisation of televised programme content.

Mirjana Rakić, Head of the Agency for Electronic Media, stated

"Education and raising the media literacy level is the best way to protect the children from potentially harmful media content"

Under the slogan ‘Let’s choose what we watch’, the Agency for Electronic Media and UNICEF launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the importance of media literacy amongst parents, caregivers and children as well as the importance of choosing appropriate content for children.

The Campaign ‘Let’s choose what we watch’

The campaign urges parents to use the television content rating system to evaluate the suitability of television programmes for children of different age groups. The campaign is supported by famous television presenters who in their televised shows appealed to parents to select television content carefully and to watch and discuss programmes with their children, making use of the television age ratings.

Three videos were broadcast on all national TV channels at the end of 2015 within the framework of the public campaign for the promotion of media literacy ‘Let’s choose what we watch’.

An important part of the campaign is the development of recommendations for parents and television editors regarding the appropriate choice of television content for children, involving child development experts, media experts and experts in developmental psychology.

Within the framework of the campaign, UNICEF and the Agency for Electronic Media have also provided support for the production of quality inclusive television programmes for children.

The campaign has been supported by many famous TV faces, such as Daniela Trbović and Zoran Vakula (Croatian Television), Tomislav Jelinčić and Zoran Šprajc (RTL), and Marija Miholjek and Petar Pereža (Nova TV).

 

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Updated: 25 May 2016
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