Children often find themselves at the center of big stories that the media needs to cover. It does not matter whether such stories are positive or negative; all children’s stories should be handled with care. This is because of the sensitivity of children that exposes them to the after-effects of being part of media coverage.
For this reason, it is important to be aware of ethical practices when covering children subjects. The most basic ones are:
Involve a Parent or Guardian
Children may not be able to give authoritative opinions or hard facts on their own. It is important, thus, to involve an adult who has a good understanding of the child’s situation when subjecting them to media spotlights. The adult can answer questions on behalf of the child or guide them on how to respond. Where children are covered in school, the teacher becomes the guiding authority.
Conceal Children’s Identities
When covering sensitive stories like abuse and trauma, it is important to conceal the name of the child subject. This is because a child is likely to be hurt by the publicity that comes with such exposure. The child’s face may also be concealed if they are to appear in a photo or video. Voice distortion can be helpful too. This is a practice that is often applied even when dealing with adult subjects; it should be embraced more when handling children.
Train Children on How To Answer Questions
While coaching should be avoided, children respondents deserve a guideline from the media professionals on how to respond to questions. The interviewer should also use an easy-to-understand language when talking to young respondents.
The key in all forms of children reporting is to maintain the minor’s best interests at all times.