VMA applauds NEWS CORP’S ‘Let them be Kids’ supporting Government age increase for Social Media

The Visual Media Association (VMA) supports News Corp’s ‘Let them be Kids’ Campaign which aims to give children three years, or 36 months, of their childhood back, free from the addictive and often harmful grasp of social media platforms and government positions to review the age limit for social media.

The VMA has long been advocating for the role of print channels for young cohorts across all areas of Australian society, and agrees with the premise of the ‘Let them be Kids’ campaign aligning with the morals and objectives of the VMA. VMA has long promoted the effectiveness of learning with paper and print, which is why over the next few weeks the VMA will be posting across its various platforms to promote the campaign and share the statistics with Members, so they too can share among their customers and clients.

Recent government announcements last week, supporting reviews to the social media age limit increases is also welcomed as VMA argues the understanding from governments and large corporations on the negative impact of social media and the established and credentialed role of print media is a genuine shift in realisation of the future role of print across Australian society.

“I have always said print and digital do work together where appropriate, however print and visual media platforms operate with compliance to g-rated advertising codes, credible and reference checked content and other regulations digital media simply doesn’t. The research shows our children are most impacted by this. Many of our members enjoy the benefit of our HR/IR services, however their funds are also reinvested into campaigning work we have invested from Value of Paper and Print, Love Paper, Two Sides and Keep Me Posted which compile research such as the ‘Let them be Kids’ to advocate and educate governments, brands and society on the role print plays,” commented Kellie Northwood, Chief Executive Officer, VMA.

News Corp is sharing the research with Australian families to arm themselves with the correct information to make informative decisions about how they are raising their children in this digital era. Research conducted by Dynata surveyed over 3,000 social media users, including teenagers. The results showed that:

  • 70% of teens reported having a negative experience on social media,
  • 1 in 3 teenagers have been exposed to disturbing or traumatic content
  • 45% have faced abuse or harassment,
  • 59% have been scammed, and
  • 1 in 10 have been victims of revenge porn.

Some of the key findings align with the research articles published in VoPP Mag, the VMA’s print effectiveness campaign, such as Digital Fatigue & Detoxing and The Media Impact, which both highlight the digital burnout among the younger generations and the environmental impact of these digital devices.

“The relentless proliferation of digital content into our society and especially our most vulnerable peoples, children, requires attention. Print and Digital media must carry responsibility for the content and distribution. Print certainly has these through the Distribution Standards Board, journalism integrity and ethical code of conducts and more. Digital channels, particularly social media, has a responsibility also to step up and embrace better leadership than they currently do,” furthered Northwood.

The ‘Let them be Kids’ campaign represents a critical intervention in the lives of Australian children, seeking to mitigate the harmful impacts of social media and reclaim the innocence of childhood. From 2008 to 2022, rates of self-harm doubled for girls between the ages of 15 and 19, and tripled for children under 14. The support from organisations like the VMA and organisations like News Corp amplify the message that switching off and returning to the ‘real’ is a powerful step in the right direction for our future generations and one which the government is paying attention to.

“My children grew up reading books together, talking around the dinner table, being present in a real world. Social media is not providing that, in fact is restricting it. Pick up a book, grab a magazine, flip through a catalogue, talk about what you read, share knowledge and encourage your children to remain present. We support government review across social media wholeheartedly and applaud Newscorp for their efforts in this campaign,” concluded Northwood.

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