Kid Power: How you can help your kids take the future into their own handsPaint a realistic picture of the world for your kids and empower them to help make the world a better place to live in.by Maan Pamaran .
It's no shocker that the world is in such a sad state. Just turn on the nightly news and you will see more bad news than good. And what's worse is that it is children who suffer the most.
The big picture
Catherine Nebauer, Nickelodeon Asia Senior Vice President and General Manager, gives an overview of the situation: "Take poverty, for instance. Poverty doesn't just mean having no money in your pockets. It also means going without doctors, medicines, education, or even clean water to drink. One of the biggest killers is hunger. [About] 34,000 children under five years of age die from hunger and sickness every single day. Hunger is caused largely by poverty. If governments from poor countries had more money and they spent it on things like food, education, and health, it would make a huge difference."
And most of the world leaders understand their role. In 2002, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Millennium Project where 189 heads of state promised to make the world a better place for everyone by the year 2015 via certain Development Goals such as reducing poverty, hunger, and child mortality. The aim of the Millennium Campaign is to highlight all these issues and get citizens to hold their governments accountable to the promise.
"The premise is simple," Nebauer explains. "We are the first generation that can put an end to extreme poverty around the world, and we refuse to miss this opportunity."
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Kid channel Nickelodeon then launched a campaign that is anchored on pure kid power-Nick 2015. "Through Nick 2015, we want to help kids understand these goals and why it's important that we help make our leaders keep their promise. In 2015, a good portion of the kids we're addressing will be the adults, so it's their world that we want to make a better place."
Through this campaign, the station airs short animated messages on its worldwide channels, explaining the goals of the Millennium Campaign in a way that kids can understand, and they are encouraged to sign petitions online at www.nick2015.com. Kids from Asia can also submit artwork and essays for the Hear My Voice contest. Winners will get the chance to have their work displayed at the UN office, and all works by Asian kids will be displayed on www.nicksplat.com.
No shields, please
But are kids ready for reality? Ma. Rochelle Buenavista-Pacifico, developmental and behavioral pediatrician at the De La Salle University Medical Center in Dasmariñas, Cavite, and mom to two kids, says that parents shouldn't shield their kids. "Gone are the days when the adults are talking and the kids have to leave the room. You have to show the world as it is, because you have to be honest. You want to tell them that life is not a bed of roses."
Poverty and hunger are not such big words for kids after all, says Nebauer. "For a large number of children, these are very real issues which they face on a daily basis. Sure they may not initially understand the entire scope of these problems, but children are very smart and understand these issues more than we think they do," she explains.CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
"There are parents who are overprotective of their children, but then these kids do not learn how to cope with the world outside," Pacifico adds. "Tell him what is happening, tell him why it is happening, and ask him for his opinion. When he does give his ideas, don't laugh. You have to show him that he can do it. And above all, don't shut him up," she advises.
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