The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
The Forum - On Line Opinion's article discussion area


RSS 2.0

Main Articles General

Sign In      Register

The Forum > Article Comments > Young people’s health and wellbeing: 20 years of policy failure? > Comments

Young people’s health and wellbeing: 20 years of policy failure? : Comments

By Richard Eckersley, published 9/10/2008

Recent research evidence suggests the health and wellbeing of young people, an important indicator of Australia’s future population health, is declining.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All
Thank you, Richard. You note that young people need ‘Changing the stories or narratives by which Australians define themselves.’ How?
1. A wider range of options. What are the books, TV shows, films, songs, computer games and discussions about society that now predominate for juniors? What is missing?

2. Examine the messages that children take. Ask them, “What does this book (or whatever) tell you about what the world is like, and how you should behave in it?’ The messages they take may not be what you expect.

3. Why do juveniles want to get blind drunk? What alternatives are offered for the future than dystopias and escapes? I have a book manuscript on ‘Psychology for Teenagers’ to show more options, and an understanding of how people tick that they don’t get in either pop psychology or academic classes. Learning about ‘Your Precious Brain’ can reduce inclination to blow it away.
Young people can enjoy peacefulness, beauty, kindly humour, small things, curiosity, and the pursuit of learning – with a chance to develop those tastes.

4. Brain damage. Research on young brain development warns about long-term damage from alcohol and party drugs. Very loud music may also harm thinking as well as hearing – research is needed. The more intensity that people adapt to, the more they need, to make the impact they want. Constant excitement is eventually nerve-racking and can mean permanent stress.
5. Learning about other options in life. Kindergarten and Prep grades could have adult magazines to browse, about technology, engineering and nature, to arouse desire to read about the pictures and learn about the adult world. Primary classrooms and libraries with Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia, or even Childcraft, to browse, to learn about past worlds and things still of value for civilisation, instead of restriction mostly to ‘NEW books’,trivia, or ‘challenging’ often dismal stuff for critical literacy. Constructive thinking too, with ‘creative non-fiction’..

To assume that boys respond best to yukky humour or horror and not to ideals, and that girls need to be stuck in a ‘dolly’ world - is cutting them short.
Posted by ozideas, Friday, 10 October 2008 12:54:38 PM
Find out more about this user Visit this user's webpage Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
Excellent article, Richard.

You've made many good points, which to me and I'm sure many others seem like self evident truths, but in reality are probably as far away from informing public policy as they ever were.

I agree, we need to move away from the current model of measuring progress purely in terms of economic growth. We urgently need to change to a triple bottom line measurement, whereby social and environmental factors are accounted for alongside economic measures. Only then will it become truly apparent to all that the latter is being achieved at the expense of the former.

I'd like to be more optimistic, but unfortunately, I can't imagine the powerful vested interests, currently in control, ever allowing the switch to a more comprehensive and realistic method of assessing our growth and progress.
Posted by Bronwyn, Monday, 13 October 2008 10:20:38 AM
Find out more about this user Recommend this comment for deletion Return to top of page Return to Forum Main Page Copy comment URL to clipboard
  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. All

About Us :: Search :: Discuss :: Feedback :: Legals :: Privacy