Tag Archives: Media coverage

BBC news story flagrantly manipulates statistics on school accident claims

A major news story on the BBC website this morning uses false comparisons and basic errors to create a highly misleading picture about the sums paid out for accident claims in schools. Far from revealing a ‘claims culture’, the figures actually show that payouts make up a tiny proportion of education budgets, and are not on the rise.

Screengrab BBC News home page 7 April 2017 with school payout story circled

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Child-on-child sexual violence: are the media – and the Children’s Commissioner – guilty of scaremongering?

Screengrab of Daily Telegraph websiteYesterday’s Daily Telegraph ran a story with a headline that was disturbing by any measure. It read “‘Chilling’ levels of child-on-child rape in Middle England.” The story takes its cue from the launch of three reports from the Children’s Commissioner for England, published yesterday as part of the agency’s wider inquiry into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups.

It is hard to imagine a more disturbing crime than the sexual exploitation of children by other children. Moreover, it is plausible to argue – as the reports do – that the problem is at risk of being overshadowed by concerns about other forms of child sexual abuse. Nonetheless, the claim that such crimes are widespread is striking.

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When street play went primetime

Here is the item on street play that was broadcast on The One Show last Monday (24 June 2013). It focuses on the road closure session in Worthing that I described in my post from a couple of weeks ago (and yes, I do pop up a couple of times, flying the flag for outdoor play).

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Hopscotch ban is not all bad news

Screengrab Sun hopscotch storyIn case you missed it, last week’s everyday childhood news flurry featured a ten-year-old girl, a street hopscotch game and an over-zealous police officer. Having threatened the child with criminal damage, the officer found himself the target of screenfuls of righteous media anger, led by the Sun newspaper. It is easy to slip into “ain’t it awful” mode with stories like this. But while I am not about to defend the police’s actions, I do want to offer a more positive twist on the tale.

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News Consumption Disorder: symptoms, diagnosis and cure

Front cover of Daily Mirror with Madeleine storyWhat role does news coverage play in shaping the way we think about the risks children face? Is a diet of bad news really bad for us, and if so, what can we do about it? These questions were on my mind after Monday night’s engaging debate on modern childhood organised by my old employers the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) to launch its 50th anniversary celebrations.

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A child dies on a playground – is the next day too soon for me to comment?

A few weeks ago, I got a call. Channel 4 News was planning to run a story on the death of a child in a school playground accident, and did I want to comment?

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My letter of the month…

…in the September 2011 issue of Safety & Health Practitioner magazine, that is. Continue reading