Protecting children in TV programmes

Psychologists have been centrally involved in moves to provide stronger safeguards for children taking part in television programmes, reports Chartered Psychologist Dr Kairen Cullen in the August issue of the Society’s magazine The Psychologist.

Following widespread concern over the Boys and Girls Alone programme broadcast by Channel 4 in 2009 Tim Loughton, the children’s minister in the incoming Coalition government, appointed two working parties to report on the issues raised. Both involved members of the British Psychological Society’s media ethics advisory group.

Dr Kairen Cullen herself served on the Safeguarding Children working party, which was facilitated by Professor John Oates from the Open University. Dr Cynthia McVey from Glasgow Caledonian University, was a member of the Defining Performances working party.

Dr Cullen writes that these reviews “along with clinical psychologist Tanya Byron’s review of internet safety and children’s TV academic David Buckingham’s review on the commercialisation of childhood, all highlight the increasing awareness of the importance of actively ensuring the well-being and safety of children and of psychology’s central place within this work. Keep an eye on the Department for Education and British Psychological Society websites for further information."