Monday, September 10, 2012
Some 81 million Indonesians are under the age of 18, and many of them watch television an average of five hours a day. Television is by far the most popular medium among children in Indonesia. While these under-18s form a vast audience, there are still hardly any television programmes that focus especially on children. From an early age, Indonesian children tend to watch what their parents are watching. As a result, they often don’t understand what they see or it frightens them. These are the findings of a viewer survey performed on behalf of Teen Voice by an independent research bureau. Teen Voice, which is supported by Free Press Unlimited, produces special news bulletins for this large audience of under-14s, in order to increase their exposure to independent news coverage and broaden their horizons.

From 2013 on, Teen Voice – a member of Free Press Unlimited’s Kids News Network – has to be able to work on an independent basis, without the support of other NGOs. This is why Teen Voice recently commissioned a survey, involving 300 viewers from eight different regions in Indonesia, to see whether the programmes are on the right track.

The survey shows that children are enthusiastic about the special youth news bulletins. Particularly because these broadcasts feature children far more often than newscasts geared towards adult audiences do. Children like to learn about the world around them, but the news needs to be tailored to their perception of the world. For example, children enjoy items about other children – children from different cultures or ethnicities, for instance. The interviewed children said the youth news bulletins make them feel more confident. The programmes help them to articulate their own views and give them something to talk about with classmates and their parents. As a result, Teen Voice’s impact on Indonesian society actually extends beyond its immediate audience of under-14s.

According to Katja Michael, Programme Coordinator at Free Press Unlimited, there are plenty of opportunities for Teen Voice to keep growing: ‘Teen Voice is already doing very well in the field of radio and television. But there are further opportunities for the programme to offer content via mobile phones and the Internet. Almost all the children have a mobile phone, and most of them are online on a daily basis.’