Angelina Jolie has teamed up with the BBC to executive produce a weekly current affairs program for children aged seven to 12, titled “BBC My World.” (Via Variety.) One of the main objectives of the ten-episode series is to promote global media literacy among children. According to BBC-commissioned research, children start to become aware of the news at age seven, and sign up for social media accounts at around 12 years old, on average. The program aims to capture kids between seven and 12 years of age, and teach them the value in questioning what they consume, as well as developing critical thinking skills.
“There has never been a time when it was more important to introduce the next generation to objective, impartial news and factual explanation of the events and issues shaping our world,” Jolie said in a statement. “Children today are exposed to a lot of opinion, but not necessarily to information that is fact-based and reliable.”
BBC World Service Director Jamie Angus added: “No parent can completely isolate their child from fake news. But what we can do is give kids the tools to distinguish the genuine from the false and encourage them to develop critical thinking — to ask themselves: who produced the video and why? Are they a reputable organization? Are they just telling one side of the story? Is there another view?”
BBC cites a 2017 US survey by Common Sense Media which found that 69 percent of 10-18 year-olds agreed that news media has no idea what the lives of tweens and teens are really like. Additionally, 74 percent think that the media should show more people their age, rather than adults talking about them.
And the same survey revealed that the news left 45 percent of tweens feeling fearful.
The weekly half-hour show will air on BBC World News, the BBC’s most-watched channel, each Sunday at 11:30 a.m. ET. It will come with additional digital and broadcast elements, including learning segments, and lesson plans made available through Microsoft Education.
The program will start with an English-language version, but the BBC will share the content with 42 different language services and will also make it available on its YouTube channel.
“As a mother, I am very pleased that the BBC World Service is taking this step,” Jolie said. “It is also important to me that the project is global, and will help young people in different countries to be connected to each other and to have greater awareness and understanding of the news on an international basis.”