Vision for ABC Kids and Family

The current program line up on ABC KIDS looks exciting and varied, and led by the enormously successful BLUEY is on an excellent trajectory.  Acquiring and commissioning programmes from the ABC’s most reliable partners locally and from Canada, UK and Europe while exploring new opportunities with other countries which hold the same values would ensure that the channel remains a very safe place in the minds of parents of young children.

ABC FAMILY has a slate of rich and stimulating programs such as Doctor Who for older children in the target band which inspire thought and enquiry while encouraging a sense of adventure and participation.

The social programs and escalators specifically for girls of recent years have been excellent and very important for empowering young women, but an unintended consequence has left boys and adolescents disenfranchised and feeling worthless.  Add to that the negative coverage of some older male behaviour and many adolescents now feel outcast and unvalued. Our society should be growing adolescents into wonderful partners in adulthood!

I think there is an opportunity on this platform to do much more specifically for boys aged 10 and upwards.  For a while now one of the most powerful influencers for boys aged 15 is Andrew Tate.  This is a complex social issue but I suspect the absence of content that specifically engages boys 10-14 leaves a vacuum that is being filled by influencers who promise to give them back some agency, authority and control.

There is a real opportunity here for the ABC to spearhead an initiative that presents alternatives to the voices most influencing boys and young men.  This could involve events in regional areas as well as capital cities around the country and streamed with online interactivity.  It could have a moving focus, for example: discussion forums involving groups from different schools, unusual sports meets, school-based community projects, cultural events, science / space / astronomy events – anything that can give boys and adolescents agency.

Perhaps a forum engaging directly with some select online self-improvement influencers would work.

The English psychologist Richard Reeves is an expert on the problems facing boys and adolescents and outlines them in his book OF BOYS AND MEN.  He runs the American Institute for Boys and Men and is passionately trying to find a way forward for this group.

I believe that ABC offers a platform that is brilliantly positioned to start addressing these issues for boys in the upper band of the 2-14 year old target demographic.

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