Young deterred from volunteering opportunitites by coverage of disasters

Media coverage of famine and disasters in the developing world is deterring young people from taking part in volunteering, a report claims.

The report, Global Generation – How young people in the UK connect with the wider world – was launched by the International Broadcasting Trust in partnership with international development charity Plan UK and VSO.

It found that 67 per cent of 14- to 20-year-olds say they are concerned about the world’s poorest people.
However, the report argued that their desire to contribute was being ‘diluted by a growing sense of disengagement from mainstream media’.

In the YouGov poll of 1,500 young people, which formed the basis of the report, negative imagery of famine and disasters were identified as dominating the media’s view of the developing world.

Forty per cent of young people said they found news coverage of developing countries was too negative, while only 35 per cent believed the news was relevant to them.

The report called for broadcasters ‘to reflect a wider range of stories from developing countries’ instead of focusing on negative imagery alone.

Twenty-year-old volunteer Liz White told the researchers: ‘By the time you become a teenager, you are so used to being bombarded by images of suffering that it begins to lose any real impact.

‘Broadcasters need to find a way of restoring the human connection between young people here and overseas.’

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