Controversial issues: guidance for schools

Conflict and controversy is a fact of life

In an age of mass media and electronic communication, children and young people are regularly exposed to the conflicts and controversies of adult life.


Children are alert to information and images they see in the media. These may graphically influence their view of the world, and not always positively. Graphic images on TV and online can cause anxieties and increase aggressive behaviour, as children role play war games and toy gunfights.

Groups denigrated in the tabloid press provide young people with the terms of abuse they apply to their peers in the playground and on the street. Hence the derogatory use by children of terms such as ‘asylum-seeker’, or ‘gay’.

This resource is written by Ted Huddleston, Consultant in Civic and Citizenship Education with Young Citizens.

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