How to protect children & young people this International Zero Discrimination Day
This international Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, Act for Kids is encouraging parents and carers to celebrate and raise awareness about diversity with their children.
Alarmingly, research conducted by York University found children as young as five showed signs of racial bias.
“We know children from a young age are socially and cognitively aware of differences between individuals,” Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids Chief Executive Officer and Psychologist explained.
“Children are not born racist, they learn biases from books, media, peers and more importantly influential adults in their lives.”
In 2019-2020, the majority of the reports made to the Human Rights Commission related to disability discrimination (22%), followed by racial hatred (11%).
Interestingly, 3 per cent of reports related to people being discriminated against during COVID-19.
Act for Kids is urging adults to have a valuable conversation about discrimination with their children.
“We should be introducing the topics and encouraging positive understanding of race, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation from as young as five,” Dr Lines says.
“Research shows that awareness of these concepts does not increase prejudice in children.”
It’s also important parents and carers ensure children and young people know where to seek help if they believe they are being discriminated against.
“For younger children, particularly in schools it could be identifying where to access support, such as their teacher or local school guidance counsellor,” Dr Lines explained.
If a young person is experiencing discrimination in a workplace they should arrange to meet with their superior or a representative from Human Resources or in some cases the Human Rights Commission.
Act for Kids recommends adults remain mindful of comments made around children and young people which could be considered as discriminatory.
“Children learn from those around them and together we all have a responsibility to make the world a safer place for kids,” Dr Lines said.
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