Fake News And Climate Change: Young People Debate Key Issues On Q&A Special

ABC NewsMazoe Ford

From top L to R, Q&A panellists Daniel Yim, Maya Sathiamoorthy, Geordie Brown, Pinidu Chandrasekera, Solli Raphael and Zahra Bilal. (ABC News: Mazoe Ford)
Why aren't young people listened to? Are kids doing enough to pressure adults to address climate change? And how do you combat fake news?
These were just some of the questions tackled by the first ever Behind the News Q&A kids panel on the ABC.
Six young Australians aged between 13 and 19 formed the panel to debate some of the biggest issues facing their generation, watched by an audience filled with children, some as young as eight.
School students also made up the Q&A audience. (ABC News: Mazoe Ford )
 On climate change, they were adamant that young people must do more to force adults into action.
"I definitely think kids should try to spread their opinions on climate change because this is the world that we're going be living in, this is what we have to take care of, so we should really take responsibility for our world," Maya Sathiamoorthy, 14, said.
Solli Raphael, 13, said young people should take action now with small steps and not wait for adults to act.
"You don't have to be a prime minister or someone powerful to make a change on climate change," he said.
"Like just if we see [rubbish]… pick it up and put it in the bin — it's a small thing but it does make a difference to climate change."

'Fake news teaching us to be more critical'
In the half-hour special, the panel tackled other important issues such as bullying, whether to raise the voting age, social media, and fake news.
"Headlines and flashy news get a lot of clicks and get a lot of attention but … you need to read from different sources and you need to read lots before you can be sure that you've understood and know what the truth is," Daniel Yim, 17, said.
Zahra Bilal, 15, added that young people have developed a level of distrust in the news.
"I think we have had to learn that facts have many faces and not everything we read is true," she said.
"So I think it's good that fake news has come out because it has taught us to be so much more critical of what we read," she said.
The special is the first Behind the News Q&A panel. (ABC News: Mazoe Ford )
The panel also spoke about why they believe adults in positions of power need to listen more to young people's voices.
"There are adults out there who don't necessarily know what we're going through as kids and they don't know the sort of experiences we are having," Geordie Brown, 19, said.
"We have to come together and create a voice … we have [to] create [opportunities] for each other and ourselves, and what that does is it gains the respect of adults and it shows them we do care and we want to make a difference."
Pinidu Chandrasekera, 16, said he felt inspired by young people in other countries who were making their voices heard.
"We only have to go to America where kids our age are all banding together and really driving a huge movement for gun reform and I think we've seen it before back in the 1970s against the Vietnam war," he said.
"It's an adult world, they dominate the news and they dominate politics, but as kids we have a powerful voice if we can come together and really show society what we want to change."


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