Children and young people have issued adults with a call-to-arms in a new Queensland report, asking their parents and adults to put down their phones, hear their concerns and interact with them more.
The QFCC heard that children and young people are optimistic but want to have their voices heard by decision makers and crave face-to-face connections.
QFCC Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon says young people across Queensland share similar views despite age, gender, geographical and cultural differences.
“The vast majority of young Queenslanders are optimistic about their future, but they want a greater say in decisions that affect them,” Ms Vardon said.
“They want adults to pay attention, have respectful conversations, and listen to what they have to say about the things important to them — they are asking adults to put their phones down and to interact with them more,” she said.
More than 7,000 children and young people from South East Queensland to as far north as the Torres Strait and west to Mt Isa and Longreach shared their views through a survey, focus groups, responding to post-card questions and artwork from the youngest citizens. They provided insights into:
- how they experience life in their community
- their career aspirations and the supports and barriers they face to achieving their goals
- the big picture topics and their ideas for possible improvements.
The QFCC will use the findings to advocate for young Queenslanders and influence decision-makers to consider the views of young people when developing policy.
“Our future generations told us loud and clear they want youth-friendly spaces to safely connect with friends, improved public transport, sustained transition to renewable sources of energy, and better information to identify mental health issues,” Ms Vardon said.
“They are interested in how the digitised future will impact them and want more access to life-skills to help as they transition from school to employment, and they want guidance on how to manage their current workloads and stress.
“There is a lot of criticism these days of our young people and their addiction to screens. But what they tell us is they’re being driven to everything digital — games for recreation, screens for education, websites for resources, but what they actually want is real conversations and connections,” she said.
Ms Vardon said the report, This Place I Call Home: the views of children and young people on Growing up in Queensland, provides a ‘snapshot’ of a large group of Queensland young people at one point in time, building a youth evidence base that provides valuable information to support Queensland’s priority areas.
“Ultimately, young people have shown they are very well informed and want adults to respect their interests to make Queensland an even greater place to grow up in,” Ms Vardon said.
Read the report and find fact sheets and resources on the Growing up in Queensland page.