'Labels R4 Jars, Not Young People,' say Young Christian Workers

A seven foot jar full of pickled hoodies will be paraded along Fleet Street in London next Tuesday to bring the message to the media that 'labels R4 jars, not young people'.

The action is being led by Young Christian Workers (YCW) in an effort to warn the media of the dangers of "their negative labelling of young people", the group says.

The giant jar will be accompanied by young people and supporters of the campaign, including Bishop Roger Sainsbury, chair of the National Youth Agency, and Jackie Henry of JUMP Youth Project.

Sixty youth organisations, including YCW, Frontier Youth Trust (FYT) and Youth Work Matters (Churches Together in England), conducted research into adult perceptions of young people. Their findings will be published on Monday in the report 'Labels R4 Jars, Not Young People' alongside the 'Seeing the Real Story' report from the YCW on how young people feel about their portrayal in the media.

The research found that adults perceive anti-social and criminal behaviour among young people to be worse than it actually is.

While the level of crime committed by young people has dropped dramatically by 21 per cent, 75 per cent of adults believe it has increased and 80 per cent wrongly believe the crimes committed are worse despite the numbers of violent and serious crimes by young people remaining stable.

The research also found that adults overestimated the rate of drug use among young people, and guessed the number of teenage pregnancies in the UK five times higher than its actual rate.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents admitted that their opinions of young people were informed mostly by media, while only eight per cent of adults said they based their opinions on direct contact with young people.

Of the 3000 young people asked to share their feelings about the media's portrayal of young people, meanwhile, a massive 76 per cent said that the media had to change.

The jar of pickled hoodies will be taken to broadcasters and newspapers where the findings of the research will be presented to editors.

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