Singapore Children's Forum
The Singapore Children’s Forum 2022 – A Platform for Youth Voices to be Heard
Our journey to build a community where youths can be empowered to share their voices continued with the latest iteration of the Singapore Children’s Forum (SCF). Held on 3 December 2022, this year’s SCF concluded with a project showcase event after seven months of preparation. Thirteen core group members, aged between 12 and 19, presented their work on the following topics: mental health, navigating the digital world and climate change. It was an eye-opening experience for the youths as many conducted surveys and interviews for the first time. Though the research process was challenging, especially for a number of shy members, they still found the exercise very fulfilling. A total of 47 people attended the project showcase event, which was graced by guest-of-honour Mr. Eric Chua, Senior Parliamentary Secretary (SPS), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Culmination of a successful SCF journey: Guest of Honour SPS Chua (seated, middle)
with youth, our Board members and senior management at the showcase
Here are highlights from the showcase:
Solana, Zahra, Qalishya, Anders, and Adnan from the Mental Health team investigated how struggles and issues with mental well-being may stem from an early age and happen in familiar settings such as the home. Strained relationships, a lack of mental health literacy, and unrealistic expectations at home were identified as factors that could have a negative impact on children’s and youth’s mental health and well-being.
The team’s survey* findings also showed that strained parent-child relationships often led to unhealthy coping mechanisms. To foster bonding between parents and their children, the team created a game inspired by ‘Twister’ and ‘Heads up/Charades’ to encourage parent-child conversations through a fun setting.
Education, play and social life— these significant segments in our lives are deeply affected by the digital world. Unfortunately, hurtful behaviour is a prevalent issue in the digital space. Against this backdrop, Anthea, Elisha, Janine and Rachel from the Digital World team studied how youths can be better digital users.
Their interview** findings showed that youths tend to be passive digital users who simply ignore malicious users. Based on these findings, the group encouraged people to be more active and positive users, learn to communicate better online, and practise the 3Ps: Pause, Put on your thinking caps before Proceeding to post online.
While it may seem like a big topic, Isra, Sheryl, Shuwen and Judas from the Climate Change team examined their personal choices and habits, such as what they wear every day. From there, they analysed the lasting effects the fast fashion industry has on the environment.
Their survey*** highlighted the lack of knowledge about green-washing practices and brands in the local scene. They hope to encourage people to be more conscious of their consumption habits and adopt ‘slow fashion’ by supporting local brands and businesses.
Following the presentations and question and answer session, guests explored the interactive booths prepared by the various teams. Participants played the ‘Twister/Heads Up’ game by the Mental Health team, learnt Gen Z lingo on the prototype website created by the Digital World team, and converted old t-shirts into tote bags with the Climate Change team.
In their reflections, the thirteen core group members expressed that they found the journey very enriching.
Sheryl from the Climate Change team shared: “This journey has been very interesting and fun. I learnt and did many new things that I would not have done if not for SCF. This programme allowed us to learn and start our own projects. It was very beneficial, and I learnt a lot about current affairs that will affect me.”
Many happy faces in the group photo with the organising team
* The Mental Health team conducted an online survey with 36 participants aged 13 to 19.
** The Digital World team interviewed 11 students aged 15 to 19 from different schools (junior colleges, polytechnics, and Institute of Technical Education).
*** The Climate Change team had 109 survey respondents between the ages of 13 and 19.