Letter: Children's views

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The Independent Online
Sir: Bryan Appleyard's discussion of the child's right to privacy ("Glare that marks for life", 29 January) is welcome. It is, indeed, an important principle that the interests of children involved in public controversy should be protected.

But there is another principle he raises only to discount, namely that children's own views in these matters should be taken into account. Bryan Appleyard suggests that children, if asked about such publicity, might be "dazzled by the idea of fame", and that many of them want to "drink, smoke, gamble, or have sex".

But there is plenty of evidence that most children and young people, at any rate from the time they enter secondary school, are quite capable of providing a coherent and valuable view on a whole range of subjects. Their autonomy should be encouraged, not trivialised.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Graham


National Children's Bureau

London, EC1