The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

The Children’s Media Foundation

The Media Advocacy Organisation for UK Children and Young People

Screen Time debate

Recent calls by Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health, for guidelines on screen time for young people led CMF to consider what young people themselves thought of their use of screens and the time spent on them - particularly for social media or gaming. The results of our survey, conducted by research partners Dubit, with input from our Academic Advisory Board, make fascinating reading.

Read our Digest here.  Or the Full Report here.

Young Audiences Content Fund

After years of campaigning by CMF and others, the fund to create new public service content for children and young people is becoming a reality.  

The Fund, formerly known as the Contestable Fund, is now the Young Audiences Content Fund and will distribute approximately £20m of funding each year of its three year pilot. The BFI have recruited a Head of Fund - the former Head of Acquisitions and Independent Animation at BBC Children's - Jackie Edwards. In February 2019 the BFI shared their draft criteria to allow producers and other interested parties to comment on how the Fund will work, before March 4th 2019.

This is a major success, following intense lobbying over several years by the CMF - first, to create awareness in politicians that a fund was needed, and secondly, to ensure that the fund proposed early in 2017 would dedicate its resources to the younger audience.

Ofcom Review

The Ofcom Children's Content Review identified three main issues with the supply of programmes by the commercial public service broadcasters:

  • A lack of original, high-quality programmes specifically made for older children across all genres
  • A limited range of programmes that help children understand the world around them
  • A limited range of original, high quality children’s programmes that allow UK children of all ages and backgrounds to see themselves and their lives reflected on screen

Ofcom acknowledged the complexity of contemporary kids' media so chose not regulate at this time. Instead they wrote to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 with a request to them to formulate proposals to improve provision by March 2019.

CMF's reaction to the Report findings and recommendations can be seen here.

Joined-up Policy

CMF Director Greg Childs gives an assessment of the current policy initiatives which should lead to more content for children and young people being produced in the UK.

With the Young Audiences Content Fund potentially working hand-in-hand with Ofcom's requirement on the public service commercial broadcasters to come up with more content for children and teens - the prospects for innovative, relevant, UK-based content looks more positive than for some time.

Read our analysis of current policy initiatives here, or watch the presentation in this short video.

Children's Media Yearbook

The 2018 edition of the children's Media Yearbook is available now.

Published by CMF, the sixth Yearbook is packed with articles on the way children watch, the latest trends in content, research outcomes, policy discussions and news of success and innovation in every field of children's media.

It's available to download (cost: £7.95), or in hard copy which delivers within a few days (cost: £10 + p&p).

"What's Next for UK Kids?"

CMF staged the big policy debate at the annual Children's Media Conference in Sheffield on 4th July 2018.  Over 450 delegates crowded in to hear a message from Minister, Margot James MP and debate the future of UK kids' content in the face of Brexit, new funding, re-regulation and more.
What's Next for UK Kids can be seen in full here.

Making the Internet Safe

CMF is contributing to a number of the negates on various aspects of internet safety for children and young people. We believe that in general the major platform and social media providers should do more to make their sites "default family friendly", to improve media literacy amongst parents, and provide parental controls that are "default on".

March 2019 will see the next phase of the UK Government Internet Safety Strategy - a White Paper. The CMF response to the Green Paper is here.

The House of Lords Communications Committee is conducting an inquiry into potential regulation of the internet.  CMF contributed to this in May 2018.

"Children, and the media they use, are frequent topics of public concern and debate. The Children's Media Foundation will stimulate and participate in this debate - across the entire range of media that children experience."

Sir Philip Pullman, Author and Founder Patron,