Children’s league for baby elephant spot: Don’t hold children responsible for adult behavior! | Austrian League for Children

Children’s league sees the government’s wrong signal in the current baby elephant spot. Adults have to take responsibility for children, not the other way around.

Vienna (OTS) The Austrian League for Child and Adolescent Health (Children’s League) is very critical of the government’s new Corona commercial (“It’s not easy for a baby elephant”). “The government’s intention to contain the COVID pandemic is right and important, the implementation in the spot is extremely questionable from a child psychological point of view“Says Dr. Christoph Hackspiel, psychologist and president of the children’s league.

Wrong signal from the government to use children as “law enforcement officers”

The spot shows how a child in a baby elephant costume is constantly struggling and straining to push apart the adults who do not keep the minimum distance. It is suggested that it is now the children who are responsible for urging measures to contain the pandemic. “This is a clear reversal of roles that is unhealthy for children and inappropriate for adults. We know that children who (have to) take responsibility for their parents in the family system are overwhelmed and permanently stressed“, Says Dr Caroline Culen, psychologist and managing director of the Children’s League. The two experts agree that it is a completely wrong signal from the government to use children to bring adults to their senses and responsibility.

Adults have to take responsibility for children, not the other way around

Especially in times of the pandemic, which are unsettling for children and adolescents and increasingly psychologically stressful, it is important that adults give children stability and take responsibility for them, not the other way around. Results of various studies on “COVID and the children”[1] show that kindergarten and primary school children in particular – precisely the age group to which the protagonist of the commercial belongs – have great worries about infecting other family members, especially their grandparents, and being responsible for their illness. The current baby elephant spot, which children of this age perceive unfiltered, without understanding a meta level, could increase this pressure on the children, fear the experts of the children’s league.

Raise awareness of children’s rights in advertising agencies too

The subject is also questionable from a child protection perspective. We would have liked more sensitivity. A government ad showing a small child disguised as a baby elephant who has to squeeze between the legs of adults at their buttocks is borderline“Says Culen. For the children’s league it is evident that advertising agencies should also develop a greater awareness of children’s rights and greater sensitivity for the role of children. According to the psychologist, drawing up child protection guidelines could be an important signal in this area as well.

Appeal to the government to rethink its communication strategy

Hacking game in the direction of the politically responsible: “The children’s league appeals to the government to rethink its communication strategy accordingly and to clearly communicate in the future that the social responsibility lies with us adults – and not only currently with regard to containing the COVID pandemic , but overall for the healthy growing up of children and young people in Austria. “

[1] Report on the state of child and youth health in Austria 2020:

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