Body cameras attached to more than 150 children have captured the ‘shameful’ extent of child poverty in New Zealand through a child’s eye in a world-first study.
The study led by the University of Otago, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, involved 168 randomly selected children aged 11 to 13 from 16 schools in Wellington wearing automatic cameras for four days. The cameras took a photo every seven seconds of the child’s day outside of school hours and on weekends.
“[The children] wear them all the time, so they get on with their lives,” said Louise Signal, lead study author and professor of public health. “They played ball, you could see what they were eating, where they were going.”
The photos also captured the condition of the child’s living quarters, what was in their fridge and cupboards, the likelihood of them having a private space, and whether they were exposed to hazards such as gambling, alcohol consumption or moldy parts.
This is the first study to use cameras attached to children “to really show the lived reality of poverty from a child’s perspective,” Signal said. Spin-off studies also came from the camera data, including an examination of children’s exposure to junk food and branding.
The researchers compared images captured by children living in the lowest to highest levels of deprivation.
They found that children from the poorest households had fewer healthy foods, fewer educational resources, lacked access to technology or quiet spaces to do their homework, often lived in moldy homes and crowded, had fewer opportunities for structured physical activity, and were more likely to be exposed to harms such as alcohol.
“It’s heartbreaking and it’s shameful,” Signal said. “There is no excuse for a country of our wealth.
“We’ve always said we’re a great country to grow up in, but only for certain kids.”
The study was conducted in 2014, the results were compiled and published this week.
Reducing child poverty is one of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s key issues. In her newly created role as Minister for Child Poverty Reductionit introduced legislation in 2018 to create political accountability for reduction targets.
Measures of child poverty are starting to fall, according to Stats NZ, but around 150,400 children live in extreme income poverty, while almost 600,000 more live in either poverty after housing costs or in income poverty. . Strong disparities remain between Maori and Pasifika children – one in five Maori children live in difficult material conditions and one in four Pasifikas.
Since the study data was collected, the government has made some improvements to housing, benefit levels and a cost-of-living payment for low-income people, Signal said. “Yet the problem of child poverty remains in Aotearoa, affecting the health and well-being of our children.
“We hope that by sharing the lives of children… maybe it could motivate adults to really bite the bullet and deal with it. We won’t have a thriving society if we don’t take care of our children.
Researchers attach body cameras to children to study poverty in New Zealand | New Zealand
Source link Researchers attach body cameras to children to study poverty in New Zealand | New Zealand