Living through the corona pandemic is a unique experience for children – and so they have many questions that must be answered. In response to this issue, the government in Finland organised a press conference where children took the leading role as reporters. Kids asked, and Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her colleagues answered directly into the camera to Finnish kids listening from their homes.
As in many countries, schools in Finland are currently closed due to the coronavirus and more than half a million Finnish school children are affected. They are not allowed to meet grandparents or friends. Instead, they must study at home. Understandably, the kids have a lot of questions in this unfamiliar and difficult situation.
However, the media coverage around Corona is seldom suitable for children. The Finnish government along with Prime Minister Sanna Marin has therefore come up with something special: A press conference for children.
Finland: First ever children-led press conference
On April 24th, the Finnish government organised the first press conference with children as reporters, during which the kids asked their questions via the internet directly to members of the government. Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Minister of Education Li Andersson and Minister of Science Hanna Kosonen answered directly into the camera to Finnish kids listening from their homes.
Seven children between 7 and 12 years were present as reporters. The questions ranged from “When can we go back to school” to “What can we do if we´re feeling stressed or scared because of the situation?”. The kids represented different media outlets and participated in the press conference from their studios or the children´s homes.
The press conference was held in Finland´s two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, and was interpreted in sign language. To fully illustrate this unusual conference, here is the stream of the first ever press conference with kids in charge:
Sanna Marin: “Stay in touch with friends”
For the closing question, Aaron asked: “What can I do for Finland?”. Prime Minister Sanna Marin encouraged the schoolchildren to keep up their distance learning and added: “And of course it’s very important to stay in touch with relatives and friends and other people. I think that many grandparents are very happy when somebody calls up and asks how it’s going and tells them what’s been going on.“
Education Minister Andersson answered:
„Another thing that you can do, and that I think is very important, is that you take care of not only your grandparents, but also your friends. If you notice that you haven’t spoken with one of your classmates for a long time, or if someone seems a bit down, or hasn’t been participating in distance learning like usual, then it’s absolutely a good idea to reach out and ask if everything is OK and if you can help.“
Picture: Flickr / Finnish Government