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Call for teachers to help with video project showing reality of childhood

The Our Lives: Growing up Today project aims to build an archive of life beyond 'social media perfection', and teachers are being asked to help

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The Our Lives: Growing up Today project aims to build an archive of life beyond 'social media perfection', and teachers are being asked to help

An online project to enable pupils to show what is really going on in their childhood – without the gloss of social media – is being launched today.

The Our Lives: Growing up Today project involves children aged 5 to 12 uploading "video selfies" onto a special website to share experiences, jokes and opinions.

The project aims to produce a unique record of childhood today, and teachers are being asked to help them contribute.

To take part, children must film themselves answering a ten question challenge, talking about things such as their favourite foods, their biggest fears and the important people in their lives.

The project is being run by the Children’s Commissioner for England and First News newspaper.

First News has commissioned a film to introduce the initiative, which shows children such as Hawi, 10, whose favourite possession is her library card.

Jonathan, 10, who has SEND, tells his favourite joke and Ollie, 11, explains how he would replace the water fountain at his school with a chocolate fountain if he was in charge.


A step-by-step guide will be available on the Our Lives website to help teachers run the project in schools and will include resources to help them explore the issues that matter to young people.

Childhood memories

"[This project] will bring to life what children think about growing up in England today, and get a more detailed picture beyond what is said on social media," said Anne Longfield, children’s commissioner for England.

She added: "Our Lives will add to our understanding of the changing nature of childhood and how to respond to those challenges and opportunities.

"This is just the start of what I am sure will be a fascinating journey that will see children empowered to tell their own story without the pressure of social media perfection."

The project comes after a study earlier this year found that more than one in ten children aged 10-15 are unhappy with their lives.

Nicky Cox, editor in chief of First News, said that it was important to hear from children themselves. “Lots of adults do lots of talking about children, speculating about what it’s like to be growing up in today’s world. But, do we really know how children feel and how they think?” she said.

“What children tell us will be a fascinating insight into their lives and will enable policy makers to really listen to our youngest generation when making decisions that affect them.”

The Our Lives questions are:

  1. My favourite food is…
  2. At the weekend, I…
  3. The most important person in my life is…because…
  4. The most important thing I own is…
  5. The best thing about where I live is…because…
  6. The best thing about the internet is … because…
  7. What makes me happy is…
  8. What makes me worry is…
  9. If I was in charge of my school I would … because…
  10. If I was in charge of the country I would … because …

Our Lives is supported by the British Film Institute, the British Library, Into Film – a film education charity, PopJam – an Instagram-style app for children, the Turner Contemporary art gallery and the V&A Museum of Childhood. 

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