Super-Spreaders or Victims of Circumstance? Childhood in Canadian Media Reporting of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Critical Content Analysis
Media content analysis
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AbstractThis qualitative research study, a critical content analysis, explores Canadian media reporting of childhood in Canada during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Popular media plays an important role in representing and perpetuating the dominant social discourse in highly literate societies. In Canadian media, the effects of the pandemic on children and adolescents' health and wellbeing are overshadowed by discussions of the potential risk they pose to adults. The results of this empirical research highlight how young people in Canada have been uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Two dominant narratives emerged from the data: children were presented "as a risk" to vulnerable persons and older adults and "at risk" of adverse health outcomes from contracting COVID-19 and from pandemic lockdown restrictions. This reflects how childhood was constructed in Canadian society during the pandemic, particularly how children's experiences are described in relation to adults. Throughout the pandemic, media reports emphasized the role of young people's compliance with public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save the lives of older persons.