Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Earlier this month Newsround reported on the racist bullying of a boy in Swindon. All types of bullying are unacceptable, but what makes things worse is when the victim is too frightened to say anything about it or seek help. This is why homophobic bullying, especially, can lead to terrible consequences. Its effects can be grave in religious households because of the homophobic attitudes promulgated by some faiths. The Pope, for example, once declared that gay people had a tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil.

With such prejudiced attitudes in society it's hardly surprising that kids are worried about being thought of as gay, and why all too often they won't seek help if they're bullied. Some kids see suicide as the only way out. Seth Walsh, 13, from Tehachapi in California was one such boy. Ten days ago, after years of bullying, he hanged himself from a tree and died this week in hospital.

People should be able to feel proud of who they are - whatever their gender and sexual orientation. As Prime Minister David Cameron said in June, homophobic bullying needs to be addressed by a change in culture. Yet only last Thursday on the CBBC channel (4.25pm) Iain Stirling was referred to on-air as a pansy. Hardly the sort of culture change needed to eliminate homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools. In fact absolutely appalling.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Well it looks like Newsround finally got round to 'covering' the DavEd Miliband story. It was covered for the first time on their 5pm bulletin last night.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ricky Investigates began on Newsround today. Ricky's first 'investigation' was about cinema snack prices, the sort of thing once covered on Short Change.

You'd think the recent news about Ed Miliband and his brother David would be an ideal story for Newsround. After all, loads of viewers must have older or younger siblings. So why didn't Newsround have a word to say about the sibling rivalry, and what happened when younger brother Ed was voted in as leader of the party? Maybe it could have been done it in the jokey way they sometimes use.

Of course, it's not really for me to say what the BBC should or shouldn't do. The BBC's 'editorial independence' is very important to them.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Newsround spent a considerable amount of time in April and May attempting to explain politics before the General Election. So it was odd to see nothing this weekend about Ed Miliband becoming leader of the Labour opposition. Amongst the items which were covered in bulletins we had a boat made of chocolate, the mystery of the pink pussycat, news about the trapped miners in Chile, the Gordon Bennett balloon race, and of course the usual footie news.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Papal visit to Britain - continued

Newsround's enthusiasm over Pope Benedict's visit was less evident by Friday, although the visit still made the lead story at 7am and 8.30am, as well as in the two early afternoon programmes, both of which briefly mentioned the Pope's big assembly in London.

Friday's 5pm flagship bulletin on BBC One was presented by Sonali and Ore. Sonali had prepared a short potted history of the Pope and why Britain split away from Roman Catholicism. Viewers were told that the Pope was not always so welcome in Britain -

Sonali: First, here's how to make school assembly more interesting - invite the Pope along. Thousands of kids from all over the country travelled to London today for a big assembly where the Pope was the chief guest.

Ore: The head of the Catholic Church is on Day 2 of a four day UK tour. In the last hour he met the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Millions of people are very excited that he's here but the Pope's not always been so welcome in Britain. And to find out why, we've gotta go way back in time.

Video of Sonali's potted Pope history -

Sonali: So now you know.

Ore: Thank you very much Sonali. History lesson there.

Friday's evening bulletin on CBBC at 6.45pm also included Sonali's 'history lesson.'

Of the five Newsround bulletins on Saturday the only one to report anything about the Pope was at 9.55am -

Joe: It's the third day of the Pope's visit to the UK, and this morning he's met with the Prime Minister David Cameron. He's now arrived at Westminster Cathedral to celebrate Mass. And the day will end with a big prayer vigil in Hyde Park.

On Sunday the Pope's visit was covered at noon, and then finally this at 2pm -

Joe: It's the final day of the Pope's visit to the UK. Today he's in Birmingham, where he celebrated an open-air Mass. And during the service the Pope gave a special honour to a man called Cardinal Newman, who died more than 100 years ago. It was the second-to-last step in the process towards making the cardinal a saint. Now the Pope's meeting men who are training to be priests, before he returns home to Rome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Papal visit to Britain

Newsround was enthusing about the Pope and his visit to Britain a whole day before he even touched down here (see blog dated 17 Sept 2010) The last bulletin at 6.25pm on Wednesday was the only time Newsround referred directly to children being abused by priests. The programme was introduced by Sonali, then came Hayley's filmed report from Rome, after which -

Sonali: But there are lots of people who don't agree with what the Pope stands for. Recently it's become clear that some kids who were looked after by Catholic priests were abused by them and then told not to say anything about it. The Pope did apologise earlier this year in a letter, but he's been accused of not doing enough to uncover exactly what went on. We asked one expert on religion to explain more. (Robert Pigott's explanation, as shown at 5pm)

Newsround coverage on Thursday began at 7am -

Leah: First up - the Pope arrives in Britain later for the first time in 28 years. He'll be here for a four day trip. After touching down in Edinburgh the Pope will first see the Queen. Tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out to see him, so security will be tight. He'll also be making trips to Birmingham and London.

A similar report followed at 7.25am on BBC Two, and then at 8.30am on the CBBC channel there was a report from Hayley in Scotland -

Hayley: Hi guys, yes I'm in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, because the Pope is arriving here today. Now this is the first time a pope has been to the UK in 28 years, and he will be parading down this very street behind me. Loads of preparation has gone into today already. They've already put up stages. All the streets have been cleared because thousands of people are expected to gather here. There's also massive amounts of security, including sniffer dogs. And check out this pass that I've got to wear just to be here today. But the Pope has got a jam-packed day ahead of him. First of all he's meeting the Queen. Then he's parading through the streets of Edinburgh. Then he's going over to Glasgow where he's going to give a Mass to thousands of Catholics who've come from all over the country to hear what he's got to say. And I'll be there with him live on Newsround tonight. So tune in to BBC One at 5pm where I'll have everything that the Pope's been up to today.

The two early afternoon CBBC channel bulletins on Thursday began with news about the Pope's visit. Then it was the lead Newsround story at 5pm on BBC One -

Sonali: So the Pope has landed. For the first time in almost 30 years the leader of the Catholic Church is here in Britain.

Ore: There are more than 1 billion Catholics all around the world. So everything he says and does is a big deal. Hayley's been following the Pope's trip all day. Hayles, what's happening right now?

Hayley: Guys, well the Pope has just arrived. In any minute now he's going to be getting up on that stage and giving a Mass to 65,000 people who have come here to Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. As you can see behind me, there's already music and people waving flags. Now this is all part of a big concert, in which Susan Boyle is the star of the show. And all the pictures are going to be beamed out all over the world. Now this is part of a four day event. Because after the Pope's been here he's going on to London where's he's going to meet some school children and also speak to the Prime Minister. Then he's going on to Birmingham. So it's going to be a jam-packed few days, but it all started this morning where I was with him in Edinburgh.

Hayley's video summary of day's events

Sonali: So Hayley we can see there's a lot of excitement about the trip. But some people aren't happy about his visit because, in the past, some children were treated badly by Catholic priests who were supposed to be looking after them. Has the Pope said anything about this today?

Hayley: Yes he has Sonali. Well on his flight to Scotland this morning the Pope said that he felt shocked when he found out what had been happening in secret. Now the Pope has apologised earlier this year, but today he admitted that he thought the Church hadn't done enough to protect children and stop them being put at risk. But for all these people behind me you can tell that they're celebrating, and they're just here to get a glimpse of the Pope himself.

Ore: Alright Hayley. Thank you very much.

The 6.25pm bulletin that day included Hayley's earlier video report, but afterwards there was no mention about children being "treated badly" -

Sonali: First, the Pope is holding a big open air Mass in Glasgow right now. Tens of thousands of people are in Bellahouston Park to see him. It's the first time the leader of the Catholic Church has visited Britain in almost 30 years. Hayley's been following his journey today.

Repeat of Hayley's video summary of day's events

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The BBC is almost certain to receive an exemption from crucial parts of the new Equality Act, but you could be forgiven for thinking they are still remarkably keen to promote religion - at least inasmuch as that means promoting the Roman Catholic religion. It just so happens that Roman Catholicism is the faith of Mark Thompson, the BBCs own Director-General.

It was, in fact, Mark Thompson who, at the prompting of the BBC Trust's Michael Lyons, wrote to then government minister Lord Carter in April last year apparently asking for broadcasters to be exempted from provisions in the Equality Act. The reason advanced by the DCMS for the exemption is that the BBC must be 'editorially independent.'

Recall the first of the BBC's six Values:

Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.

Hayley's Wednesday report about the Pope and Vatican City (previous blog) - does that come across to you as impartial?

In the 5pm flagship bulletin on BBC One the same day, Ore told viewers that lots of people don't agree with what the Pope stands for, and that children in the care of Catholic priests had been "mistreated." Robert Pigott said people are asking why the Pope didn't do more to help, but he failed to mention that Ratzinger was actually one of key players keeping the abuse under wraps.

Other reasons for the Pope being unwelcome here went unreported altogether by Newsround, and many kids will have been left with the clear overall impression that the Pope is a benign person.

BBC bias was most significant last night during the Protest the Pope demonstration in central London. Although there had been some coverage of the Demonstration during the day on the BBC News channel, including a short live broadcast of speeches outside Downing Street, the BBC chose at 4.40pm to cut away from a keynote speech by Geoffrey Robertson QC, and instead show the Pope's motorcade on its way to a care home for elderly people.

Professor Richard Dawkins' speech was not shown live, but is available here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Pope's visit to Britain has been receiving extensive coverage on Newsround. This was how Newsround set the scene on Wednesday at 8.25am -

Leah: The leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope, arrives in Britain tomorrow for a four day visit. It's a big moment for millions of Catholics in the UK as it's the first time the Pope has visited in more than 25 years. Hayley's been to Vatican City in Italy where the Pope lives, to find out more about him.

Hayley: This is the Vatican City. And the man in charge, the Pope, lives just over there. But why is the Pope so special?

Robert Mickens: Well if you think of it in the sense of every family has a father or a mother or grandparents or the head of the family, in a similar way the Catholic Church has a head of the family - a father figure - and that's the Pope.

Hayley: Well the first Pope is believed to have been St Peter, one of Jesus's disciples who came to Rome 2000 years ago. And since then the Pope has been the man that millions of people look to for how to live their lives. This is the current Pope - he's called Pope Benedict the Sixteenth. He's German, and check this out - he loves cats and classical music. Thousands of people come every day to try and get a peep at the Pope, and hear what he has to say.

Hayley: What do you think of the Pope?

Girl: Oh he's a legend. Yeah, he's such an inspiration to people.

Boy1: I mean to see him today face to face was just absolutely amazing.

Boy2: For a Catholic he is, in the Catholic view, God's representative on Earth.

Hayley: One thing you can be sure of is that wherever the Pope goes big crowds follow. So you can expect to see thousands of people filling up the streets in the UK when the Pope comes to visit us at home. (end of video report)

Leah: And while many people are excited about the Pope's visit, there are others who disagree with what he stands for, and with some of the things he's done. To find out more tune into Newsround at 5 o'clock on BBC One.

Wednesday's 5pm programme included Hayley's earlier report but with slightly different edits, after which there was a short discussion about the controversy surrounding the Pope's visit.

Sonali: First, the leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope arrives in Scotland tomorrow for a four day visit to the UK. It's a big moment for the millions of Catholics in Britain, as it's the first time a Pope has visited in more than 25 years.

Ore: In a minute we'll be looking at why there are mixed feelings about his visit, but first Hayley's been to Vatican City in Italy where the Pope lives, to find out a bit more about him.

Hayley's video report

Ore: So he has got a lot of followers. But there are also lots of people who don't agree with what the Pope stands for. In recent years it's become clear that some children in care of Catholic priests have been mistreated.

Sonali: Now the Pope did apologise earlier this year in a letter but he's been accused of not doing enough to uncover exactly what went on.

Ore: Critics say some groups of priests stopped children speaking about being mistreated because they didn't want to give the Church a bad name. So we asked an expert on the Church to explain more.

Robert Pigott: This has been a huge problem for the Catholic Church, not just in this country but around the world during the last few years. And it's because a few priests have mistreated children who've been placed in their care. And I think what's made people so angry and disappointed and to feel so let down is that the priests were in a position of trust - they were trusted by parents to look after the children. And I think people are also asking why the Pope, who is the leader of all the Catholic priests in the world, didn't do more to stop it happening.

Sonali: So the Pope's visit starts tomorrow when he lands in Edinburgh. And thousands are expected to be there to welcome him.

Ore: Hayley will be following him throughout the day for us, so make sure you're back with us for that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pope is due to arrive in Britain tomorrow and, assuming that CBBC decides to report his visit, Newsround Blog will be looking out for journalistic integrity.

Will Newsround explain why loads of people believe that the Pope is a flagitious man who is not welcome here? Or will it instead hide away the controversy, in a similar way that Ratzinger himself tried to cover up cases of child abuse in his church?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sonali: Meat dress, what d'you think?

Ore: I reckon .. go Gaga, well done.

Sonali: I think ... she's a vegan! It's disgusting!

Ore: She can do what she likes. She is Lady Gaga.

Sonali: Alright, fair enough.

That was part of the banter on Newsround yesterday, after they'd just carried a report about the MTV Video Music Awards.

Not sure Sonali was right about Lady Gaga being a vegan. Perhaps she was thinking of TV chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, who definitely is a vegan. After all Ellen was presenting at the MTV awards, and also interviewed Lady Gaga after the ceremony.

This report, from Channel 4 News, helps explain Gaga's meat dress -

Wonder what Newsround will make of Lady Gaga's new record when it's released. She sang part of Born This Way at the award ceremony -

How beautiful in my way, cos God makes no mistakes.
I'm on the right track. Baby I was born this way.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Perhaps it was because of the BBC Trust requirement that no group be ignored or underserved that Newsround, last week, decided to cover racist bullying from the point of view of a white boy bullied by Asian pupils.

The story resulted from the recommendations in a report (pdf) for Swindon Borough Council, which had looked into the circumstances surrounding a boy who suffered serious injuries when he was hit on the head with a hammer.

Alex Gray, a counsellor from ChildLine was in the studio to answer questions. Ricky asked him whether racist bullying was worse than other types of bullying. Alex responded that racist bullying "really attacks something really really personal to you," and that, Alex said, makes it particularly bad.

Traditionally racist bullying has been treated as more serious than all other types of bullying, but not for the reason given by Alex. Racist bullying is taken so seriously because the bullying, as well as directly affecting the victim, is also seen as an attack on a whole community group, and therefore a threat to community relations and a cohesive society.

Victims of racist bullying can, perhaps more readily than with other types of bullying, obtain help from their friends and family. Kids who, on the other hand, get bullied about issues personal to themselves often feel less able to ask for that help. Hopefully, when Ricky carries out his investigations for Newsround, he'll be a bit more skeptical and won't simply accept what he's told at face value.

Newsround's coverage of the racist bullying story may have given a misleading impression that Swindon's recommendations were applicable throughout the country. This is how it went out on Thursday's Newsround at 5pm -

Sonali: First we're talking about bullying. You can get picked on for all sorts of reasons. For some kids it's because of the colour of their skin.

Ricky: Well today a new report says schools should be doing more to stamp out racist bullying.

Sonali: (video) Three years ago Henry was attacked at his school because he was white. This CCTV film shows him just before he was set upon by a gang. They beat him up and left him with serious head injuries. There'd been lots of trouble between white and Asian pupils at the school, and Henry and his friends had been badly bullied. Henry's school say they couldn't have done anything to stop him being attacked, but Henry disagrees and thinks they could have. There's been a big investigation into what happened and the Report's out. It says schools must find out exactly why someone's been bullied and whether it's because of the colour of their skin. They say schools should keep a record of the race of all bullies and their victims, and the police should be told about any racist pupils.

Sonali: Well watching that on the sofa with us is Alex Gray, a counsellor from ChildLine. Hey there Alex. Now lots of schools are good at stamping out bullying, but is there any evidence that racist bullying is happening more often?

Alex: Yeah, we're hearing a lot from young people at ChildLine who are being bullied because of the colour of their skin, because of their background, their culture, that kind of thing. Bullying has always been our number one type of call that we get. But more and more they're calling us about racist bullying.

Ricky: And is being bullied just for maybe the colour of your skin worse than being teased for maybe being fat, or for being short?

Alex: Well the thing about racist bullying is it really attacks something really really personal to you. So the effect that that has on your self-esteem, how you feel inside is massive. So it can be really bad. All types of bullying are obviously really terrible for the person suffering it, but this is particularly bad.

Sonali: Is there a risk though, that someone's accused of being racist when they're saying a word that they might not actually understand is so bad, or so wrong?

Alex: Yeah, lots of young people will bully other young people without actually realising that's what they're doing. But the thing to remember is about the effect that you're having on other people. So are you upsetting them, are you really hurting them. And just being aware of what your actions are. It's not always a joke at the end of the day.

Sonali: Yeah, just try and think about what you're saying. Thanks Alex.

Ricky: Thanks Alex. Thanks for joining us. Right, don't forget, if you're worried about bullying we've got plenty of help and advice over on the Newsround website.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've mentioned BBC age discrimination previously. It seems that, barring exceptional circumstances, CBBC presenters over the age of about 30 are simply surplus to requirements.

Two of CBBC's former presenters were, however, allowed to appear on TV for a short while yesterday afternoon, as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations. But we're unlikely to see older presenters again for quite a while. Ed Petrie (now aged 32) made a comeback last year and continuing into 2010, but that was maybe just as a stopgap measure until younger presenters such as Chris Johnson could be found and trained up.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Apparently today is the 25th anniversary of Children's BBC, or CBBC as it's now known.

Yesterday Single Parent Dad blogged that Newsround is worse these days than it was years ago, when he was a kid and it was presented by John Craven.

Here is how the programme looked in 1982 (on 2nd November) -

Newsround today does seem to have shorter stories, many of which are based around sports and showbiz personalities. Single Parent Dad was concerned, amongst other things, with a Newsround report about the tittle-tattle surrounding Wayne Rooney playing for England. That is not news, and certainly not a priority for children to hear about, said SPD.

Now if Newsround had gone into details about Wayne's extramarital sexual encounters, I would be inclined to agree that the story shouldn't have been mentioned. But look at what Newsround actually reported on Monday 6 September 2010 at 8.30am -

Ricky: .. Wayne Rooney is expected to be with them [the England team] despite newspaper reports about his private life over the weekend. ...

and the next day, Tuesday 7 September 2010 at 5pm -

Sonali: .. Wayne Rooney's told Fabio Capello he can handle tonight's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland. There were worries he wouldn't be up for the match after those claims that he's been cheating on his wife, Coleen. ..

So, Newsround's coverage referred to claims that Rooney 'cheated' on his wife. What could a 5-year-old understand that to mean? Well, it means different things to kids as they get older. At school 'cheating' often means having a steady boyfriend or girlfriend, but secretly dating someone else.

Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter
Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter (1945)

Newsround Blog has often queried Newsround's editorial judgement, but sometimes people's private lives are important, and can have significant impact on their public lives. We saw that happen with former England captain John Terry earlier in the year. We saw it again with David Laws and, more recently, with William Hague. And there will be countless more examples in the future. As with Newsround's attempt to censor the John Terry story, editors can end up with egg on their face.

Single Parent Dad says that there used to be a lot of information about animals, and their plights around the globe. News of struggles in countries far away as well as uplifting news from the globe and, indeed, our own isles. As an avid viewer I can confirm that Newsround is still quite good on those issues, but perhaps the programme has come to rely just a bit too much on celebrity stories and football, to the detriment of other news relevant to children and young people.

Newsround wants to know what Ricky should investigate.

My suggestion is that Ricky could try to find out why most CBBC message boards were closed down at the end of 2008, and why the BBC said that it was an improvement to the website. However, I bet he won't investigate that, or anything else which might embarrass the BBC.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Still no news about the William Hague controversy on Newsround. Yesterday Hague tweeted "Thanks for another day of very supportive comments. What was said about me was a big lie which I hope has been nailed. I am enjoying my work." William seems unhappy with something in the newspapers, but what exactly is the 'big lie' to which he takes such exception? Hague was grateful for a few manly hugs which, he says, were taken in entirely the right way.

Ironically Hague once supported a law which referred to homosexuality as "a pretended family relationship." Yet as far back as 1994 he voted for an equal age of consent for gay and straight people.

Since the John Terry affair earlier in the year, Newsround has sensibly altered its prudish attitude to reporting the private lives of football players. On Monday's Newsround at 5pm -

Sonali: Now England striker Wayne Rooney will play in their Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland tomorrow. Fabio Capello confirmed it in the last hour.

Leah: There'd been some doubt over whether Rooney would be on the team after claims he cheated on wife, Coleen. But the player jetted off with the squad earlier today, and Fabio says: He's in.

With Wayne Rooney's triumph in Switzerland earlier this evening, Newsround viewers will now be able to see more of the picture.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Does television harm kids? That was one of the questions on yesterday's Sunday Morning Live. The three studio guests joining presenter Susanna Reid were John Amaechi, Rosie Millard and Aric Sigman. Aric Sigman is primarily known for his outspoken views on kids watching TV. Adam Fleming reported Sigman's ideas about kids watching too much TV for Newsround on 19 February 2007.

The last discussion topic on Sunday Morning Live yesterday was about stoning women in Iran -

Susanna Reid: Are we right to meddle in Iran's decision to stone a woman for adultery? Is it any of our business?

The question was as crass as asking whether or not gay people should be killed. Nevertheless, and despite its appalling reputation on human rights, Iran did pick up some support from one of the programme's guests who had visited the country -

Aric Sigman: One of the kindest cultures, who are terribly kind to children. You never see that on the news. We only see the extreme things. But aside from that, this is really a question about moral imperialism. I think we should obviously protest, but that's very different from expecting them to conform to the way that we do things.

Friday, September 03, 2010

No way was Newsround ever going to report the recent news about William Hague and his friend/advisor, Christopher Myers. But by Wednesday the BBC and the mainstream press could no longer avoid the story. Mr Hague issued a personal statement denying that he'd ever had a relationship with Mr Myers or any man, and informing us that Christopher Myers had wanted to resign because of the pressure on his family.

BBC news reports that day talked in terms of "slurs," "untrue and malicious allegations," and an "improper relationship" between the two men. On hearing the BBC reports many would have taken the suggestion of Hague's homosexuality itself as the slur, and that would especially be true with those unfamiliar with the standards of propriety expected of government ministers.

Unfortunately the total lack of CBBC dramas which involve gay characters and storylines will make kids likely to have picked up on this homophobic aspect of the news.

Perhaps a more diverse-friendly CBBC, with children's dramas having occasional stories along the lines of Sophie and Sian's relationship on Corrie, would help kids (and William Hague) understand that being gay is not unusual, nor anything to be ashamed about.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Regular readers will know that this blogger supports the principles of diversity and inclusiveness. You may also have gleaned that I believe in treating kids with the respect that all human beings deserve. And this is not just a theoretical notion. Take a careful look at my blogs of Saturday April 10th and Tuesday April 13th. You'll appreciate that Newsround should always be careful how it treats kids .....but should have been assiduous having regard to the views of those kids in Liverpool, at a time when it was specifically trying to let kids 'have your say' during the 2010 general election campaign.

It's clear that Newsround's 2010 general election consultation exercise came pretty low down on Hart's Ladder of Participation - perhaps rungs 2 to 3 at most. In general The BBC doesn't treat kids with the appropriate level of respect.

A coalition called 'ROCK' is working towards incorporating the UN Convention on children's rights into UK law. And as I blogged here August 12th 2010 marked the start of the International Year of Youth 2010. Last week the World Youth Conference 2010 was held in Léon Mexico (Twitter). From reports it seems that locals in Mexico treated youth delegates from around the world in a similar condescending way to how Newsround treats kids.

A note on terminology - Children are people under 18. By a common convention 'adolescent' refers to any individual aged between 10-19 years; 'young person' refers to any individual between 10-24 years; and 'youth' to people between the ages of 15 and 24 years.