The power of a child’s voice in media today

Emma Cohen

For a long time, the power of media has been used by adults around the world to have their voices heard. In recent years, it has become more and more common for children and teens to voice their opinions as well. It isn’t uncommon to tune into your nightly news to be greeted by a teen voicing their opinion for people around the world to hear.

 The concept of someone under 18 having so much power with their words was almost unheard of until this decade. With the conclusion of the decade, children and teens now have role models their own age and the mentality that they can make an impact on the world they will be taking care of in the future.

In 2019, one of the biggest media influencers was a teen, Greta Thunberg. Her topic of “expertise” was something many people around the world were aware of, but once she spoke up and pushed it in peoples faces, they listened. The crisis of global warming has been creeping up on us for a long time and over the past few years its developments have made people, especially teens, more and more scared for their futures. Thunberg gave us a deadline and told us what we had to do to fix it before it was too late.

She came to the media with harsh statements, stating, “…I want you to act as if your house is on fire. Because it is.” with this, Thunberg induces adrenaline and fear in those who listen. She does this because she wants people to feel what she feels.

She isn’t the only one who has risen to power and made her voice heard. Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. She fought for women and girls to have the right to education. She was one of the biggest speakers of our decade, forcing people to listen and to care even if they didn’t at first.

Similar to Thunberg, Malala didn’t have a niche topic she wanted to raise awareness about. She was raising awareness for an issue the affected her daily life and the lives of girls around the world. She said, “I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls.” a huge issue was being overlooked and that was something she wouldn’t sit and watch.

Although these ladies, and many other teens, have used their voices to gain an audience, sometimes this isn’t enough. Thunberg has been receiving backlash since she began her strike for climate change and this backlash has evolved into bullying. Adults are poking fun at her and her Asperger’s syndrome, calling her, “deeply disturbed” or “mentally unwell”. the reason, psychologists believe, they’re so aggressive towards her “– a child in plaits – [is] because she is telling them what they do not want to hear.” (Drewett). 

Again, it didn’t start with Thunberg. In 2012, Malala was shot at 15 years old by a member of the Taliban. Malala also received a large amount of backlash and it all ended with this incident. Keeping in mind what had happened to her, it is frightening to think that the same could happen to other child advocates simply due to the idea that adults don’t want to hear what they have to say.

Both of these girls have fought for their rights and the rights of the people around them. No matter what people say or think of the youth, we will continue to make our voices heard and fight for the future that is waiting for us. We are the leaders of our future, but nothing more. Thunberg keeps her youth as who she is and doesn’t want to become something greater. She has always said that she is an advocate just like the rest of us. “I don’t see myself as a leader, or icon, or the face of a movement.” (Thunberg).


Work Cited

“25 Of Greta Thunberg’s Best Quotes – Climate Change.” 25 Of Greta Thunberg’s Best Quotes,

ALTER, CHARLOTTE. “Greta Thunberg: TIME’s Person of the Year 2019.” Time, Time, 2019,

Drewett, Zoe. “Why Some People Hate Greta Thunberg so Much.” Metro,, 4 Oct. 2019,

Goalcasthttp. “Top 12 Most Inspiring Malala Yousafzai Quotes.” Goalcast, 1 Nov. 2019,

“Greta Thunberg Quotes: 10 Famous Lines from Teen Activist – CBBC Newsround.” BBC News, BBC, 25 Sept. 2019,