Support for Paris

20130411-205954.jpgIf every stupid thing I’d said when I was 15 was public, there would be plenty to hound me out of a job on I can assure you. Because I was young, a little cocky and insecure, and working out my identity and how I interact with others. I hope I never did anything malicious or aggressive but to be honest I can’t promise that. I was 15.

Being a teenager is about working out who you are in the world – where you fit, what you believe in and how the rest of the world will see you – and within that young people need the space to make mistakes and learn from them.

The example of Paris Brown is upsetting for me; not least because of her personal situation but because the outcry about it has undermined what was essentially a brilliant and progressive idea; to trust and employ a young person in a senior public position.

I’m not condoning what she said on Twitter – and think in general young people should take responsibility for their actions and the impact they have on others. But if you watched London Youth’s Secret Millions episode on Channel 4 a few weeks ago, did you think that David and Prince shouldn’t have been given the chance to change because of previous gang involvement? That would clearly have been a ridiculous stance. And yet this is essentially what Paris has been cursed with.

Teachers, parents and youth workers up and down the country spend their lives supporting and challenging young people to make good decisions. But young people will always make mistakes (as will adults for that matter).

The youth sector have a role to play in supporting young people to understand the public permanent nature of social media – but we also need to be assertive with the adult world to allow young people to make mistakes and learn from them.

To catch-up on The Secret Millions follow the link below:


About RosieFerguson

Rosie is Chief Executive of London Youth. She was previously part of London Youth’s Senior Team as Operations Director with responsibility for Quality Standards, Training, Sports Development, Youth Action and Leadership and Woodrow High House. Rosie joined London Youth in 2005 and pioneered our Youth Action programmes and Youth Advisory Board, Dare London. Before that she was working for the British Council. Rosie is a trustee of the Glass House Community-led Design and of UKYouth. She has a Masters in Voluntary Sector Management, a Diploma in Charity Accounting and a BA from Goldsmiths College. Rosie has been active in youth leadership roles for as long as she can remember. She was previously Chair of UNA Exchange, an international volunteering organisation and also lived for six months learning Russian in Moscow. Originally from the north-west, Rosie now lives in Bethnal Green. When not working she can be found road-tripping cross continents or, closer to home, watching Eastenders and dancing to The Smiths. You can also find Rosie on twitter as @Rosie_Ferg.
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