Responsible content for children is the future of engagement3 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
I’ve always been fascinated about writing for a young audience. As a kid, i grew up reading Tinkle, Chandamama, Chacha Chowdry and Billu, all of which I would pile into my hands from a railway book vendor to catch up on journeys to Coimbatore and Calcutta to visit cousins during summer holidays. I loved and reread these books endlessly, interspersing them with others like goosebumps and Harry Potter from a neighbourhood lending library as I grew up. And the reason I still remember these books and even individual titles as clear as day is because of the simplicity of their stories (albeit Harry Potter. There’s nothing simple about that plotline!)
It might be, although i’m not so sure anymore, just slightly easier to achieve this with fiction. But how do you create simple and responsible content for children with news in today’s world? Kids have access to a multitude of devices where information is often thrown at them from every direction. And this is apart from school and the regular rigors of that life. How can we create a news magazine for kids that simple, responsible, and positive?
The first time I tackled this problem was when I worked part-time as a coordinator for an online children’s news magazine a decade ago when I was still in college. The person who ran this website had an interesting thought; to make kids themselves write the stories so that they are relatable and relevant. This was a great success and continues to work as a sustainable model.
But what about international news that kids can’t observe and write about? What about politics and economics and all those boring things that are still necessary for them to know about? How do you make these things positive, unpolarized and still informative? That’s when we created Owliver’s Post, a news magazine for young readers between the ages 8-14 years.
Owliver’s is a place where all news is turned on its head and broken down into simple, understandable bits of information. Here, news is mostly positive (did you know that this lady has 8,000 unusual children? Or that there are cells in your brain that preserve memories?) and peppered with facts that are interesting (and often wacky). Of course, we love staying in touch with our childhood as a team, so we often indulge in puzzles, jokes, riddles, jigsaws, and other games in the articles themselves. For example, this article on the research behind the first animal driven to extinction by humans begins and ends with puzzles. This one, on the environment being at the mercy of the world’s richest banks, has a crossword to help you know nature better.
At Owliver’s, original and good content is a priority, so we even created our own in-house comic! Mani and Mini are two friends who walk through life together and their ponderous and often hilarious conversations are the subjective of this comic. Although we cater mainly to middle-school goers (students of classes 4 until class 9), I believe Owliver’s is for everyone! It’s a positive space where anyone can engage with good content.
So, what are you waiting for? Let the reading begin.