More Proof That Kids Can Change the World

Know a young person who is passionate about social justice—who is eager to make the world a better place, starting right now? 

Let that young person know about Amnesty International Canada’s Lifesavers program: a free monthly action program for kids age 9 and up that involves writing letters on behalf of an individual or group whose human rights are in jeopardy.  

Recent Lifesaver actions have offered support to


If those monthly calls to action appear to be written in a way that resonates with kids, it’s for certainly good reason.  Amnesty International Canada has a volunteer team of three young editors (they’re each ten years old) helping to craft the messages. Their job is to ensure that each Lifesaver is written in a way that will make sense to kids and inspire kids to want to take action. 

Liam Price-Savone, one of the young editors, explains: “Kids know kids. If I don’t understand something, maybe other kids won’t either. I like helping to find ways to explain what happened so that kids like me can understand….and then maybe want to do something to help too.”

Not surprisingly, the Lifesaver program has been embraced by kids from across the country, as well as their parents and teachers. It has also been used by adults in literacy programs and by students in English-as-a-second language classes, notes Marilyn McKim, the staff member responsible for the Urgent Action Network and Lifesaver Program. 

To find out more about the Lifesavers program—how your child or your class can become involved—please contact Marilyn McKim of Amnesty International Canada’s Urgent Action Office: or (416) 363-9933 extension #325.

Pinocchio Syndrome: What happens when parents lie to kids?

Veer Images: keng po leung

Veer Images: keng po leung

Children who are lied to are more likely to lie and cheat themselves. That's the word from researchers at the University of California at San Diego, who studied the effects of being lied to by an adult on a group of children, ages three through seven. They discovered that the children who were lied to by one of the researchers were more likely to lie and cheat themselves.

Lying to kids might seem like a convenient parenting shortcut -- a seemingly harmless way to get kids to do what you want them to do quickly and efficiently, but there are actually some hidden perils. If you think about it, you'll realize that it's actually a highly manipulative behaviour that can damage your relationship with your child (you risk having your child lose trust in you) and that can mess with your child's moral compass (that all-important inner voice that helps your child to figure out for herself what's right and what's wrong). 

A better approach (and one that will serve you better over the long run) is to be honest with your child. Sure, you may have to deal with a few more outbursts over the short-run as your child learns to work through his frustration over the issues of the day, but you'll be trading short-term pain for long-term gain. You'll be building up (rather than eroding) your relationship with your child and you'll be helping your child to develop a strong moral compass. Both you and your child will be much better off as a result. And that's no lie.