Children being children: the value of an importance filter

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Sargeant, Jonathon. (2007). Children being children: the value of an importance filter. Journal of Student Wellbeing, Vol. 1, Iss. 1, pp. 15-30.

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Copyright ©University of South Australia, 2007.


The perspectives of young children are of considerable interest to the community yet remain largely misunderstood. In this paper I posits that children are optimistic and have a deeper understanding of global, local, and social issues than was previously thought. This study challenges the notion that children are either adversely affected by knowledge or ignorant of global issues outside their control. The effects of external media and the reputed social decay of society, and the pessimistic worldview reportedly held by young children are questioned. In acknowledging children’s understanding of key issues, this research shows that children engage in an internal metacognitive processing of information that allows them to maintain their optimism. This paper introduces the concept of an ‘importance filter’, an internal information processing mechanism that assists children to make sense of their world.