“The disapprobation expressed by adults for tweets sent two years before Paris Brown was appointed to Youth Commissioner and that led to her resignation is not only hypocritical, but dangerous if we want young people to be part of the society in which they live.
“Understanding the world of young people is only possible if there is insight into their perspectives and constructions. Without their active involvement this is difficult to achieve.
“It has been argued that children and young people are a marginal group with little power whose realities have been unrecognised and whose competencies are discouraged.
“Those who are ‘different’ because of ethnic origin, migrant status, physical or learning impairments are even more marginal.
“Their experiences and perspectives are not only different but can go unrecognised with devastating consequences, as the recent and ongoing child sex abuse scandals have shown.
“International conventions, such as the UNCRC (1989), and our own domestic legislation recognise the rights of the young to participate in decisions about their own lives.
“There is increasing evidence to show that such involvement is possible and furthermore highly effective. It is ironic, therefore, that whilst the opinions of young people are disregarded about matters that concern them, positive attention comes from the commercial sector, as young people are an important group of consumers.
“Sadly the response to the Youth Commissioner highlights the main desire of powerful adults to criticise and marginalise young people if profit is not involved.
“Without a receptive attitude by adults, constructive dialogue cannot take place.
“In the absence of this dialogue our young people will be further alienated from the society in which we all live.”