Ofcom directed a study to find out just how much children’s programmes are important to the way youngsters learn and just how much it harms or improves their growing up experience. Does watching the telly on a regular basis harm how kids learn? Or is it merely another learning tool to help them grow up to be successful adults? What exactly is the importance of television in children’s lives?
Those questions were running through my mind as I sat in a gorgeous hotel just off the Charing Cross tube stop, on White Palace Lane. Experts from the BBC and other children’s programmes gathered to discuss these questions and explain how they fell about the situations facing children’s programming.
So what exactly did this panel of experts believe children’s programming did to help kids out with life? They believed that it helped them to build a foundation, give them ideas and beliefs to use in the future, and make life better for them in the long run. In England, 5 of the top 10 children’s shows are public service programmes. Meaning, it teaches kids about different things that trouble society, whether it is other kids with learning disabilities or learning things about their city. England kid’s shows have a tendency (unlike American shows) to show real life kids, in real life situations that help other kids learn to be more excepting. Hint hint America, this is a GOOD THING.
Of course it is not ALL seriousness when it comes to English children’s programmes. Peppa Pig is a kid’s show that many young ones love to watch. I have even seen a few episodes myself and it is not even an American based kids show.
Studies showed that on a daily basis, 95% of kids ages 5-15 watch the telly. That means A LOT of television shows are being scene. Which leads to the next topic. What is appropriate for the kids? The experts say to teach your children when to say “no” to TV is a good thing…and that to monitor what they watch, don’t allow them to have a television in their rooms (which the study shows that almost 60% of kids age 5-15 mainly watch TV in their bedrooms).
The experts stressed that television, especially children’s programming, is meant for kids to watch with their parents. It is meant to bring families together and have something where the kids can talk to their parents and friends about to keep the sharing aspect of the relationships going strong. Kind of like the “water cooler” effect. Giving kids something light and fun to talk with their parents about rather than keeping everything to themselves. Nice thought right?
All in all, I believe what I got from this discussion panel was that TV is important for kids growing up. It gives them something to discuss and make friends, as well as start sharing things with their parents, siblings, and other family members. I think the UK entertainment system is on to something with their ideas in why the telly is important and that kids should not watch TV in their rooms, but with their families.
Nothing like watching a good kids show and chatting it away with your friends the next day. Good times.