From oct 2010 my educational posts are published only on Pip

13 apr. 2011

iCarly vs. Shaun the Sheep

Swedish kids younger than 7 years old are devoted to public service children’s TV-channel. There is not really any competition. The public service is the only provider of programs for children from 6 am to 8 pm in Swedish. Other Swedish channels broadcast programs for children an hour at most in the morning and one in the evening. Then there is Nickelodeon and Disney Channel dubbed to Swedish and broadcasting all day, BUT with commercial breaks and other hidden agendas.

Swedish parents choose public service for their kids, produced especially with Swedish children… and Swedish parents in mind. I do, and everyone I know do too. Overall this means programs that are for example gender neutral and diverse and that we think are suitable for kids. There is obviously a gap in the commercial alternatives and what parents want for their kids that public service fills up.

When the kids turn 7 they get the power to choose themselves, and most often they switch channel to Nickelodeon. They think of public service as fun and exciting, while Nickelodeon is considered to be more cool (though also fun and exciting). I’m not sure this tells me very much. Kids say that any program they watch is fun, no matter what the content is.

I tried at home to ask my Nickelodeon watching 7-year old girl to explain why she prefers Nickelodeon. My personal guess is that it presents cool girls and boys (not grown ups, but not kids) and their social relations. It has some sort of romance and what to come mystery about it. I cannot come to think of any specific word that would represent all this to a 7-year old girl and my test object replies – because it’s more fun. It is also self-chosen and completely free from obligations and expectations. Is it fun only maybe?

Then I try ‘What’s the most fun program on the public service channel?’. ‘Shaun the sheep’ she answers and in that battle iCarly is apparently the winner.

My 9-year old has left TV completely since about a year. It’s all the Sims, and Stardoll to her. And to her friends. They are not interacting online yet, but they play it together either several girls by the same computer or via phone. Yet most of the hours she spends alone decorating her virtual suit or creating a movie.

With the immense and immediate popularity of iPad and iPhone amongst very young children the commercial opportunities within the edutainment business is growing fast. Finally we see high quality both fun and educational productions for kids available at very small costs. How much timespent will these alternatives steal from traditional TV for the younger children? How will the needs for and requirements on public service change with that? And the older kids, will they ever return from the computer?

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar