Young children – they are becoming
increasingly rare in highly-developed societies and perhaps for
this very reason also give rise to irrational public discussions.
When the "Teletubbies" were first broadcast in the United Kingdom
in March 1997 a storm of indignation went through the press and
continued in all the countries in which this television series,
so popular with children, was shown. The main criticism was directed
against television programmes being produced for infants at all,
against the simplicity of the "Teletubbies", the language they used
and worldwide merchandising.
What is the reason for that? This programme
format is new. That, as we know, terrifies adults, as anything new
in any area of life is frightening at first, and here we are dealing
with young children whose need for protection is not questioned.
What is indispensable for the development of pre-school children
is described in this journal by the paediatrician and psychiatrist
Nikolaus von Hofacker. His assessments and demands are certainly
compatible with the findings of the IZI Study from the perspective
of modern (media) childhood. It may be underestimated that precisely
infants, who are especially protected or encouraged, take pleasure
in the "Teletubbies". A mother from Israel, a participant in a relevant
study (Lemisch and Tidhar), explains it in this way: "The "Teletubbies"
simply entertains the children a bit; the programme is on their
level and does not just drive and push them ahead, for that, of
course, is something we are doing all the time with them: pushing,
pushing, pushing them on..."
It is odd: we have fewer and fewer children,
but the pressure of expectation which parents and other adults place
on them has risen noticeably in recent years, and it is beginning
at an ever earlier age. Well-made television programmes therefore
have every chance of making everyday life somewhat easier - and
more cheerful - for young and very young viewers.
don't work without breaking taboos
Interview with Albert Schäfer, the head of the ARD/ZDF Children's
The young children's series "Teletubbies" has given the German
ARD/ZDF Children's Channel (Der Kinderkanal), too, a sense
of greater achievement. This is helping it to establish itself
as a haven for public service children's television.
Blurring the boundaries
"Teletubbies" and children's media today.
It is not easy to find out what children get from their
"Teletubbies", even though the series has become so successful
internationally. Adolescents and many adults as well seem to view
the programme in search of their lost childhood.
Not without research!
The "Teletubbies" in Norway!
Research findings that would allow the "Teletubbies" to be objectively
assessed are not yet available in the Scandinavian countries –
but they are urgently required.
Anne M. White
To be blamed: The
Press in Britain
In Britain the newspapers, among others, have made the "Teletubbies"
well known. There has been hardly any coverage of the television
series itself, but a lot of hype, hysteria and hearsay has been
Sue Howard and Susan Roberts
under: The Australian experience
Many newspapers in Australia – as in other countries – have linked
the "Teletubbies" with homosexuality, drug abuse and suchlike,
without any proof whatsoever. The first findings of a study, however,
Under fire from American
In the USA, too, the evaluation of the "Teletubbies" suffers from
a lack of research data and premature negative criticism.
Nikolaus von Hofacker
The first years
In the course of complex early childhood development processes
the "Teletubbies" can be a help and fun for young children.
Learning to speak,
read and write with the "Teletubbies"
The UK experience.
As many children from different social groups know and like the
"Teletubbies", this series can be an incentive to learn how to
read and write in pre-school classes and kindergartens.
TV in Australian
Television programmes for children that support their development
are positively assessed in Australia – the "Teletubbies" is not
one of these.
Dafna Lemish and Chava E. Tidhar
Mothers close to
An Israelian case study.
In Israel it is especially mothers from the middle class who appreciate
the "Teletubbies" and have no qualms about letting their children
watch this series.
Claudia Höller and Sabine Müller
"Eh-Oh - it's Teletubby
The results of a qualitative study in Germany.
No problems are to be expected from the "Teletubbies". Bur children
should be given a chance to move and express themselves during
and after the broadcast.
The "Teletubbies" in
The "Teletubbies" seems less suited to answering why-questions.
Children are enchanted,
Research findings from Germany reflect a world-wide trend: children
have fun with the "Teletubbies" and their parents have problems
with this new porgramme format.
WORLD OF THE "TELETUBBIES"
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