>> Overview TelevIZIon
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
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
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
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
"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.
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
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
Sue Howard and Susan Roberts
down 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, raise hopes.
fire from American programme criticism
In the USA, too, the evaluation of the "Teletubbies" suffers
from a lack of research data and premature negative criticism.
Nikolaus von Hofacker
first years of life
In the course of complex early childhood development processes
the "Teletubbies" can be a help and fun for young children.
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.
in Australian day-care centres
Television programmes for children that support their development
are positively assessed in Australia – the "Teletubbies"
is not one of these.
Dafna Lemish and Chava
close to life
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
- it's Teletubby time"
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.
"Teletubbies" in parent counseling
The "Teletubbies" seems less suited to answering why-questions.
are enchanted, parents concerned
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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