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Television kills the imagination,
according to common theory on the relationship between children
and TV. But the creation of new from already existing things
(Gruber) and the ability to form mental images is innate (Etienne
Klemm). Fantasy is stimulated when experiences and emotions
are struck, resulting in accommodating gaps. In the medium
of the book they are doubtless mainly visual. By comparison,
television seems to supply "everything" and to occupy
the kids' fantasy on a one-to-one basis. The links are in
fact far more complex, as illustrated by the articles written
by psychologists, educational scientists and those occupying
responsible positions in production.
(Children's) television can open up gaps for the development
of fantasy, which is corroborated in theory and revealed in
practise by their essays (e.g. Neuss). In order to comprehend
these links, we have to observe children more sensitively
and allow ourselves to get involved in their worlds. For then
we find ourselves confronted with the kids' invisible friends,
who may be called Ernie from "Sesame Street", for
example (Taylor). Violence can also be found in children's
fantasies, however, they interpret it in their own special
way (Jones). The kids' fantasy is not destroyed by television,
but there are visible links. Two thirds of the nigh on 200
"big daydreams" of 8- to 9-year-olds, ascertained
in the international IZI study, reveal media traces on - but
mainly from the leading medium of television. Children are
thus not defenceless victims but include parts of television
in the mental or inner images. For those active in the field
of television this means considerable responsibility and a
great challenge. Research supporting programme production
(Singer, Rogge) can provide significant information. The ways
editorial staff approach this responsibility, how they attempt
to involve and initiate fantasies, and where they see the
limits are expressed in this volume on the subject of "Children's
fantasies and television".
Head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television
CHILDREN'S FANTASIES AND TELEVISION
much fantasy does the future need?
Fantasy is the power to create new things from existing
things. This is an ability future generations will urgently
need. Public broadcasting corporations must take the responsibility
for our children seriously and support their imagination
Ruth Etienne Klemm
formation of inner pictures - An overview
Inner pictures arise from experience; they are always connected
to emotions and closely linked to interactions. The ability
to "image" is innate and begins in babyhood. Hence
television does not have the power to "out-image"
children, but it does have a high level of responsibility
for providing supportive and not obstructive images.
Children invent fantasy companions that assume a whole variety
of forms, ranging from children, animals, and ghosts to
even droll characters such as the "Butcher Shop Guy"
or a 160-year-old commercial traveller. The kids really
enjoy these active "pretend plays". They experience
no loss of contact with reality, but enrich their everyday
lives as a result.
Nu-Nu meets Power Ranger Po
Adults are often concerned about violence and violent media
heroes in children's role play. But seen from the children's
perspective, play fighting is not automatically to be equated
with real agression.
of fighting and fighters
One of the current trends in children's culture is Dragon
Ball Z. Boys are fascinated by the characters, by their
strength and invulnerability. They integrate the series
into their fantasies in order to feel more secure or to
be able to control themselves better, but also for reasons
for fantasy in children's films - Television and the aesthetic
Gaps for fantasy are created not only in books but also
in art as well as the television film. They are produced
in the gaps that stimulate activity on the part of the recipients/viewers.
These gaps can be created deliberately, for instance, by
means of metaphors, symbols, direct mode-of-address, a feeling
of togetherness, or abilities conducive to fantasy.
Maya Goetz, Dafna Lemish, Amy
Aidman, Hyesung Moon
role of media in children's make-believe worlds
Children seem to have quite similar make-believe worlds
across cultural borders. Television plays a significant
role in many fantasies, but only certain parts attractive
for children are extracted. They serve to symbolize experience,
to further the self-image and promote communication.
fantasies and programming
Statements from the staff responsible on the opportunities
of involving children's fantasies in their TV programme
Fantastic Film Factory. Children's TV stories
In the Fantastic Film Factory, a campaign launched
by Disney Channel, children wrote the stories themselves.
The stories are powerful, frequently the product of the
kids' direct environment. They are about experiences in
everyday life, they do not shrink from conflicts and disputes,
but they always have a happy end.
that! The importance of fantasy on "Sesame Street"
co-productions around the world
Sesame Street deliberately tries to promote the
kids' powers of imagination; it intentionally offers gaps
for stimulating the imagination and promoting "pretend
plays" as well as creative fantasies.
Jan Uwe Rogge
emotion and cognition in "Sesame Street" - Notes
on the framework stories
Children have a magical-fantastical interpretation of
reality. They like simple, clear stories featuring fairy-tale
elements that they can occupy with their imagination. A
reception study on Sesamstraße discovered this
particularly in the case of the Muppet stories and the character
Pepe. In several one-off films the kids felt they had not
been taken seriously, however.
Dorothy G. Singer
and its potential for imagination
Television can stimulate imaginative play and it can
be a wonderful teacher when it considers the possibilities
and prerequisites of children. Many years of research have
produced important evidence for this.
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