>> Overview TelevIZIon
Every child is unique and valuable. Regardless of gender,
skin colour and facial features, level of ability/disability,
and parental wealth. The reality of children’s television
does not reflect this. Male characters play the main role
twice as often as female characters; ¾ of the characters
are white Caucasian, and disabilities and chronic illnesses
hardly ever feature.
There are exceptions: programmes which are not just about
beautiful, able-bodied, rich white people. But these are few,
and even here we need to take a close and critical look, so
as not to stop at “superficial diversity” (Schlote/Otremba).
The challenge here is to recognize both the opportunities
and the problems presented by globalization (McMillin).
In order to understand the significance of television, it is
vital to put ourselves in the position of the audience, to
understand how families from migrant backgrounds use
television to structure their everyday lives (Elias/Lemish)
and how children from diverse ethnic backgrounds involve
television characters in their processes of identity construction
(Hains/Puritz Cook, Götz). It quickly becomes clear
how complex the processes are and how differently every
individual deals with media. But even if children use television
and make it their own in different, individual ways,
there is no overlooking the fact that it offers some children
more points of contact than others. And if girls in China,
India, South Africa or Fiji cannot imagine themselves as
princesses because they are “too dark” or not good enough,
then it is worth asking critically whether we are really
our children the right kind of television (Nastasia/
What do we offer children to help them value themselves,
their families and their cultures? What do we offer children
who have to live and work in conditions below the poverty
line (Rashdi/Khooharo/Memon)? Where is the theme of
disability and chronic illness dealt with in such a way that
those children affected can derive strength from it, and less
affected children can understand the contexts and see the
person, not just the disability?
This issue of TelevIZIon brings together the latest research
findings and uses information and reception studies to suggest
ways to increase diversity in children’s television.
Head of the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television
Elke Schlote/Katrin Otremba
Cultural diversity in children’s TV
Media analyses of international and
children’s TV show that there is
still ample room for “diverse” characters
and stories. Children experience diversity
in their daily lives. They should find this
local diversity reflected on television.
Nelly Elias/Dafna Lemish
Media, migration experience
TV and Internet are used by children and
teenagers of Russian descent and their
families to cope with the task of integration
in Germany and Israel; they offer
a safe arena to strengthen family ties
and constitute a means of linguistic and
orientation in the new country.
Black, white, or Turkish?
Children and young people of specific
ethnicity look for characters who are
similar to themselves, such as when,
for example, this particular ethnicity is
problematised by society. Such characters
must engage positively with this issue.
Divya C. McMillin
Media globalization and diversity
An increasing accessibility to TV has led
to program cloning and copying but also
to a development of new formats. The
questions are: Does media globalization
constrain the representation of diversity?
Will TV consumers in future only be
exposed to “universalized” images?
How can diversity in representation be
S. Rashdi/A. Khooharo/R. Memon
Working children and TV in Pakistan
In Sindh, Pakistan, 300 working children
in different occupations were interviewed
about their TV use.
Stephanie Hemelryk Donald/Fiona Martin
Young people and social media
This study analysed one type of online
self-imaging, the ubiquitous profile icon,
to see how 12- to 15-year-olds represent
themselves visually and what cultural
markers they employ.
Rebecca C. Hains/Judi Puritz Cook
“There’s not going to be any more
How do girls with migration background
use media culture to negotiate female
identity? Few have considered how multicultural
middle class girls grapple with
Diana Nastasia/Charu Uppal
TV princesses in the eyes of Western
and non-Western girls
This comparative, qualitative study investigates
how girls from different Western
and non-Western countries perceive
new “exotic”, “multi-
South African girls’ imagined
A study inquired the impact of media
roles onto girl children’s construction
of heroines and investigated further
Culture and conflict
Conflict is produced at all levels of social
life, in all cultures, and managed in
many diverse ways. Accordingly, there
and authenticity in presenting
conflict from a cross-cultural perspective
that makes it an essential element in all
genres of television productions for children,
as well as adults, across the world.
Adelaida Trujillo/Katharina Albert
Shalom M. Fisch et al.
This international study on Sesame Workshop’s
multi-media project Panwapa was
conducted with 4- to 7-year-olds in the
US, China, Mexico and Egypt.
Elke Schlote/Matthias Schreiner
Teens, sexual diversity and TV
One dimension of diversity is sexual
diversity, e.g. same-sex attraction. This
article argues that, although being an
intimate issue, we should bring it up in
quality TV. Findings from a study with
teens on 2 PRIX JEUNESSE INTERNATIONAL
programmes with gay protagonists
give insights into reception.
Elke Schlote/Matthias Schreiner
Meet the “Children of the World”
Interviews with 9 TV experts
Different ways to achieve diversity
around the world
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