>> overview research
Religion in children's TV
For primary school children religion
is something important in that it gives them support and a
sense of direction, especially at an individual but also a
social level. On children's TV, however, this topic is hardly
Only sporadically are there any religious programmes for
children, e.g. cartoon stories such as Verbotene Geschichten
("Forbidden stories") (KI.KA/ZDF) or Geschichten
aus der Bibel("Stories from the Bible") (KI.KA)
as well as fictional reality series such as Vorsicht
keine Enge ("Beware! No angels"). The only
regular magazine programme for children on the topic of faith
is called Anschi und Karl-Heinz(Anschi and Karl-Heinz)
(KI.KA/ZDF) and can be found in a niche of educational television
by public service broadcasters: on BR-alpha. Considering what
is on offer, the results of this research are very rare in
this field. Here, the IZI-research project comes into operation
and undertakes exploratory studies on the following questions:
Do children consider programmes on religion attractive? (2003)
What do they like within these programmes and what is perceived
as boring? (2003)
How do children deal with the religious contents? (2004)
What contents do they take on board and how do they make
correlations to faith? (2004)
Besides advising the programme Anschi und Karl-Heinz,
in initial stages of this project, basic questions about the
reception and acquisition of religious contents as well as
the question of quality in religious programmes will be answered.
In the IZI or in religious education, children (groups of
ministrants) get to see two episodes of the programme Anschi
und Karl-Heinz that deal with the topics "confession"
and "baptism". Afterwards, they paint what they
liked and what they didn't like that much about the programmes.
Subsequently, they are interviewed about their paintings and
the programme in a problem-oriented way. Additionally, creative
methods such as the re-enactment of the plot and the religious
rituals with rag dolls are used. In this first exploratory
study that took place in spring 2003, 52 children from the
age of 6 to 11 were interviewed in this manner.
In religious education, children of the fourth grade saw
the episode Mehr oder Weniger ("More or less").
Then they painted on a sheet of paper whatever was new for
them or what had particularly moved them and on another one
what they liked or what they did not like that much. Afterwards,
they were interviewed about the paintings and the programme
in a problem-oriented way. The main emphasis was on comprehension
and their readings of the contents as well as the question
of what they gained from the contents and which kinds of correlations
they made with faith. For this second exploratory study in
the summer of 2004, in total 69 children of the age of 10
were interviewed, of which 49 children were taken into account
in the further evaluation.
The results were presented at the conference Was
ist Qualität? ("What is quality?") in
December 2005 in Munich.