A Dialogue on Children's Television

Communication Research Trends, September 2012 | Go to article overview

A Dialogue on Children's Television


Editor's Introduction

This issue of Trends returns to the theme of children's televsion, but rather than publishing a review of current research, it seeks to engage in a dialogue among researchers around the world and encourage a similar dialogue with its readers. What kinds of recommendations for children's television might come out of what researchers have learned about children and television? What should governments do, for example, to enrich the educational experience of children?

Valerio Fuenzalida, a professor in the Faculty of Communications at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago prompted this dialogue with the paper, "The Cultural Opportunity of Children's Television: Public Policies in Digital Television," reprinted here as the first effort in our dialogue. He first presented this text at the Seminar on "Culture, Development and Diversity from the Perspective of Public Policy" organized by UNESCO in November 2010 in Montevideo, Uruguay. A print version appeared in Portuguese under the title "Politicas Publicas no ambiente televisivo digital" in Revista Matrizes (Vol. 4, No. 2, 2011, pp. 141-163), Revista do Programa de Pos-Graduacao em Ciencias da Comunicacao da Universidade de Sao Paulo. Brasil (see http://www.matrizes.usp.br/ojs/index.php/matrizes).

Fuenzalida argues that Latin American governments should take advantage of new developments in digital broadcasting to offer children's television programs, particularly those programs that take advantage of new research into how children learn. Much recent work has explored emotional learning, which Fuenzalida discusses under to heading of the "ludic imagination." He sees this kind of learning as especially important for young children (under 10 years of age) and for children from disadvantaged homes. He argues that well developed programming, delivered on digital broadcast channels would benefit young students as a supplement to their formal schools. The use of open channels would make such programs readily available.

Professor Ulrika Sjoberg serves as an Associate professor of Media and Communications at The School of Arts and Communication of Malmo University, Sweden. In her response she argues that television (and by extension various screen technologies for children) can play a role in social change. …

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