Description: It is old news now, but do you recall any of the fuss about the Teletubbies TV show? When it first arrive to North American TV screens in 1997 there was an intense storm of media discussion about how very young children (2 and even younger) loved it and parents were perplexed as they found it difficult to watch (and stay awake in front of). There were concerns about the appropriateness of a show aimed at such a young audience. It was basically the first to do so. I was asked to do a number of media interviews (me being a developmental Psychologist and all) about the show and about its huge success in the UK prior to its North American release. The key to understanding what was going on with Teletubbies and with the shows that have follow it is that is was designed based on understandings of how young children see the world and the reason parents have trouble watching the show or seeing it as entertaining at all is that they do not see the world in the same ways that their young children see the world. Think about what those differences might involve and then read the article linked below to see what has gone in to developing and understanding of how early preschoolers see the world and, based on that, what sorts of television experiences best engage them.
Source: This is why children’s TV is so weird – and so mesmerizing, Linda Geddes, Mosaic.
Date: Dec 3, 2019.
Photo Credit: Andrea D’Aqjuino / Mosaic
SO, did it surprise you to learn that SpongeBob Square Pants temporarily messes with executive function? Quite apart from questions of whether programs aimed at 1 to 2-year-olds are good or bad for them (through they seem developmentally good in small amounts) shows aimed at your children provide opportunities for adults, and for parents in particular, to see and understand how differently their young children see the world – to see precisely where they are at developmentally. So, if you want to see how young children see the world, have a coffee and then watch an episode of Moon and Me or In the Night Garden or even Teletubbies. Better yet, watch a 1 to 2-year-old watch one of those shows (watch their eye movements and fixation points) to really see what engages them and through that what they are working in in the way of their developing understanding of the world.
Questions for Discussion:
- What are some of the features of television shows that seem to engage 1 to 2-year-olds?
- Should television shows be developed or tailored to the ways in which 1 to 2-year-olds see the world?
- How should parents of 1 to 2-year-olds manage or regulate the television viewing of their young children?
References (Read Further):
Marsh, J., Plowman, L., Yamada-Rice, D., Bishop, J. C., Lahmar, J., Scott, F., … & Thornhill, S. (2015). Exploring play and creativity in pre-schoolers’ use of apps: Final project report. Technology and Play. Retrieved from http://www. techandplay. org/reports/TAP_Final_Report. pdf. http://www.techandplay.org/TAP_Final%20Report.pdf
Marsh, J., Plowman, L., Yamada-Rice, D., Bishop, J., & Scott, F. (2016). Digital play: A new classification. Early Years, 36(3), 242-253. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09575146.2016.1167675
Yamada-Rice, D., Mushtaq, F., Woodgate, A., Bosmans, D., Douthwaite, A., Douthwaite, I., … & Milovidov, E. (2017). Children and virtual reality: Emerging possibilities and challenges. http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/3553/1/Yamada-Rice%20CVR%202017.pdf
Yamada-Rice, D. (2018). Licking planets and stomping on buildings: children’s interactions with curated spaces in virtual reality. Children’s Geographies, 16(5), 529-538. http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/3551/1/YamadaRice%20Licking%20Planets%20and%20Stomping%20on%20Buildings%202018.pdf
Marsh, J. (2000). Teletubby tales: Popular culture in the early years language and literacy curriculum. Contemporary issues in early childhood, 1(2), 119-133. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.2304/ciec.2000.1.2.2
Wass, S. V., & Smith, T. J. (2015). Visual motherese? Signal‐to‐noise ratios in toddler‐directed television. Developmental science, 18(1), 24-37. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/desc.12156