9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Citizenship and Participation Building II, C6.02

Children's Programming: what children might expect from television

This paper aims to present the main results of a research project carried out at the Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho. The research consists of a comparative analysis of the programming for children broadcasted by the four Portuguese terrestrial channels (RTP1, RTP2, SIC and TVI) over the course of a year (October 2007 - September 2008) and aims to identify the main trends in children's programming.
The study is based on two important pieces of evidence which justify the importance of its execution: (a) several national and international studies on the relationship between young people and the media show that, in spite of the changes that have occurred in the media field, television continues to play an important role in children's everyday lives, being an important learning resource and a vehicle for contact with the surrounding world; (b) television broadcasters have responsibilities towards children. This statement is reflected in certain decisions and obligations which have become laws (Portuguese and European broadcasting laws).
This paper aims to present data resulting from the analysis of television schedules for children in terms of broadcasting hours, slots, programme genre, format, programmes' themes/contents, countries of origin and target audience. We will also discuss the data coming from the qualitative analysis of the ten children programmes most preferred by this audience. This analysis allowed to identify the ingredients that a programme must have to captivate children's interest and attention.
In the light of this data, we intend to examine what children might expect from television and in what extent TV can meet children?s needs, mainly of those who have no access to cable TV and, consequently, to dedicated channels.
This discussion will be complemented by the results of other research project about children's perceptions regarding the television programmes broadcasted for them. This second study was conducted with 6-10 years old primary school students of the district of Braga (North of Portugal) and the data was collected by focus groups interviews. One of its main purposes was to listen to children in order to understand what they think about their own "box".