Today Michael and I had to give a presentation about television in our childhood for our Digital Journalism class. Some of our fellow Basque students also had to make one, so we could compare our viewing habits with theirs.
Michael and I had a lot of fun making this presentation, because it actually brought us back to the time when we were little kids. We ended up watching short clips of our favorite shows from back then over and over again. In our presentation we talked among other things about Pipi Longstocking, Samson & Gert, David the Gnome, Tintin, Bassie and Adriaan,..
It was also very interesting to watch the presentations of the other students, this way we got a general image about the shows they liked to watch, and there were more similarities than I would have guessed. The Smurfs, David the Gnome and Pipi Longstocking seemed to have been quite popular here too. It’s a pity though that in the Basque Country the people know the comic books of Tintin, but they haven’t broadcasted the animated series.
What struck me about their presentations was that they used to watch a lot of Japanese shows, and less European series. They also had more programs about sports, while I can’t remember ever watching an animated show about sports. Although it wouldn’t be a bad idea to air more shows like that to encourage young children to go play outside and be fit.
One group talked about the concerns they have about tv-shows for children nowadays. They named programs like Bratz, Hannah Montana and High School Musical, and about the way it can influence the body image of kids. I don’t think it’s good to confront children every day with girls and boys who look like they’re ‘perfect’. Especially young girls are very sensitive nowadays about their appearance, and by watching shows like that, it will only get worse. When you’re still a child, you shouldn’t have a 15 year old bimbo as a role model.
On the other hand, good tv-shows can definitely contribute to the children’s education and the forming of their opinions. For instance, shows like Animals of the Farthing Woods and David the Gnome teach children that they should take care about the environment and to have respect for animals. Shows like Pippi Longstocking encourage children to have a lot of fantasy and to go play outside and look for adventure. And I don’t think shows like Bratz do that, they encourage girls to go to the mall, to put on make-up and act superficial.
That’s why I plea for more shows about real children who play and build tree houses, instead of talking about clothes and boys.