Growing Up Globally

Posted on: Friday 02 July 2010 4:26am

Is it different now? Is it different elsewhere? An international snapshot of children’s development and behaviour today.

Moderator: Gary Pope, Director, Kids Industries


Stacey Matthias, Partner, Insight Research Group

Frank Klasen, Programme Strategy, Children’s Department, Super RTL

Christopher Skala, SVP Original Programming, HIT Entertainment

Now, more than ever, screen time is impacting on how children experience the world. Stacey Matthias (Insight Kids) spoke about her research with more than 6,000 children around the world, and the implications of her findings for producers.

Using the milestones of 4, 7 and 11, Stacey looked at the social-emotional, cognitive and physical development of children, pointing out that as content producers, we provide structure and positive reinforcement in addition to what kids get from their parents and care-givers.

Children grow up in a social and cultural context, with parental values and norms differing across the globe. It can benefit producers if they understand these. For example, those trying to enter the Japanese market should be aware that programmes that expose children to English are more popular with parents.

For some producers, cultural differences are more important for the older demographic. They discount cultural differences as much as possible when making programming for the preschool audience, which allows the creation of global products. One brand that is quintessentially English, but which has managed to conquer most of the world, is Thomas the Tank Engine. A figure that has for many, become part of growing up, Thomas is an iconic image of global childhood.

Global media can help children connect in a rapidly expanding world, providing links between a child in Japan and a child in London, signalling that maybe we’re not so different after all.

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