• Media Heroes as Companions

    Children aged 3-6 face some challenges in coping with various developmental tasks . Therefore, they look for support, guidance, and information in their living world. Here the support of ECEC professionals and the family is important . On the other hand, heroes from books, television and audio plays can also support and accompany children in coping with their personal development.

    Children are particularly fond of watching characters in activities that they have only recently learned themselves or where they still have difficulties. This way they can get confirmation or inspiration for their own actions. Media characters can provide orientation and inspiration for the developmental tasks (for example):

    Developmental process in children aged 0-7

    The age-related information should give orientation and should not be perceived as a rigid category.

    If media characters have very clichéd character traits, experimenting with basic critical thinking can help you work on the topic. This can be especially exciting for children between the ages of three and six. Ask children questions such as: What would the plot of the story look like if the brave and cool prince also had a sensitive side and the tender and vulnerable princess was very strong? Role play is also a good way to illustrate such ideas.

    In addition to the developmental tasks for children between the ages of three and six, children encounter different tasks and demands in the different areas of everyday life, such as in kindergarten, in a group of peers, or in the family. These include getting to know:

    • social structures, which can differ from situation to situation,
    • negative and positive reactions regarding one's own behaviour,
    • differences in experience and knowledge in relation to other children or adults,
    • different possibilities and forms of action for adults with a role model function (e.g. ECEC professionals or parents),
    • rules of social cooperation which children must follow or negotiate (e.g. in relation to their peers).

    Therefore, they use media heroes as a source of information about social behaviour, the development of gender roles and relationships with peers.

    The different roles and behavioural patterns that emerge through media heroes support the children’s ability to develop their own standards and values through rejection or approval.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. What role do heroes from books, television and audio programmes play in children’s life?

    2. At what age are the children able to recognise simple causality?

    3. At what age are the children able to make simple moral distinctions?

    4. At what age do the children develop self-awareness?