A Children’s Observatory of Television: «Observar TV», a Space for Dialogue between Children
Keywords:Children, television, media literacy, interactivity, critical capacity, imagery of citizenship, school
This paper presents the results of work on «Observar TV», a children’s observatory of television launched in the city of Barranquilla (Colombia) in which children participated as protagonists in research, training and spaces for dialogue centred on their observations of television broadcasts. The goals of the project included: 1) to ascertain the reflection and discussion of preferences and opinions (expressed by boys and girls) regarding television; 2) to identify and discuss their imagery around citizenship in relation to coexistence and peace, multiculturalism and democratic responsibility and participation; 3) to understand the development processes that contribute to the construction of their critical thinking abilities regarding television and its consumption; 4) to increase the visibility of children as active participants in setting the public agenda of their city. This study was developed using a participatory action research approach that employed qualitative methods (focus groups, workshops, and observations) for the simultaneous execution of three components: research, training, and visibility/interaction. The results demonstrate that the child participants displayed a critical attitude toward television and expressed their likes and dislikes regarding television content. The participants took up the challenge to discuss, transform, or reaffirm their imagery relating to citizenship and strengthened their capacities in language and communication. The children expressed the reflections that came up in the work of the observatory by participating in the television program «Learning to watch television», that was produced by the regional station Telecaribe..