Little brother is watching you: Preschool children, television news and responsibility in Australia

Hetherington, Susan (2004) Little brother is watching you: Preschool children, television news and responsibility in Australia. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Hundreds of thousands of Australian children under the age of six witnessed at least some of the coverage of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. In the days and weeks that followed September 11, the researcher was confronted with numerous anecdotes from mothers who talked about the impact the coverage had had on their children. Many of the mothers reported that they had not known their children were watching the coverage or had not believed that they were old enough to understand what was going on. This raised the question of responsibility and sparked the research project which asked how could preschool children best be protected from material that was likely to disturb or harm them both in scheduled news broadcasts and extraordinary events such as September 11? Through surveys, focus groups with mothers and interviews with news directors, the research looked at existing protections, how well they worked in the view of both parents and the industry and whether there could or should be a better way.

The research recommended that greater protection of preschool children from inappropriate television news content could be achieved through the implementation of six recommendations.

  1. Television news should be Rated PG.

  2. Digital television technology should be employed to prevent news events 'overtaking' scheduled children's programming and to protect safe harbours placed in the classifications zones to protect children.

  3. Broadcasters should regain control of the images that go to air during 'live' feeds from obviously volatile situations by building in short delays in G classification zones.

  4. Parents should be educated to understand that even very young children can take in television news and are often scared by it.

  5. Television journalists should understand that even very young children are exposed to television news and are often scared by it.

  6. News promotions during afternoon children's programming should be dropped.

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ID Code: 15935
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Bromley, Michael & Patching, Roger
Keywords: preschool children, television news, responsibility.
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Susan Hetherington
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:53
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:40

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