Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Girls outweigh boys! At least when it comes to articulating and sharing their thoughts

Finley the Fire Engine - a picture submitted as part of the BBC Trust's review of BBC Children's programming

As part of the BBC Trust’s review of children’s programming (CBeebies, CBBC, etc) last year, they [engaged with Kids Industries family-focussed consultants to] set up a website where children could contribute to the consultation.

In the words of the creators, the Say What You Think website had

“a distinct look and feel for children aged 2-6 and 6-12, using language and iconography developmentally appropriate for the target audience ... Through this website children were empowered to contribute to the consultation, have fun and share their views on the BBC in a manner that was most appropriate for them.”

You can read the BBC Trust’s findings online, and there is plenty of media analysis on the report.

However, one paragraph a the sub-report analysing the Say What You Think website responses (part of the supporting evidence) jumped out at me:

“The CBBC strand of the site received the most visits. A total of 2,084 children submitted a valid response. Girls outweighed boys in their number of submissions with a ratio of 4 to 1. Similarly, children aged 10 to 12 years submitted more responses that 6 to 9 year olds with a ratio of 3 to 1. This is not surprising as girls generally enjoy articulating and sharing their thoughts more than boys and the older age groups are more confident with technology.” (emphasis mine)

Which is proof of something I always suspected.

Turns out that getting 2–6 year olds to talk about CBeebies proved harder!

“The CBeebies strand (children aged 2-6 years) of the website received considerably fewer visits than the CBBC strand (children aged 6-12 years), receiving only 25 valid submissions … However, CBeebies submissions were also dependent on parental support. Children aged 6-12 were able to respond independently, whereas children aged 2-6 needed a parent to accompany them online. This may have been a barrier for children aged 2-6 taking part in the consultation process.”

In a comment that won’t cause Igglepiggle to fall over backwards with surprise, but may incite Upsy Daisy to croon and Makka Pakka to polish his stones faster than ever, the Trust report declares (in paragraph 124):

“... CBeebies remains among the least expensive but, on the basis of audience approval ratings, the most liked television service offered by the BBC.”

The picture above was submitted as part of the consultation and published in the research report. And no, before you ask, it’s not mine!


Niall said...

[Grrr ... blogger crashed leaving the last comment - this one is more brief!]

Was there much effort to solicit involvement in the consultation? I didn't see anything on cbbc, cbeebies or on the respective sites - the kids didn't mention it either (and I do keep an eye on what they're watching/surfing occasionally).

2,084 sounds like a very small number of responses ...

Niall said...

As a follow-up to the the above, apparently there *was* a poster in the kids' school assembly/PE hall. They don't appear to have been too enticed to get involved as a result, tho'!

Alan in Belfast said...

Think I'd agree that it wasn't a massive response for a UK wide survey! (Poster in PE Hall sounds like a memorable section from HHGTTG, something about a notice in a locked basement with no stairs on another planet!)

Coke_Shy_Hero said...

My sons (3yrs and 5yrs) are too busy on the web categorising galaxies... :-)