CAILLOU: A CARTOON ALL CHILDREN ADMIRE.
The introduction of technology into our lives, the shrinking of playgrounds and the intense workload of parents lead children to watch TV. There are numerous studies on the children’s TV watching habits and duration. What children watch during those hours when they watch TV is also an important issue. According to the research by Stipp (2003) children spend 58% of their time in front of the TV by watching cable channels such as the Disney Channells. Again, according to the study by Cihangir and Demir (2003) 90.6% of those children who participated watched cartoons. Caillou, a Canadian-produced cartoon depicting the social interactions and daily life of a 4 year-old boy “Caillou” adapted from the books by the author Christine L'Heureux and the illustrator Hélène Desputaux, has been broadcasted since 1998 originally in French and consequently in other languages in many countries ranging from USA, Germany and England to Turkey (Vikipedi, 2011).
In addition to it being watch by children, many products such as Caillou t-shirts, dolls, stickers, desks and chairs, tents, coloring books and crayons has started to establish themselves as brands. But how do we explain Caillou’s popularity? In this venue, the chief objective of this study is “Determining the reasons why Caillou is popular among the children.” In order to meet this chief objective, we will be looking for answers to the following sub-questions:
1. What quality of Caillou is the most liked among children?
2. What quality of Caillou is disliked among children?
3. Which character would children like to be if they had a role in Caillou and why would they prefer that character?
CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
When the findings of the study are examined, we can conclude that the children watch Caillou very attentively. Many among the children were able to provide detailed information concerning various episodes of Caillou. Among the reasons children gave for liking Caillou, we see that the most prominent one concerns the games he plays and his toys. The fact that children sit still in front of the TV and admire Caillou’s games and toys is both interesting and ironic. It is also possible to say that the children approve and like that Caillou is a “good boy” and behaves in the cartoon. The results of the study are parallel with the findings of Aşçı’s (2006) master’s thesis and in Aşçı’s study, children said that they liked their favorite animated characters because they are funny, beautiful, strong, smart, entertaining, exciting, hardworking, handsome, informative and gracious.
In Aral et al (2011), 6.2% of boys and 12.9% of girls said that TV programs should not include violence, whereas the majority of girls and boys said that they wanted the programs to be informative and instructive (boys: 41.6%, girls: 35.9%), and entertaining (boys: 41%, girls: 40.6%). In parallel with these findings, it can be speculated that Caillou’s calm nature and the fact that it does not include violence attract children.
The most significant disliked quality of Caillou is his occasional misbehavior. That he mistreats his sister and his friends and that he does not listen to his parents are disapproved of and disliked by children. Furthermore, 13% of the participants in the study think that Caillou is a cartoon for babies and dislike it for that reason.
For Cesur et al (2007) interviewd 454 elementary school children in the provinces of Samsun, Kocaeli, Urfa, İstanbul, İzmir and discovered that 90.7% of these children liked watching cartoons. In parallel, the results of our own study also indicate that the participants watched and liked Caillou.
Aral N. , Ceylan R., Yıldız M.B. (2011). Çocukların Televizyon Seyretme Alışkanlıklarının Yaş ve Cinsiyete Göre İncelenmesi. (A Study of the TV Watching Habits of Children Relative to Age and Gender) Kastamonu Eğitim Dergisi 489-498, Cilt:19 No:2.
Aşçı, Ez. (2006) “Televizyondaki Çizgi ve Animasyon karakterlerin Farklı Yerleşim Yerlerinde Yaşayan Çocukların Tüketici Davranışlarına Etkisinin İncelenmesi” (A Study of the Impact of The Cartoon and Animated Characters on the Consumer Behavior of Children in Various Populated Areas) Ankara University Institute of Natural Sciences Master’s Thesis, Ankara.
Cesur, S., Paker O. (2007) “Televizyon ve Çocuk: Çocukların TV Programlarına İlişkin Tercihleri” (Television and Child: Children’s Preferences Concerning TV Programs) Elektronik Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, C.6. S.19.
Cihangir, S. and Demir, Y. (2003). 3-6 yaş çocuklarının anne-babalarının televizyon izleme özellikleri. (The TV watching characteristics of parents of children between 3-6 of age) OMEP Dünya Konsey Toplantısı. 2. Kitap, 318-334. Kuşadası: Turkey.
Stipp, H. (2003). How children can learn from television. Applied Developmental Psychology. 24, 363-365.
Vikipedi (2011). Caillou. Retrived June 12th 2011 from http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caillou
Prof.Dr.Berrin AKMAN, Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE),Hacettepe University,Ankara,
Sevcan YAGAN, Department of ECE, Anadolu University, Eskişehir, email@example.com;
Gizem OZER , Department of ECE, Karaelmas University, Karadeniz Ereğli/Zonguldak, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Aysegul KAYA, Department of ECE, Sinop University, Sinop, email@example.com;
Gulsen_ZORLU, Etimesgut IMKB Süvari Primary Education School,Ankara,firstname.lastname@example.org;
Dilek SAHILLIOGLU, Ministry of Education, Ankara, email@example.com
Since in this study we intend to determine the reasons why Caillou, which is one of the cartoons that pre-school children watch, is so popular among children, it is going to be a study modeled as a quantitative survey.
The participants of this study are 140 children who are between 36-72 months of age and reside in the cities Ankara, Sinop and Zonguldak.
Data and Data Acquisition
The research data have been collected during the 2010-2011 academic year spring semester at the pre-determined schools in the target areas via the semi-structured interview forms, which were designed by the researchers, and children’s hand-drawings. The researchers particularly asked the children to first draw their favorite cartoon character and then describe the picture they drew. Following that, the researchers held semi-structured interviews with the children.
Descriptive analysis technique was used for data analysis. At the first stage, the semi-structured interviews with children were analyzed, and children’s responses were categorized. After that, an effort to reinforce the interview data was made on the basis of the drawings children subsequently made.
The Findings Concerning the Qualities Which Children Like about Caillou
The findings concerning the qualities children like about Caillou are presented inTable1.
As it is clear in Table 1, 45 children stated that they liked Caillou because of the games he plays and his toys and explained their reasons for liking him in various ways. Whereas two children who made explicit references to his skateboard and dinosaur among his toys, nine children generally commented “His toys are awesome.” When the opinions of 33 children who declared that they liked him playing games are examined, it is observed that B57 who said “I like him playing games with his friends”, G30 who said “I like him playing games with Rosie” and G36 who said “I like him playing games with Leo” specifically identified the game playing activity. On the other hand, B20 commented “I like him picking up his toys, sharing his toys and finding them when he loses them.” 18 children expressed liking of the fact that Caillou is hairless, his smile and his clothes. Among these, G17 said that she liked his “teddy-bear t-shirt” and B29 said that he liked him because he is “bald and cute.”
The Findings Concerning the Qualities Which Children Dislike about Caillou
The findings concerning the qualities children dislike about Caillou are presented in Table 2.
Table 2 indicates that 62 children stated that they disliked Caillou because of his behavior and explained their responses by appealing to various reasons. 24 of these indicated that they disliked Caillou because he mistreats his sister Rosie. When we examine the opinions of the children who disliked Caillou because of his mistreatment of his sister, we see that B15 said “He is acting wrongly toward Rosie. She cries a lot”, G27 said “He throws his toys at Rosie,” andE3 said “He fights with Rosie”. 7 children said that they disliked Caillou because he is naughty and he breaks things. For instance, B58 said “I dislike that he breaks things” whereas B7 reported “I dislike him because he makes a mess.” Other behavior that the children expressed dislike about Caillou were that he is not able to play by himself, that he is scared of things, that he does not eat his vegetables, that he plays with his toy car, that he lies down, sleeps, cries, that he does not share his toys, that he runs and plays soccer.
Berrin Akman, Sevcan Yagan, Gizem Ozer,
Aysegul Kaya, Gulsen Zorlu,Dilek Erol Sahillioglu
The Findings Concerning which Character Children Would Like to be If They had a Role in Caillou and Why They Prefer that Character
The findings concerning which character they would prefer if they wanted to have a role in Caillou are presented in Table 3.
When asked why they wanted to be Rosie, G32 said “I want to be Rosie so that I can be Caillou’s sister.” G59 said “Rosie, because we are the same age.” K17 said “I would have liked to be Rosie, because I want to play with Caillou.” When we examine the opinions of the children who prefer to be Caillou, we see that B1 said “Caillou, because I would like to be bald and I like that he is bewildered.” G3 said “I would have liked to be Caillou because he is having bubble baths. That is why.” B17 said “I would have wanted to be Caillou because he can play with everything.”