They are called Lady Bug, Fireman Sam, Elsa or Peppa Wutz – popular media heroes among young children. They appear not only on screens and in books, but also on backpacks, water bottles, clothing and other objects. But as much as they sometimes annoy adults, these figures have important functions for children.
Do you remember Pippi Longstocking, Pumuckl or Peter Lustig? Surely you have mostly positive memories of these characters. Even if the media heroes of children today are different, they fulfill the same functions as the characters of your childhood. They offer children orientation in a complex world and they can learn from them. Children identify with individual characters. They also provide a sense of belonging among peers. With friends, they can share stories about the latest episode of Paw Patrol and role-play scenes. When children are sad or worried, the main character can encourage them or an episode of their favorite show can relax them.
Typically, children’s media heroes and heroines have similarities to them. Her stories tie in with children’s lives. Often these are “good” main characters with characteristics that children can easily recognize. The figures do not have to please adults. This is especially the case when they are portrayed in a clichéd way, such as beautiful princesses and strong knights.
As children develop, their favorite media characters change. Children understand more and their interests change.
It’s not always easy for adults to understand what kids love about a particular character. However, banning them or keeping a child away from them is not the way to go. Children encounter some characters through play and interaction with their peers. Therefore, talk to your child about what he likes about a figure. Be unbiased and ask neutral questions. If your child is a little older, you can also tell and explain if they don’t like something about a character.