Although there have been anecdotal claims about the impact of watching television on young children’s imagination and creativity there has been very little scientific research. We are working to address this gap in our scientific knowledge.
We are particularly interested in the impact that different types of television programmes may have on young children’s creativity. Our research so far suggests that:
- The amount of television that children watch in their daily lives (as reported by their parents) is not related to their creativity, either in terms of the number of creative ideas or the novelty of these ideas. However, most of the parents in this study reported that their children only watched a moderate amount of television (approx 2 hours a day) and it is possible that only more excessive TV watching will impact creativity.
- We have not found any immediate impact of watching television (15 minutes of Postman Pat) on the number of ideas that children came up with. However, there did seem to be a very temporary effect on the novelty of the ideas, as the children who has watched television came up with less original ideas compared to those who had done a Postman Pat jigsaw and looked at a Postman Pat story book. The pace of the Postman Pat episode seemed to have no impact on children’s creativity as those that had watched the slow and fast paced episode performed the same on the test of creativity after watching.
We are planning further studies which are going to investigate the impact of fantastical television on young children’s creativity. For more details about this or our previous research please get in touch.