The Power of Storytelling and it’s Vital Role for Children’s Media

Aria Zidaniro for Pickolab Studio6

Children are growing up during a state of perma-crisis; from racial, financial, and political tension to mass levels of displacement, plummeting mental health, gun and knife crime and the climate crisis.

The power of storytelling can play an integral role in helping children navigate today’s tumultuous world. In response, children’s media makers have a responsibility to create content that is not only entertaining but also acts as a profound contributor to shaping the lives of children now and in the future.

A rejection of traditional social narratives is highlighting the need for greater design democracy and a better representation of marginalised groups and communities. This is particularly key for future character and narrative development due to the influence that archetypes, and the stereotypes that come with them, have on shaping the way we view ourselves and others. Allowing kids, tweens and teens to see themselves positively represented in the stories and characters they see and hear is key.

Our ‘Broadening the Narrative’ insight series explores how evolving societal shifts are broadening the scope of children’s narratives and character development. Each report equips brands and children’s media makers with the essential tools needed to unlock the power of storytelling in order to connect with the real-world experiences of Gen Alpha and Gen Z.

Included in the ‘Broadening the Narrative’ series:

Tackling Difficult Subjects

Daniele Simonelli

Back in 2018, with world conflict and US race riots dominating news headlines, we began to track the rise of ‘sophisticated’ narratives within children’s publishing that were designed to explore complex topics such as war, conflict, mental health and grief through the eyes of a child. Since then, childhood mental health concerns have become a global crisis and the number of displaced children around the world has continued to grow, signaling the need for this genre to be amplified even more so across publishing, animation and TV. Our ‘Navigating Conflict’ report explores new and relevant ways to tap into this ever-growing genre, from tackling disagreement, friction and rivalry from a child’s perspective to helping children deal with, process and understand the impacts of armed conflict.

Rewriting Tropes

Rentz, Alena Miloserdova

A radical shift towards diverse storytelling is fuelling demand for more nuanced characters and narratives, ones that challenge taboos and outdated stereotypes. This sits at the heart of all our ‘Broadening the Narrative reports’. From paving the way for next-gen princess culture to moving beyond appearance-centric narratives to exploring the emotional strength and vulnerability of male protagonists.

Fast-Tracked Childhoods

Sharlene, Somewan

Children are growing up faster than ever before. According to Common Sense Media, 42% of kids have a phone by age 10 and by age 12, this rises to 71%. This opens a world inaccessible to previous generations and with unlimited access to global news and social media, they are commonly faced with information that they may not have the emotional maturity to comprehend. As well as this, the physical and mental attributes of childhood are also on fast forward, with girls as young as 6 and 7 showing early signs of puberty. Our ‘Untangling Girlhood’ report unpacks what children’s media outlets are calling ‘the crisis of girlhood,’ and how new narratives, as well as broader character development, could help untangle the ingrained and damaging perceptions of what it means to be a girl.

Our ‘Broadening the Narrative’ report series is available now on our trend subscription My TrendBible Premium. This four-part series includes the reports; Heroes and Villans, Princes and Princesses, Navigating Conflict and Untangling Girlhood. Each report helps to unlock innovative ideas, commercial opportunities and actionable recommendations from our global team of baby and kids trend experts. If you’re a children’s media maker wanting to understand the world of kids, tweens and teens to create impactful and representative stories, games and animations, this series is not to be missed.

My TrendBible is a trend subscription platform designed to ignite inspiration, stimulate innovative ideas, instill confidence in your teams to act upon trends, and offer validation from across the globe.

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