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“Let’s Play Jeremy Kyle!”: Reality TV in the Playground

29 May 2014 Taylor & Francis

Move over Mums and Dads, Dr Who and Harry Potter. A recent study shows there’s a new game in town. New research into contemporary playground games has found children acting out reality TV talk shows.

Picture this: Five girls between 9 and 11 years old sit on a wall facing a ‘stage’ where four girls sit facing back. A boy comes in to the applause of the audience and introduces each of the four girls one by one. What happens next is a mix of pantomime and parody. The youthful talk show host interviews his guests while the audience boo, clap, and cheer.

Girl 1: Our daughters are taking drugs
Girl 2: And both are pregnant
Host: You’re on drugs and you’re pregnant. Who do you think you are?
Audience: Well done, Jeremy! Jeremy, Jeremy!

It may look like a bit of light-hearted fun but this situation may be the reality for many children when the TV is switched off. Authors Jackie Marsh and Julia Bishop urge that ‘this kind of play deserves greater attention than many may wish to give it on first encounter. After all, there is a long tradition of children exploring the grown-up world through play, such as war games or pretending to be cops and robbers.’

Find out more about this fascinating research by reading the full article for free online today:

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