Children and the amount of television they watch has always been an ongoing issue. Just like video games, many people suspect that both provide an easy access to violence and unfamiliar concepts. Is that all television is? Mindless violence? Or can some programs actually educate our youth? Many children’s programming nowadays implement an educational process called “prosocial.” Prosocial programming use shows that intend to teach children life lessons, and specific morals. One of the most popular stations for this kind of programming is PBS. PBS hosts a numerous amount of diverse educational programming, such as one of their highest-rated, The Magic School Bus. Aimed towards school-aged children, this show uses the aspect of prosocial education to exemplify the importance of teamwork, respect, friendship, and fun.
However, unlike prosocial programming, educational programming is strictly that, educational. These programs are implemented to teach children the idea of numbers, letters, words, etc. While focused towards a much younger audience, these shows have a direct objective to teach a specific lesson. A great example of this is, Sesame Street. Sesame Street uses many different characters in order to instill in kids various curriculums. Characters such as Count Von Count, teaches kids the important of numbers and counting, while Telly Monster, another character, teaches the importance of shapes, and sizes.
Although prosocial and educational programming can vary in regard to what and how they teach particular a lesson, they can be quite similar as well. Several shows aired on the cable television network Nickelodeon such as, Blues Clues and Dora the Explorer use a combination of the two programming styles, to both educate and apply social skills.
Provided with the idea the television is in fact schooling our youth in various skills and lessons, it shouldn’t be a replacement for teachers or parents. Human interaction is quickly becoming one of our societies biggest problems. With the Internet, smart phones, and television surrounding our lives, there’s no need for human interaction anymore when we can just communicate through technology. We continue to start our children out with technology at a younger and younger age each day, and that I fear is worse than the programming itself. So while television isn’t in fact the root of all evil for our children to watch, it is still better in limitations and moderation.