The evolution of the human race is woven together by storytelling. Any significant societal, religious, or artistic breakthrough from Greek Mythology to The Bible has survived through this means of communication. Oral Storytelling was the original form of information going viral. We naturally look to stories as a means to gain information from gossip to poetry, but in an age of television the responsibility which once belonged to the parent’s have been handed to children’s programming. It’s no wonder why there is such heated debate over how television affects children. Jenny Price goes into great detail in her article Tele [re]vision to uncover how children’s programming affects children.
In her article Ms.Price follows the evolution of children’s programming since the late 60’s citing several scholar’s findings on how children process television. The research is as insightful as it is ambiguous, although children tend to pick up on more than what we give them credit for, they frequently fail to process the information that the program intends to communicate. The study itself is very unpredictable there are various factors that play into how a child perceives a program’s lesson, it may even have an opposite effect on the young viewer. Ultimately, good children’s programming can be beneficial but the results may vary.
I believe that the way to use children’s programming to it’s full potential goes back to our inherent vulnerability for the spoken word. The answer is simple, television should be a tool for parenting not a replacement. In order for a television show to be effective a parent must be an active participant. Just like lessons and traditions were passed down by elders before the days of mass media, parent’s must do the same this day in age. The parent should be responsible for instilling context and ultimately take the wheel in the child’s socialization. A child may not be able pick up on metaphor and even if they do they certainly may not be able to adequately articulate it.