TV Can Educate Children, But Should It

Prosocial Programming is television content that is intended to teach children lessons that are geared toward social interactions and a positive lifestyle. These types of shows feature topics like: respect, sharing, working with others and the importance of physical and emotional health. Shows like Arthur on PBS are a great example of this type of programming. Although it is necessary to teach children about respect, often times shows that try to teach on the topic (or topics like it) fail. This is because children don’t comprehend what they are watching due to the fact that these topics are presented in a complex manner.

Educational programming, on the other hand, is television content that has a very obvious objective for the show. This might be learning the letter “A” or learning different colors. Shows like Color Crew on Baby First TV are a great example of this. The learning aspects of this type of programming are measurable because children either know the letter “A” or don’t after watching the show.

I believe that the topics of prosocial programming would be better comprehended by kids if they were taught by their parents or guardians in the moment. What I mean is, if two children are fighting over a toy it is easier to introduce the topic of sharing because the parent is educating on a first-hand experience the child is currently dealing with. Television programming should never replace the responsibility a parent has in their child’s life to teach them right from wrong.

Also, American values are projected through TV to foreign nations where deep cultural values are being challenged by our society’s norms. For example, the character D.W. on the show Arthur is sassy and talks back to her parents and teachers. While that may be accepted here in the States, in Eastern culture and tradition this is looked down upon. That is why it’s important that parents monitor the shows their children watch even if they are labeled educational or informative. Often time’s parents come home from a long day’s work and use TV as a babysitter while they unwind from their day. While I think that some time in front of the TV isn’t detrimental, parents still need to monitor the types of shows their kids watch before they relax.

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