Sunday, 17 January 2010

Values and Kids TV

My favourite character in the political drama The West Wing was Toby (no surprise to those who know me) and one of my favourite scenes is where he defends PBS and Sesame Street. This (and my last post) got my thinking about kids TV. A quick trawl of YouTube highlights so many value laden shows that I grew up with in the 80s.

One of the earliest shows I watched was 'The Get Along Gang' (I had the toy haunted mansion. lol), clip below. A show based on the whole notion of 'getting along' and overcoming difference.

Then there was the endless string of shows about battling 'evil', from Thundercats and Transformers through to He-Man and the Gummi Bears. Then there were the shows that fostered a sense of conservative values such as one of my favourite shows as a child, The Wind in the Willows:

There were also shows that celebrated difference. Listening back to the opening credits of Raggy Dolls, it's hard not to find new meaning in the lyrics:

Later on, we even had shows that addressed the emerging issue of the environment - notably Captain Planet.

When I look at my generation, now in their late twenties or early thirties, it's a generation that has so clearly been affected by these values. If those shows socialised us into the people we are today, how are today's children's shows socialising kids? How are they shaping conceptions of gender,sexuality, right and wrong? Lacking kids, I really don't know the answer, but I hope those who do will post some comments. What shows did you watch as kids?

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Ryan Ward said...

Chris using this as a break from my essay haha but I agree with your statement on todays childrens programmes!

I watched he-man and thundercats but my favourite was the turtles.

What did really get under my skin was the recent controversy over Cerrie Burnell the BBC presenter who was under fire for having one arm. My part time job is a support worker for children with disabilities and for parents to complain about how a presenter "looks" I think its shambolic.

I understand tv can have a large influence on children but you cannot do anything if the people they look up to on a daily basis are so narrow minded that the light won't get through.

Sean Hennelly said...

I watched Fireman Sam and Postman Pat mainly. I can't remember enough about them now to consider how they might have helped develop my understanding of different sociological and cultural issues. I did notice growing up though that in my later childhood years kids tv seemed to get more violent (well at least compared to the complete lack of violence in the older tv shows)... Maybe in a few years I will be able to comment on today's programmes though, if I have kids!

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