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Dumb TV, dumb children?
Why do kids shows have to be so mean, asks this mom of 3.
My children are the youth of tomorrow, so I read the article by Rhoda Kadalie (The dumbing down of our youth) with shock, horror and interest. Although her stance squarely blames the post-apartheid regime for the atrocious drop out rate of high school pupils and university students, I believe that we parents also need to take a look at our favourite babysitter. 

Peter Gabriel once said it so well: ‘Just sometimes, you think about our composition, what we’re made up of. It used to be said, that we are what we eat. And then the people, they’d be a little more fashion conscious, would say, no you are what you wear. Or you are what you read, but we would say in this millennium, you are what you watch.’

This rang true for me. I’ve always been fairly lenient in what I’ve let my kids watch.  Barney has been a huge favourite in our house for almost 6 years now.  There are a lot of Barney haters out there, but I’ve found the values and songs informative and fun.

Although the older kids have moved on to Ben10 and Bakugan, Barney still gets a lot of attention from the little one. We own almost every Disney movie ever brought out on DVD, including some of the old classics that I used to watch as a kid.  The Secret of N.I.M.H is still one of my favourite movies of all time.

Every now and then I’d come across a kids show that I would refuse to let my kids watch.  Teletubbies ranked number 1 on that list.  For me one of the criteria for a kids show was something that I could watch with my child and also enjoy. Believe me there is absolutely no fun in watching Teletubies.  I don’t believe that kiddie shows have to be educational, but I also don’t want the show to only teach my child ‘lala’ or ‘po’.

Included in this lot are most of the new locally produced Afrikaans kids shows. For some reason it seems as if the producers think that kids need to be talked down to. Boy, are they wrong!

No red demons for us

Another one of my criteria is that it has to be wholesome. Scratch Cow and Chicken. For me the idea of a red demon being the instigator/protagonist for most of the episodes was firmly set against my beliefs.  Unfortunately the same applies to quite a few other shows. Ed, Edd and Eddy promoting bullying, the violence in Power Puff Girls and the absolute stupidity of George in the Jungle.  The movie is a firm favourite in our house, but the animation show is horrifying.  George is a complete moron that doesn’t know how to scratch his own head. 

That seems to be a firm favourite of the animation shows these days.  Someone has to be stupid, be done in, made fun of or embarrassed for the show to be considered a success.  Why do we need all this meanness?

There’s no more TV in our house.  The money saved goes towards the DVDs that we buy.  No more dumbing down, no more unacceptable values taught, plus the series we do let them watch, like Fosters home for imaginary pets are all available on DVD.

Do you believe TV programmes can dumb down your kids?

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