One thing I’m sure every parent will be concerned about at some point is what their children watch on TV. I’m an uncle now, and at some point in the distant future I’m sure I’ll be father myself, so for now, I keep an eye on things like these, and I’m my outlook on this exactly positive. When I was a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons, and looking back, not all of them were good as I remember. In fact, many of them were pretty dumb, but it’s not nearly as bad as what we got in terms of live-action TV shows (many of them were terrible sitcoms). Ten years later, not much has changed, but I’ve found that what most of today’s children get on TV is even worse.
For starters, there are more sitcoms than I remember. Nickelodeon, once responsible for acclaimed animation and other TV shows, is now split into an animated programs channel and a sitcom channel, but the brand itself is continuing to decline as it attempts to copy Disney’s success. Speaking of them, Disney has the exact same formula (one predominantly live-action channel and one channel with more animated shows). Let’s just say that the only worthwhile thing on any Disney channel is Gravity Falls, and that show has run its course after only 40 episodes. Everything else on it may as well be bad, and that doesn’t even begin to cover the number of shows designed purely to market a brand (since Disney owns Marvel and Lucasfilm, parents won’t hear the end of it). As for Cartoon Network, that channel hasn’t been the same in over ten years, but it’s doing better than its competitors, though only two shows on there have any merit (that would be Adventure Time and Steven Universe), and it’s still swamped with shows designed solely to sell brands (CN has two LEGO shows that serve the same function). And then there’s Boomerang, which has settled for badly drawn remakes of classic cartoons.
Speaking about the variety available, my main worry is that, for the most part, the kids of today are left with little more than abject fairy tales that mean absolutely nothing, and when that’s the case, only time will tell what will influence future generations. It’s bad enough that TV usually gets the blame for problems that may actually have happened because of bad parenting, and now that youngsters spend more time online than watching TV, some parents actually want their children to watch more TV just because of “family bonding”.
Now that I think about it, it makes sense that every kid’s channel now has mostly garbage on its schedule. After all, why bother appealing to an audience that no longer needs them? However, not everyone’s abandoned TV just yet. If I had the money and equipment, I’d abandon it too. As long as TV can still reach a young audience, that audience will still be the focus of networks that now resort to a pop music aesthetic to get in touch with the young people. For parents who would now be concerned about children spend a lot of time online rather than watching TV, I’d personally rather have that than kids constantly exposed to rampant toy commercials, as we were in my day. At least with tablets and the Internet, today’s kids have the privilege of actually being able to choose what they want to see. However, as long as there’s TV, and an impressionable young audience, some things won’t change for a long time.