Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Old Sesame Street not appropriate for today's toddlers

I have to admit, I'm an old fart who didn't watch Sesame Street when I was a toddler (since I was almost 16 in 1969 when this show first aired). But my son watched it when he was a toddler in the late 70's. It certainly didn't do him any harm (Cookie Monster did not turn my son into a fat cookie addict, who'd a thunk it?). In fact, I would certainly credit SS with having given my son a jump on his letters and numbers before he started school, and doing it in an entertaining way. Granted, we lived in a small town, and he saw farm animals anytime we drove from our town to another one for shopping, etc. But SS also showed him that there were people of colors other than white in the world (the town we lived in was pretty much white, nothing else) and that they were just like him. He didn't need to see Oscar the Grouch to know about grouchy people, he knew about them from real life, but Oscar did teach him how to deal with them.
I will admit that by the time my son was watching SS, he already knew the dangers of being approached by strangers and that going off with them could be dangerous (talk about innocence lost *sigh*). He was a happy, healthy, active, inquisitive child, and watching the old SS certainly didn't do him any harm.
My grandchildren, on the other hand, watched Barney (never could understand why they liked him) and Bananas in Pajamas (now that one was cool, even I could see why they liked it). They also watched Teletubbies, which was sorta kinda maybe kewl, from an adult viewpoint, anyway. The point is, they watched those programs, and while they have out-grown them now (the youngest of my son's kids is 9), they don't seem to have done any harm, despite what the oh-so-politically-correct know-it-alls would have me believe.
Yes, what your children see on tv can affect them, but only to the extent that parents let it affect their children. Trying to make children's television "healthy" by making it about "good" food over "bad" food and exercise over reading, all that is accomplished is creating generations of neurotic people who don't know how to trust their own bodies to tell them what is good for them. This does not let parents take responsibility for teaching their children, it dumps the responsibility for so-called "good" habits on the child. If the child doesn't eat this "healthy" food or do this amount of exercise, s/he is not a good kid. That message does much more harm than good, IMHO.


  1. We got the "Sesame Street Old School" DVD set for my kids to watch, and for all that they even say, "This shows may not be appropriate for today's children," at the beginning of the episodes, I really fail to see what the problem could be.

    Honestly, my only problem with Cookie Monster is that my kids try to eat like he does, which involves a lot of missing their mouths and throwing their food all over the floor. They aren't mimicking what he eats, but rather HOW he eats it. And well, for all that it's annoying, they're at that age of Annoying Eating Behaviors. If they didn't pick something up from Cookie Monster they'd pick something up from somebody else. shrug.

    Also, it kills me that people think kids are too dumb to realize that Cookie Monster is a Muppet. They know the rules that apply to Muppets don't necessarily apply to them. They may try all those rules out, to see what does and does not, but again - that's just what they do anyway, whether they're trying to imitate Cookie Monster or Grandpa or their cousin.

  2. This. Is. Effing. INSANE!!!!

    I grew up watching Sesame Street. My two oldest daughters (12 and 10 now) watched it when they were little. By watching SS, my now-10 year old was able to count up to 20 by the time she was two.

    How is this bad?

    Okay, yeah, so we had Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch. One, Cookie Monster was... A MONSTER! NOT a PERSON!! Even at two, my daughter knew the difference. And Oscar? Puh-leeze. Like kids don't see groucy people in their day-to-day lives?

    I would agree to an extent that SS wouldn't be appropriate for kids nowadays, but not for the so-called "reasons" stated in the article. It's because kids nowadays are growing up WAY too fast, and personally, I think a lot of them would be BORED by what I (for example) was entertained by at the same age.

    But that's a whole 'nother current culture rant.

  3. Not suitable for today's children my foot. Children's television today is dumbed down.

    Cookie Monster is a WAY better role model than Elmo (whiny, baby-talking monster that he is). He is one of the reasons I can't stand modern Sesame Street.

    I want to get the Old School DVDs for my niece so she can enjoy the thrill of shouting at the screen that Snuffalufagus is real, not just Big Bird's imaginary friend. I want her to hear about Wanda the Wiry Witch on a Windy Wednesday and see all the other classic segments.

    Sigh, nostalgia is so sweet, isn't it?


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