Editor’s note: This is the third of a weekly guest spot by children’s media consultant Ashley. Ashley is a television and online producer and Executive Editor of Children’s Media Consultant.com. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a M.A. concentrating in children’s educational media and preschool ecology from New York University. She resides with her family in downtown New York City. You can visit her blog at childrensmediaconsultant.com.
Little did I realize that when I wrote “Why Isn’t Kid’s TV More Eco-Friendly?” (which I have been researching for the better part the last three years) that it would circulate around the web with such positive feedback. Although I’ve served as a children’s television consultant for multiple programs to determine how to effectively incorporate ecology content into their preschool curricula, this is the first time I’ve been able to initiate a dialog online about the content that’s already out there (or lack thereof).
How do the media professionals and parents weigh in?
What the Children’s Media Experts Say
Why is there so little ecology content on children’s television?
Ty’s Toy Box Mommy writes, shows that teach literacy or math skills are celebrated because these topics are standardized curricular foci. They’re uncontroversial topics that (almost) everyone can agree are necessary in the education of our children. But when a show moves into the realm of teaching that the planet is in jeopardy, somewhat more of a controversial topic, we jump into a political debate.
While many of us know what we do effects the ground we walk on, others are still skeptical of the science behind the argument, and some believe the planet is not in danger because of the burning of our fossil fuels (or filling up landfills, polluting our natural resources, cutting down forests, etc.).
Ty’s Toy Box Mommy makes a great point here. As long as global warming remains a debatable, politically-infused topic, perhaps it’s a riskier subject for children’s television — especially a kid’s TV show that requires public funding, or a more conservative corporate/network backing.
To counter, though: What if we’re not focused on issue-centric topics, like global warming, species extinction, etc., but more on the basics of appreciating the natural world?
My research indicates this is a more successful approach anyway, when it comes to preschool-level ecology. Besides, who could argue (even with the politicos) that spending time outdoors is bad for you?
On a side note, many thanks to Shaping Youth for inviting me to be a content partner, and for the very nice introduction of our first content swap on this very same topic. We can all look forward to hearing her expertise on advertising directed at children, eloquent prose, and opinions on this website, and more collaboration of our work in the future!
For more reviews and commentary on children’s television and other media, visit Children’s Media Consultant Online.
Also, Kelli's post on eco websites for children has been featured as a guest commentary on Children's Media Consultant.