A recent study suggests that many kids aren’t learning enough from their favorite children’s TV programs. While many children’s television shows contain moral lessons, many also feature examples of inclusion and diversity. Whether these programs are truly educational or not is debatable. One study by the University of California, Davis, found that children struggle to relate the situations depicted in these shows to real life situations. In addition, many of the shows feature catchy original songs and are often made for children to enjoy.
The findings suggest that children’s television shows should include educational inserts. The messages should discuss the lessons taught in the show. Researchers found that adding as little as 30 seconds of text to each insert increased children’s responses to the messages. UC Davis assistant professor Drew P. Cingel noted that the researchers’ inserts were simple and presented the messages in a straightforward manner. This increased the effectiveness of their research, but it’s unclear why these simple interventions haven’t made a difference.
Another study found a significant correlation between television viewing and attention problems among kids. However, these findings did not prove a causal link. The researchers emphasized that the media influence children’s attitudes and behaviors. While many children learn about fairness from television shows, they do not necessarily understand the nuance of social values and gender. Therefore, parents should be aware of the effects of television programs on their children’s minds.