When I was a kid - which I admit was many years ago, I remember sitting in front of the TV waiting patiently for The Flintstones or dare I say, Doctor Who to start. For me, the whole event of waiting for my favourite television show was such a build-up, that I am sure many shows were far better in my mind than they actually were.
Saturday mornings were also a big thrill for me because there was always great morning entertainment such as Going Live, Number 73, or Saturday Superstore that seemed to run for the whole morning. In reality, it was probably only a couple of hours, but this time was what I waited all week to arrive.
Now, a lot has changed, and I am totally happy that it has. Children no longer have to wait to see their favourite shows, because of channels such as CBBC, Nickelodeon, and the Cartoon Network. As a parent, having something that I could turn on and watch with my daughter was special. I even go as far as to say that dancing with her to Hi-5 was something I will always treasure.
I know that many people think children spend too much time in front of the television, and in some ways, I agree. However, parents need to be able to help their children as well by doing things that don’t involve the TV. I don’t think having more children’s programs is the problem, just that kids don’t do as much outside as they used to in the past.
One thing that has seemed to have a big influence on kids like my daughter is YouTube. She loves it and has many ‘YouTubers’ that she follows and watches regularly. Many of these videos have high production value and are informative as well as entertaining. I also admit that YouTube has been a great source of information for me, as well as entertainment (Good Mythical Morning to name just one).
I have noticed that my daughter no longer wants to watch any television channels for kids anymore. Instead, she wants to see her YouTubers playing their favourite games, or making slime. Are children’s TV shows becoming out of touch with what kids want to watch?
There has to be a caveat here of course, because along with all the good channels, there are some YouTube channels that are not suitable, even those supposedly aimed at young people. We filter what our daughter watches because we don’t want her recreating the ‘Tide Pod’ incident.
While many YouTubers are good at being responsible, there are those that aren’t. However, the internet needs to be a place of freedom to some extent, so you don’t want the same levels of control that TV companies have. The middle ground is a grey area, but I think it is worth the effort to see so many creative people doing what TV companies seem to be missing.
I am sure my childhood would have been even better if I had the same access to entertainment as my daughter. The interesting thing will be what will be available when she has kids of her own?