Anne Wood thinks children's television has taken a turn for the worse. The co-creator of the popular show "Teletubbies" accused the BBC network of "ghettoising children's programs" by canceling particular shows for young viewers, according to The Huffington Post. It isn't just BBC who's guilty of "dumbing down" children's programming. Think of popular TV shows like "Spongebob Squarepants" that may be entertaining for the young people who watch them, but offer no enrichment or educational value. Even worse, shows like "Jersey Shore" are more appealing to children than adults these days. According to DirectTVDeal, the series finale of the show was extremely popular with viewers below 18 years of age.
While most parents cling to some of the last few quality shows that exist on TV, like "Sesame Street," others are finding solace in a new frontier for children's TV shows: the Internet.
Internet programming for children offers both promise and caution. A recent YouTube study found that children are just "three clicks" away from inappropriate material on the web, according to The Guardian. So while the Internet does offer an opportunity for new children's content, you can't exactly just put a computer in front of them and let them have a go at it. One British citizen, fed up with the shows they were seeing on both TV and online, took matters into his own hands and created his own animated show.
"We were just fed up with all the unnecessary nonsense children's heads are filled with," said Jezz Wright to the Daily Mail. Wright and his wife, Julianne Martin are the co-creators of the animated series "Jack and Holly." "We wanted to make something we felt happy about our son and daughter sitting down to watch."
Animated shows bring in 500,000 monthly worldwide viewers, despite not having any corporate producers or network sponsors.
Exclusive content is a new trend with streaming services these days. Netflix debuted the popular drama "House of Cards" with Kevin Spacey that won't appear on traditional television, and Amazon has done the same with a spin-off version of the movie "Zombieland."
Now children's TV is falling in line with the approval of five pilots on Amazon Instant that will be exclusive to the service, according to CNET. The pilots, one of which is from the creator of "Blues Clues," are announced for December of this year. Amazon hopes to compete with rivals like Hulu and Netflix, and the shows will be some of the first children's television programming among streaming services.
Hopefully we'll never completely lose all quality children's programming on television. The growing trend of online content offers both an alternative and competition for networks to step their game up and give our kids better shows that are both enjoyable and educational. Until then, take comfort in the fact that you do have something else to turn on when "Spongebob" comes on the TV.