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for those who avoid licensed characters, how do you rank Dora?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 

We pretty much avoid all licensed characters in our household. (I realize I won't be able to get away with that forever, but we've lasted to age 3, and survived most of a year of preschool, and DD still doesn't seem to recognize most of them, which I see as victory!) A babysitter recently showed DD to a Dora video, and I'm deciding how to respond. If we agree that a 20 minute video on a day when it's too cold to play outside is OK, is it worth steering them away from Dora?

 

Having never seen a Dora video myself, how would you compare her to other licensed characters? Better? Worse?

post #2 of 63

Personally, I'd avoid Dora.  As a treat with a babysitter I think it is fine, but there are far better kids shows to watch on a rainy/cold day.  I'd choose anything on PBS over Dora.

 

post #3 of 63

i dislike most of them mainly because they just seem...tacky...and i don't want the toys in the house. if somebody can give me more concrete reasons to hate them i'll gladly do it! (but i've really never watched any of those shows)

but nothing stirs up feelings of hatred in me like elmo. seriously, what is it about him that makes him addictive like crack? that a kid who's never watched tv can spot him on another kid's diaper and the obsession begins????

post #4 of 63

I think it really depends why you don't let your kids watch these shows. 

 

If it's because you don't like all the extras they generate (dolls, toys, books etc) than Dora is definitely up there with one of the worst offenders. 

 

If you don't like them because they are mainstream Dora's also not a good one (they've had an episodes about shots, her baby siblings are given bottles, and she goes to school). 

 

If you don't like them because you are worried its too fast passed/confusing for a young child here's where Dora DOES excel.  It's slow, they're always moving in the same direction on the screen, there's never any fighting, and the characters treat each other with kindness.  There's also a very minimal introduction to Spanish. 

 

We let DD watch TV and the shows she gets to watch (obviously not all on the same day!!!) are Dora, Diego, Kai Lan, Team Umizoomi, Blue's Clues, Word World, The Cat in the Hat Knows A lot About That, and Super Why. 

 

She's seen a few others on rare occasions but we normally choose one of those above.  We pick shows that are not scary for her, ones where the characters are helpful, and ones that don't annoy me too much (cough-YoGabagaba or Thomas the Train-cough).  She definitely gets the most out of the Nick Jr. shows simply because they are more at her level and easier to follow (stuff like WordWorld/Super Why/Cat in the Hat don't get watched nearly as often because they involve more complex ideas that she doesn't always get but the Nick Jr ones she'll relate the whole episode to me after watching it and discuss it with me). 

post #5 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by physmom View Post

 

If it's because you don't like all the extras they generate (dolls, toys, books etc) than Dora is definitely up there with one of the worst offenders. 

 

 

For us, this is the biggest issue with Dora, and is the reason we are limiting her exposure to the videos. 

 

We actually like Elmo videos at our house -- I find the Sesame Street world in general to be less annoying than most children's programming, and the Elmo's World videos are divided into 15-minute increments which is usually just enough time for me to get a load of laundry in, or start dinner, and then I can say "it's over!  Time to turn it off!" 

 

The branding, however, is dreadful.  My daughter is 22 months old and can identify every Sesame Street character, Dora, and any Disney princess (though she calls them all "princess" -- they don't have names yet).  She has never seen a Dora video; the attraction to Dora is solely from a couple of books she received as a gift.  The branding and marketing to toddlers is intense, and it is deliberate.  Elmo and Dora are the worst, in my experience.  It seems like lately we have a fight in every single supermarket aisle over Elmo or Dora-branded toothpaste, sugary processed foods, diapers, toys, ice cream, etc.  I hate it.  If I could go back in time and keep her from ever being exposed to those brands, even in book form, I probably would. 

post #6 of 63

Dreadful branding, among the worst. Even if you don't mind the shows you are going to be smacked in the face with her everytime you go anywhere. And of course your LO will have a connection and want all of the low quality MIC junk with dubious plastics, paint, lead exposure. Sesame Street is just as bad. I've never seen the show, I have no idea how it rates on the character scale, but I loathe seeing that face everywhere.

 

We don't do tv, but if we did, the very last time I would allow is with a paid caregiver. Seriously, I pay you, play with my kids. If I am going to allow tv it will be used so I can shower or be sick in peace.

 

The Dora actually laughs because we recently visited some friends in another city and we've discussed childrearing many times by phone. And every time I go there think, um? what?, like mother is breastfeeding without problems but there is a LOT of formula in the house, or "she only watches tv with the nanny" and the house is FILLED with licensed junk.

 

Hate Elmo too. He is baby crack. We have one story someone gave me and both my kids latched on to him. We have nothing else but for some reason they think there is an Elmo in Goodnight Moon and they both came to that conclusion independently.

post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post

The branding, however, is dreadful.  My daughter is 22 months old and can identify every Sesame Street character, Dora, and any Disney princess (though she calls them all "princess" -- they don't have names yet).  She has never seen a Dora video; the attraction to Dora is solely from a couple of books she received as a gift.  The branding and marketing to toddlers is intense, and it is deliberate.  Elmo and Dora are the worst, in my experience.  It seems like lately we have a fight in every single supermarket aisle over Elmo or Dora-branded toothpaste, sugary processed foods, diapers, toys, ice cream, etc.  I hate it.  If I could go back in time and keep her from ever being exposed to those brands, even in book form, I probably would.
 

FWIW, DD's never seen anything Disney (it just bothers me somehow) but she still knows all about the princesses.  Plus she's CONSTANTLY given Disney stuff.  Ironically, she's going through a stage where she hates all things princess and won't even wear dresses much at all anymore because she doesn't want to be a princess!
 

 

post #8 of 63

If your kind wants branded (read: expensive) things after seeing a show, go to the show's website and print out some coloring pages. A number of the shows have quasi-interactive versions where the kid can pick the character, scene, something the character is holding--that kind of thing.

 

That said we've got a dora plate/bowl/cup set that dd pick out from the set of 3 that her great grandma had (so far, used entirely for playing with playdough, the cup is a great rolling pin), a disney princesses shirt from a neighbor (dd's never seen the related movies, but <3s her some princesses (didja know that princesses are friends with pirates and can turn people into butterflies?)), a box of Cars bandaids, a Wall-E toothbrush, and a Pororo fork and spoon that I want to get the chopsticks to match.

 

And y'know, when you don't have a house full of the same character, and the character stuff you do have is tucked away, it's actually pretty useful. DD is saying she doesn't want to brush teeth, I ask if Wall-E can count her buggies, she'll happily eat her dinner if she gets a Pororo fork, etc. But it does also work with other stuff, e.g. "do  you want monkey socks or butterfly socks?" is generally more effective with dd than "do you want blue or pink?"

 

Oh! forgot about the stuffed animals, we've also got a Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, a Baby Owl and Owly, and a classic Pooh chosen by a friend's dd when she was 3 "all babies need a ted bear!".

 

edited yet again: we've also got Makona and P-chan, and had Pip and Pop from Bear in the Big Blue House, but they're in the donation bag now. (didn't think of those right away because they were/are mine, and dd doesn't pay them much attention.)

post #9 of 63

I have thus far forbidden Dora because I find her irritating AND the branded stuff is everywhere and I don't want to argue with my kid every time we go to the store. He's the kind to get very sucked in by seeing the character everywhere.

 

He watches Charlie and Lola and Sesame Street mostly.  Sometimes Caillou, Kipper, or Dinosaur Train.  We always have him watch either DVDs or Netflix (we don't have a television anyway) so as to avoid commercials because they are the worst.  I really like Charlie and Lola.  They talk about interesting things, it moves at a nice slow pace, and it is a brother and sister who love and respect each other.  I find Caillou and Kipper both irritating and I (somewhat jokingly) maintain that DS didn't start whining till he watched Caillou ;)

post #10 of 63

I do let my kids watch TV-- not a lot but they watch.  All kids cartoons are mind numbing eye candy, and the multicultural/ bilingual stuff is misleading.  My kids learned maybe three words of spanish from Dora.  I am fluent in spanish and am teaching them now in homeschool.  They thought vamanos meant "hurry up" from diego.  ugh!  If you want to teach your kids spanish there are infinitely better ways.  But if you just want them to have some entertainment for a while, I don't think much of it is any different from the rest as long as it is age appropriate.

post #11 of 63

Aside from the commercialization and consumerism point (we avoid all licensed characters), another reason I want to avoid Dora is that the new, older-aged version of Dora is not nearly as in line with our values as the original. The tween Dora is more into shopping and looking pretty than into exploring. See the following piece from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
 

post #12 of 63

We do let DD watch Dora, but we really try to encourage her to watch other things.  We like Yo Gabba Gabba, but we're a music-oriented family, so it fits well with us.  We also like lots of the PBS Kids shows.  It just depends what you like.

 

Dora is good for teaching sequence of events, and it moves at just the right pace.  Those are the good points.  

 

The bad: She's always yelling "Louder!"  It's a silly thing, but it drives me nuts. :)  DH gets irritated with Dora because he says she often mocks things/people that are different.  Obviously this isn't what we want to teach DD.  

post #13 of 63

Ds doesn't get to watch anything we can't stand to listen to/watch. Dora is high on the list. We actually pvr 3 shows for him & he gets to pick from those: chuggington (very cute & just starting to have a lot of branded items here) bob (not popular here right now so not much available as far as junk) & roary the racing car (haven't seen anything on sale for this one).

 

So far ds doesn't know any of the names of popular kids characters. I've found people have been really respectful when they realize we are not into it. For example at the end of his gymnastics class the instructor gave each kid a Tigger sticker. I said "oh look, a tiger". No one corrected me & ds enjoy the tiger. For now at least this is working for us.

post #14 of 63

My kids sometimes watch Dora.  I don't like it, but don't ban it either. The problem I have isn't with the show as much as with the mega branding and dora crap everywhere.  As far as licensed characters go, I don't think they are too bad.  My kids are really only into preschool shows though, and I think most of them are annoying but okay.

post #15 of 63

I find Dora irritating because it's loud, but my son does watch it sometimes. He doesn't really care about wanting products with characters on it though. I too think that would be the biggest reason to avoid it. I'm pretty sure I saw Dora paper bags not too long ago, gah.

post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

Ds doesn't get to watch anything we can't stand to listen to/watch. Dora is high on the list. We actually pvr 3 shows for him & he gets to pick from those: chuggington (very cute & just starting to have a lot of branded items here) bob (not popular here right now so not much available as far as junk) & roary the racing car (haven't seen anything on sale for this one).

 

So far ds doesn't know any of the names of popular kids characters. I've found people have been really respectful when they realize we are not into it. For example at the end of his gymnastics class the instructor gave each kid a Tigger sticker. I said "oh look, a tiger". No one corrected me & ds enjoy the tiger. For now at least this is working for us.

i've been trying to so the same thing with elmo (who dd has never seen in action but is all over). so far calling him "monkey" has worked but she's only 18 months so i know it's only a matter of time....
 

 

post #17 of 63

Dora is always yelling. It hurts my brain.

 

I let DS watch a few minutes of Calliou when he is getting dressed to go out. I really like Calliou. It's cute and slow paced and the story lines are so simple.

post #18 of 63

I agree with pp about the branding on Dora, sesame street, Disney, etc. It's everywhere, and preschoolers love nothing better than repetition and familiarity so if they're introduced to the characters regularly, it's likely they'll get very attached, and then it can be difficult to avoid the consumer products and marketing. 

As far as quiet, slow-paced shows... when DD1 was that age she loved Little Bear. Very calm, slow-paced, and he lives in a more natural environment. Of course it's not perfect, but it was as good as it got.

post #19 of 63
We like Little Bear. It's slow, sweet and simple. And the only branding I've found for it is toddler toothpaste...
post #20 of 63

I kept Dora out of our house for a long time, but when we were moving last November, I let them see one episode, and my two-year-old LOVED it. I find Dora irritating, mostly because she yells everything she says. My kids have become really interested in Spanish (which is kind of ironic, because we already speak two languages at home, and I have a hard time getting them to speak German). They ask me how to say different things in Spanish all the time, and they sing a Spanish lullaby and know lots of Spanish words from Dora and Diego. Personally, I think Diego is the better show.

 

My kids know that we don't buy anything with Dora on it. They have asked before, but seem to accept that I just won't do it. I explain that the toy is not more fun just because Dora's face is on it. 

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