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non-violent non-sexist/racist children's TV/movies?

post #1 of 73
Thread Starter 

Our daughter is about 22m, and so far she has hardly seen any TV.  However, we don't want to make TV a forbidden or illusive thing, since we think it is totally fine in moderation, and so I've started looking for decent children's programming.  Since my daughter loves animals, I thought I could try starting with animal documentaries and/or animated movies about animal characters.  However, I've been pretty frustrated with what I can find on netflix (we don't have any actual TV, just access to TV/movies through netflix, itunes, and hulu) and so I was looking to purchase some other options, but I hate to do that when I can't see it first to vet it!  Here are my main issues with the kid's TV I've seen so far (this also crops up far more than one would imagine in books, but at least those I can read first!):

 

There is a ton of violence in kid's programming - not just physical violence, but people (or animals!) behaving in particularly nasty ways to one another, putting each other down, etc.  This drives me crazy.  I really don't want my daughter exposed to that at this age, and I certainly don't want her imitating it.  

 

There is also a ton of both overt and subtle sexism and racism in so many programs that I hadn't totally accounted for.  I don't want to expose my daughter to any program where traditional gender roles are repeatedly shown as the main or only model or where the main characters are mostly male, and I'm very uncomfortable with the way that characters from various groups on these programs often seem to reinforce one narrow stereotype of what people from that group are like.  I thought I could avoid a lot of this with animal shows, but they still seem to reinforce all the same societal norms as stories that involve people.  When she is older, I feel that we can talk about all of these things and teach her to enjoy stories while also being conscious of the presence of these kinds of bias, but right now I don't want any of these messages being instilled in her subconscious, especially since she will see it enough on the playground and out in the world!

 

I was hoping that some of you might have some suggestions for either TV shows or movies that might be avoid gender/race/ethnic sterotypes and also promote good non-violent healthy ways of relating to one another?  

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

post #2 of 73

Of the ones we watch I would recommend Dora the Explorer and Wonderpets.  Try your local library. 

post #3 of 73

Our 3 year old likes Kipper and Little Bear. Kipper is on streaming netflix, and Little Bear is free on Amazon if you have Prime (think you can find some episodes on YouTube, too). On Little Bear, the parents do fit into very traditional gender roles, but it has never seemed offensive to me for some reason.

post #4 of 73

We do blue's clues, and Yo Gabba Gabba. Blue's clues is about as mild as you can get. :) 

post #5 of 73

DD loves YoGabbaGabba. 

post #6 of 73

DD2 adores Wonderpets. It's had the odd side effect of causing my children to eat a lot of celery.

post #7 of 73

Winnie the Pooh (the old ones.)  

post #8 of 73

Curious George on PBS (the recently-made ones) should fit what you're looking for.  It's a wonderful show.  You might try Sid the Science Kid in a few months...DS wasn't interested in that one until he was about 2.5.

post #9 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emaye View Post

Winnie the Pooh (the old ones.)  

 

Both of my kids loved the original Pooh bear videos. They also liked watching Zabu from Animal Planet - you should be able to get those on video or disc.

post #10 of 73

Little Bear is a hit here for the younger guy and we have David the Gnome on DVD which both my kids love love love 

post #11 of 73

You don't mention any concerns about the role of advertising, marketing, and commercialism revolving around children's programming. Is this a concern for you? Because it you are thinking seriously about the other matters I'd suggest reviewing the literature on this issue too. For me, this is one of the largest and more harmful issues of exposing a young child to most media. Very damaging.

post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

You don't mention any concerns about the role of advertising, marketing, and commercialism revolving around children's programming. Is this a concern for you? Because it you are thinking seriously about the other matters I'd suggest reviewing the literature on this issue too. For me, this is one of the largest and more harmful issues of exposing a young child to most media. Very damaging.

I agree. For us, this is the very reason we tend to stay away from Dora, Disney, Spongebob, etc. It's the mass marketing around their shows that I cant stand, not the shows themselves. We dont see a lot of advertisments for things like Yo Gabba Gabba, Fraggle Rock (on netflix now!), and a lot of older shows. Plus, DD is not allowed to watch anything with commercials. I think commercials are way too fast paced and include SO much information in a tiny amount of time, which IMO is not great for little kids. 

post #13 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

You don't mention any concerns about the role of advertising, marketing, and commercialism revolving around children's programming. Is this a concern for you? Because it you are thinking seriously about the other matters I'd suggest reviewing the literature on this issue too. For me, this is one of the largest and more harmful issues of exposing a young child to most media. Very damaging.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I agree. For us, this is the very reason we tend to stay away from Dora, Disney, Spongebob, etc. It's the mass marketing around their shows that I cant stand, not the shows themselves. We dont see a lot of advertisments for things like Yo Gabba Gabba, Fraggle Rock (on netflix now!), and a lot of older shows. Plus, DD is not allowed to watch anything with commercials. I think commercials are way too fast paced and include SO much information in a tiny amount of time, which IMO is not great for little kids. 

 YES to both of these posts!  We don't really do TV (exception for long car trips and one or two Sunday evenings per month) but when we do allow TV we stay away from any licensed characters and watch on TIVO or on DVD to avoid advertising.  I was sick one day and flipped the TV on for DS so I could get a bit of a break and was apalled at the commercials on Treehouse even!

 

My DS LOVES "Mghty Machines".  Not sure if your DD would be in to that type of thing, but he is facinated by what machines do and how they work.  No violence or gender roles there.  Maybe you can find something similar that suits your DD's interests (for example, Zoboomafo or another Kratt's brother's show if she is into animals.  I actually used to watch Zoboomafo!  The show is well done).

post #14 of 73

Oh, yeah - Zoboomafo is great. It's geared at little ones, but even dd1 likes it, and she's nine. Wild Kratts might be a little more violent (sort of) than you're looking for, though.

 

I agree about commercials. We don't watch any tv with commercials. I'm not crazy about all the cross marketing, but it doesnt' seem to have had a huge impact on my kids, despite watching Disney (dh loves Disney) and Dora and such.

post #15 of 73

DS loves Sesame Street and Shaun the Sheep, both of which are pretty nonviolent and show non-traditional gender roles.

 

We don't have real TV either, but there's tons of Sesame Street on youtube and Shaun at our local library.

post #16 of 73

I hear ya.  It's not easy to find good stuff...but it's out there. 

 

Things I've enjoyed with my son (whose attention span is too short to recommend any feature length films):

 

1.  How'd the Build That (educational videos about trucks and machinery).  I enjoy these myself, they're fascinating and appropriate for a broad range of ages.

 

2.  Scholastic does a bunch of video versions of favorite kids stories/books.  They're about 20 minutes long, and aimed at preschool age kids, but my toddler loves them.  I usually just check mine out from the library or occasionally find them at yard sales.

 

3.  The Richard Scarry ABC video.  I've never met a kid who didn't love this.  (features lots of animals).  Can't vouch for the newer TV show, I haven't seen it, but it may be good.  I wouldn't know.

 

4.  Baby Einstein.  Some are better than others.  My son likes certain ones a lot, others not so much.  My main gripe with these is yeah they're totally free of violence and fairly multicultural, but they feel like a bit like a toy commercial at times.  Oh, and the songs get totally stuck in your head.

 

5.  Tec the Tractor.  Kinda like Thomas, only live action, not animated (with a big talking red tractor).  Less annoying than Thomas, I actually enjoy watching this show.  It's Welsh though, and hard to come by.

 

6.  Kids123 (on Youtube).  Simple songs/animated videos--one guy with a guitar.  I think this guy's Australian.  Perfect for toddlers because they're simple, not overly busy, and quite educational.  Importantly for adult viewers, the songs are NOT annoying, like most of this kind of stuff.  And the characters are usually animals.

 

These are just a few things to get you started.  I recommend browsing the library for kids videos, they usually have the kinds of things that have stood the test of time.

post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

... Fraggle Rock (on netflix now!), and a lot of older shows...

 

I love Fraggle Rock too.  The show covers a lot of social themes and has really nice music.  I highly recommend it.  Like others here, we also don't own TV so it has been really easy to choose what our children watch.  

 

I have the scholastic children story videos as well and my children really loved them when they were younger.  

post #18 of 73

Classic sesame street is on netflix now.  Current day sesame street is not really to my liking (I must admit I have always disliked Elmo and can't get over the loss of Jim Henson)  but I LOVE the old stuff.  

post #19 of 73
Charlie and Lola is my current favorite, and there are many free episodes on YouTube. I also think Backyardigans is pretty good for preschool age kids, although the marketing for it is a little pushy. I think its very good w gender, though. And I play some old Sesame Street on YouTube for my little guy.

Also,as previous poster mentioned, those scholastic videos are great. We bought a boxed set of them from Costco at Xmas-time one year and LOVE them.
post #20 of 73

Oh, Sharon, Lois, and Bram's Elephant Show is awesome. 

 

It's where the skinna marinky dinky dink song came from, not from Barney like most people assume. (OMG, after years of my little sister being obsessed ith Barney I cannot tolerate that show). 

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