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PBS "Educational?"

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
I turned on PBS for dd recently, and a show called Little Monsters was on. Aside from being wierd and disturbing, the stupid show was spouting falsehoods! The particular episode was about water conservation, which was great, until they showed a diagram of the earth drying up and saying this could happen if we don't conserve water. I was appalled! How can they call this educational TV?

And does anyone have a problem with Dragon Tales? I have seen it a few times, and it seems like the little boy is always screwing something up, and gets rewarded for it in the end.

Are there any shows that actually ARE educational anymore?

I think it's time to turn off the TV altogether.
post #2 of 44
Yes, new shows are popping up like mushrooms on PBS, and other than the fact that they're pretty much guaranteed not to be violent or profane, they're not any better than what's on Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel.

"Seven Little Monsters" drives me batty because of the mother's fake Russian accent. Surely some Eastern Europeans have complained about her caricatured grammatical errors. I didn't see the Water Conservation issue you described.

And I hate, hate, hate "Clifford" and "Berenstain Bears." The books are so lame, it's rediculous to call this bringing literature to kids. These books are like the Danielle Steele novels of children's lit.

Dragon Tales is just plain lame.
post #3 of 44
Although I haven't watched regular PBS in awhile(only when my 7 year old wants to watch Clifford or Arthur, which is much better than the drivel he usually wants to watch on Nickelodeon) I do have the TV on Noggin in the mornings. While I know that my 8month old isn't absorbing much(if anything), it's basically back ground noise, but I've noticed that the Sesame street shows that are on Noggin have been edited more to emphasize the educational part. And there's a new show "Play with me Sesame", that has new parts, mostly of little games, that are definitely educational(matching, patterns, etc).
post #4 of 44
Everytime that borught to you by a grant from the us department of education comes on I just cringe I don't want my education tax money to go to that, I know there are lots of schools out there that need it. We dont even watch that much tv just if I am really desperate and pbs is the only station that comes in.
post #5 of 44
It's like Peggy O's "A Quiet Place" a couple of issue ago where she talked about the claim that kids learn from TV. They do learn a lot from TV, but do we want them to? Even PBS has a lot of shows I wouldn't want my children "learning" from. PBS is supposed to be commercial free (not where I live : ). It has public service announcements about why kids need to be immunized, among other things. I used to support our local station financially, but started getting really bugged that products are still mentioned by name during the kids programming. But, now I'm . So, in answer to your OP, there are a few shows, Sesame Street, Between the Lions, Mr. Rogers...we watch those occasionally, I like them a lot. I HATE Barney!!!! I'm done
post #6 of 44
Sorry, but I disagree, I like all the shows on PBS, save barney, which just annoys the hell out of me. My favorite is Liberty Kids.
post #7 of 44
We like Between the Lions is alright. Dragontales is kind of annoying cause of all the whining but dd loves it..so we let her watch it. At least it is better than Calliou
post #8 of 44
The main reason I appreciate PBS is the absence of commercials. Its fine with me for the kids to watch limited amounts of TV for its "enterainment value." I don't expect TV to educate them. But I do hate that other channels take advantage or them by marketing toys and junk food toward them.
post #9 of 44
well said, mamaduck
post #10 of 44
I too agree with mamaduck!!!
post #11 of 44
Dragon Tales drives dh up the wall because they never say goodbye before leaving Dragonland and because they waste their time in Dragonland doing mundane things they could have done at home, like ride a bike.

I have never seen Caillou but I have read several Caillou board books. The stories always have a lesson that I don't necessarily want my dd to learn, e.g., daycare sucks at first, but is ultimately fun. I'm hoping that dd doesn't get into Caillou because of the endless merchandise (Caillou umbrella, Caillou cup, Caillou sandals, Caillou pail, Caillou underwear).
post #12 of 44
yeah, I do not expect tv to educate my child. They learn stuff from tv, but that's just part of doing anything. Children learn from everything, and as long as there is a balance between active and passive learning, they are balanced in the skills they learn. My kids need down time when they get home from school. Sometimes they read, sometimes they play outside, sometimes they play with legos. They do watch a lot of tv in the winter, but they do A LOT of physical activity at school. There are no tvs at the school, they choose all their own work, they are not confined to any one space EVER save eating, and then there is a cetain amount of food prep they do, too. Tv is a part of our household, we have made that choice, and the tv has a role there, to entertain. We really regulate what kind of tv they watch, and in no way give in to the advertising game, and they know it.
post #13 of 44
I agree, Sunmountain and Mamaduck, that we shouldn't expect TV to educate, although if it does anyway, then that's OK with me.

Like Dodo said, it's the endless merchandise associated with most PBS shows that bothers me. The Clifford books/toys are heavily marketed by Scholastic. The show is little more than a commercial for the books. To run a 30 minute commercial and call it educational really frosts my cookies.

And I loathe Sesame Street. It used to be a good show, but there are too many Sesame Street toys, the lame Sesame Street parents magazine, the ads for pharmaceuticals incorporated into the show (" 'Z' for Zithromax") and, most importantly, Elmo and Zoe are just incredibly annoying.
post #14 of 44
It's just the culture that we live in. There's advertising everywhere. We just choose to filter out, I guess. We don't go to toy stores except on specific missions, and those are few and far between. My kids just don't ask for it. And Z mean zipping zebras to them as much, if not more, than zithromax.

What pisses me off is the advertising in the public school system. Kids don't need to be advertised to when they are learning. Clifford has ALWAYS been a scholastic book. My kids don't buy from there very often, and they always pick a science kit or a magic book or something. We have Clifford books that were mine, and they read those. The characters even look different.
post #15 of 44
I'm not sure my kids even realize there is so much PBS toy stuff available. The shows don't directly let them know, and we don't spend much time in toy aisles.

Niether of them are big toy fanatics anyway. Give them paper and markers any day though!
post #16 of 44
PBS is better than the other options, by far. To expect it to educate is too much. But to assume it doesn't educate at all is to underestimate it a lot, too.

Agreed about "Seven Little Monsters" and "Dragontales," but disagree about "Clifford." The morality tales in "Clifford" are easy to take, & for the youngest.

"Arthur" can be really nasty sometimes, though.

Just keep your attention on PBS, too, don't just leave the room. I did that at 8:30 a.m. on 9/11/01 while DS#1 watched PBS, and then found out the plane hit the WTC because my 3.5yo was watching it ... and so we ended up watching the 2nd plane hit the WTC in realtime together ... yes, they cut into "Clifford" to show the BBC feed of the news ...

Anyway, in today's news climate, don't ever leave 'em alone expecting they're watching the children's stuff ...

Just an off-topic interjection ...
post #17 of 44
There are some educatonal shows on PBS such as between the lions (our favorite ) and cyberchase although that one has questionable stuff in it.

What realy bugs me is all the advertising they do on and advertisment free channel. Fine if you want to have advertisments but good grief don't pretend like you don't and then be all upity about it., Baby Gap was one of dd first words. Why? Becuase they have a nice long commercial at the beginning of seseme street.

There was an article in a local magazine about the link between the changes in seseme street and thier connection with AOL. I think the writer has a point. Here is the link to the story:http://www.etcsiouxfalls.com/ufiles/April03_thetube.pdf
post #18 of 44
lilyka, that's my beef too. I realize that you can pick and choose your shows easily...but, PBS is not supposed to advertise, that's why they have membership drives several times a year. It used to be that corporate sponsors' names would be listed at the beginning or end of the show, not given ad time like they are now. It seems like they sort of slipped it in slowly and now there are full blown commercials for FORD! Yes, public TV is better than commercial TV (in my opinion), but I still can be irritated by the direction it seems to be going. As far as the quality, or educational factor, it varies by show. I don't want TV to educate my children. I'm with the, TV for entertainment camp, and I'm bugged by the advertising on public television.
post #19 of 44
Thread Starter 
My complaint is not necessarily against PBS, I guess. They have some wonderful shows, and I agree that you have to pick & choose. I was just appalled by the falsehoods taught on Seven little Monsters. I have seen it on other shows, too, where they are ATTEMPTING to educate the viewers about something, but it is obvious that the show's writers were completely ignorant. Sorry to sound ugly, but when I let my dd watch a little TV for entertainment, I wish they wouldn't tell her lies, and what's more, scary ones. Some children might latch on to the idea of the world drying up and get the b'geeses scared out of them. In defense of PBS, dd & I LOVE Angelina Ballerina, which is solely entertaining and very sweet. I wish they would review their programmes more carefully before they bought them.
post #20 of 44
I do agree with some of the post about PBS and advertising our station has a"commercial" for Frootloops and Spaghetti'o's! I find that a little aggrivating also. But like some other post I don't use t.v. as the means to educate my children, it is for entertainment purposes and I would rather them watch PBS and the couple of "commercials" they show then Nicklelodeon and the 15 minutes of product pushing they do. I also am not a big fan of Dragontales I just don't get the premis. & little monsters is taken from Maurice Sendak"s Where The Wild Things Are, we have given in a shot and have enjoyed some of the shows. I like Bearenstein Bears we used there book about a baby coming into the family when I was preg. And during National turn off your t.v. week we read their to much t.v. book. As for Clifford and it's connection to Scholastic I like that Clifford is about promoting reading, Hence the shows saying about being the" best read dog on your block." Scholastic book fairs are done in my dd's school it is one of the big ways the school librarian gets books for the school library. Scholastic book fairs were what I remebered from elementary they encouraged my love of books and I do purchase books from them, I am careful about what I get and look for ones that have won either Newbury or Caledcott awards.

As far as the merchandising what station or childrens show does not have a market of products, it is sad but our children are a demographic that companies want to appeal to. There are toys and clothes and books for pretty much every childrens show and charachter out there. I feel it is my obligation to find the balance between the two, allowing my children to watch shows they enjoy without becoming a target for the marketing. So I watch shows with them and when the commercials come on I hit the mute button. They lose interest with the commercial and move on. This has made me think about how at times I and probally others have relied on the fact that PBS is "educational" as a crutch and not monitor as close as I should at times, I honestly just a month ago noticed the advertising on PBS.
I will say one thing our station postponned thier funraising for a month so that children and parents had a station they could watch while all the other stations were focusing 24/7 on war coverage. I was impressed by that and grateful also.
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