We despise Dora. I feel she teaches nothing but to throw some odd things in a pack and run off with your friends and talk to strangers. When we do tv we like Ni Hao, Kai Lan. It teaches a good messages, Yeye (grandpa) is ALWAYS involved and everything they do is in her backyard pretty much. Overall, it's the only children's show I approve of really.
We don't watch Dora either. My kids only watch very select videos. Amazon has instant play for prime members now, and they have lots and lots of episodes of Mr. Rogers. I really like him...very slow, very interesting, very real.
I feel like Dora is so dumbed down and fake. I feel my children's time is more valuable than that.
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
We avoid all character toys and rank Dora right up there with the worst because the licensing is so in your face. My daughter has never watched the show - but when we let her pick wrapping paper for her 2nd birthday she chose a bag with Dora on it because it had "a little girl and a monkey" on it. She named the girl and we had the bag about a month and that was that. We try to just go with the flow and not attach a positive or negative to anything.
When picking TV shows for our family (our DD is 28 months) we try to use shows that have real people, children, and puppets. We feel that animation is confusing at her age and doesn't represent life very well. We watch (very seldomly) Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Barney. At other people's houses she has been exposed to movies (Pooh and a few Disney Films) and has been either scared or uninterested. We hope to keep it that way for a while more.