Gamer generation loves Sesame Street...now shut the hmf up.


(Don't diss Sesame Street and let me hear. All I want to do when I grow up is BE on Sesame Street)
My response to a discussion board thread saying Sesame Street was basically warping the minds and contributing very little to the education of our children:

Okay, wow. This thread is well, interesting. I'm going to try my hardest not to sound like a liberal blow horn. I'm going to do my best to not find some of the phrases thrown around here degrading. But I'm also going to try to give a different perspective from what I'm reading here.
1) Classifying Sesame Street as "ghetto" entertainment debases the show that numerous parents and educators find a great addition to the lives of their children. Deciding that the characters must be representing strife in the inner city is an interesting analogy, but I assure you that suburban parents that can afford to buy the latest talking Elmo are also a part of Sesame Street family of viewers.

2) I consider myself a new generation. A younger generation now beginning to have children. I think we should be called the gamer generation. By that I mean, we grew up on cartoons and video games. Lot's of us were latchkey thanks to our working moms and dads. We are very sarcastic and we love TV. We are also highly intelligent and find multi-tasking satisfying. We type fast, we roll our eyes a lot. We have our own likes and dislikes about the media, but in general we are media savvy and we enjoy its presence in our lives. I, like many, many others grew up watching Sesame Street. I liked Ernie because he loved bubbles and the bathtub. My brother, may he rest in peace, loved Ernie and Big Bird, but his temperment most resembled Oscar most of the time. My daughter has been watching Sesame Street from the beginning. She loves Elmo and the Count because she loves to count. When did learning something from entertainment become a bad thing? When did we, in this corporate society where logos, ads and all that stuff begin to say that public television programming with its limited ad space is bad for our children? My child only watches PBS Kids and VHS and DVDs she's inherited from my own movie collection as a child. Maybe my love of TV makes others weary because I do let my child participate. But I know as a former journalist, I went to school to be able to have an educated opinion on media in general. What scares me more is that my daughter had never stepped foot into a McDonald's but she was begging for it before she could walk. And that is in a house without cable.

What annoys me about Sesame Street is that product overload you get in toy stores. But I thank them for not trying to sell me their latest toy during viewing time. I've actually never seen an advertisement for an Elmo toy on public television, ever. That speaks mountains of the people behind the program and of public television.
As you see, I'm a parent of the gamer generation, but I limit my own child's access just as my parents did mine. I see what unlimited access does to some, like a few cousins of mine. They have a tendency to be very angry and they have a hard time seeing the positive because they've seen and experience some hard life lessons personally and coming through their games and tvs. But that is my role as the parent. To filter and to call out the networks when they cross the line. I remember distinctly calling my local FOX network one day after a very inappropriate advertisement came up at the prime time hour when we were all watching TV. I wasn't having it. I've done it before and I'll do it again.

I really am tired of all this liberal media crapola because at the end, we are the viewers. When we begin to try to censor people, you take away whatever their creative urge is asking them to do. When you decide what information you want to bring into your home, you take control of yourself instead of trying to control others. Also, teaching our children to think critically of what they are seeing speaks so much more than just telling them what they can and can't watch. I agree, that's something we all should do as a family together. And in all honesty, I cannot deny the pure genius of some shows and some advertisements. I shop Target online occassionally, but it's their prices and not their commercials that bring me in at the end of the day. But, their commercials always feature great music that allows a "dance break" for my daughter and I. We stop whatever and start shaking our tooshes. I've turned something potentially annoying that's going to happen quite often in a tv viewing period into a positive experience.

And let me just get back to the whole idea that the lives in the inner city are so corrupt that the children are mostly learning from TV shows. Not true. I'm walking around my neighborhood here in Harlem and we all have different backgrounds, income levels, nationalities, but the one thing I see on pretty much most parent's faces is an absolute adoration of their children. We are the inner city and we love our children. But we all might not be able to provide for them like many of those in the suburbs. I grew up in the suburbs and I still don't see how much different I grew up vs. how the kids of this neighborhood are growing up. Maybe because we are steadily becoming a more middle class neighborhood, the differences are minute, but just keep in mind that all the parents and grandparents living here now, this is what they've been striving for. This is what they want. So please, let's stop seeing parents in the inner cities as these pity cases with no value of education or morality. Let's question why they have to spend so much time away from from home because of low wages, inflexible hours, no benefits and all those things that are the bigger issues why kids are being babysat by televisions.

I can't believe I had so much to say. But seriously, I love Sesame Street. And that whole spiel about not learning anything in the time span of a Sesame Street episode - I have hundreds under my belt and I think I learned something and I think, well, I think turned out just fine.

Comments

  1. You write so well. Please tell me that you will find a freelance writing job. I think you speak for many in ways that they may not be able to articulate themselves.

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