Monday, December 10, 2012

Oh NickJr...Where Have You Gone??

When I first became a Mom, I had no idea that NickJr existed. It had been years since I had watched Nickelodeon and even then it was Nick@Nite watching old sitcom re-runs. So, when I was still learning what to do with a baby all day long, I started flipping through the channels and I found Nickelodeon. There were cartoons! I was sure that the bright colors and animation would somehow stimulate his little brain, even if Spongebob Squarepants was on over and over again. But he sat in his little infant seat bouncing his legs and seemed to be enjoying it. I found Spongebob incredibly irritating, but I went about my business cleaning and organizing.

Then one day, I happen to stumble upon, NickJr. The shows were much more baby friendly and well, it was just like they said, it's pre-school on TV, even though my son was no where near pre-school age, exposing him to early learning can't hurt, right? After all, he was a preemie and developmental delays were a huge concern for me, even though nothing indicated that there may be any. AND there were no commercials. No commercials advertising toys or games or Happy Meals, just little skits by good 'ole Moose A. Moose and his best friend Zee B. Bird. Even these little breaks between shows were educational. I felt like I had hit the jackpot!! And much to my delight, Brandon liked this even more! He loved Moose and Zee. He loved the Wonder Pets and Dora and even the Fresh Beat Band. Mommy even started liking them too. I would sometimes catch myself singing along throughout the day. He even seemed to learn!

Some parents limit their children's TV time, but I tried to get him as much of this TV as I could!! He really was learning!! What was equally as great was once he became mobile, he didn't just sit and watch TV, it was merely background noise and if he heard something that caught his attention, he would stop, watch and move on. So, for me, I didn't see any harm. I was completely convinced that these shows were helping him develop and teaching him lessons and values.

When Brandon was 16 months old, I went back to work. I worked a little temp job for 6 or 7 months. When I was home again for a few months, I turned NickJr back on and was very disappointed to see that Moose and Zee were gone! Their whole programming and line up were different!! Some of Brandon's favorite shows were on sporadically or during the hours he was asleep and during the time that he was awake, there were more Dora episodes on I was convinced that NickJr was actually RUN by Dora. She had monopolized the network!! I love Dora as much as the next guy, but seriously, there are other shows. I found in order for my son to watch Bubble Guppies and Team Umi Zoomi, I had to DVR them.

I've been back to work again for well over a year now, so I only see NickJr when we are home for the night. But I have started seeing a change that, well, I am not too sure I am happy about anymore. I can deal with Moose and Zee being gone (although I secretly wish they'd return), but what I have a hard time dealing with is that NickJr sold out for the advertising. Slowly and really almost stealth-like, they began introducing commercials. While they aren't fast food commercials, they are toy commercials and not necessarily commercials for educational toys. That's disappointing.

Children and adults are constantly bombarded with commercials and advertisments trying to influence where we eat and what we buy, what services we need and what medications we should "ask our doctor about". Why can't there be one place where kids can just learn and enjoy TV?

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