Dec 5

Safe does not equal bland

I aim for shows that are safe for children. That parents will be happy letting their children watch. That was my first requirement when coming up with Fluffy Gardens. Cosmo has more of a comedy edge but I still want it safe for sensitive children.

Does this mean the watering down of children’s entertainment? The censorship of all that’s fun and interesting? The removal of the very things children love the most?

No. No, it does not.

Yes, there are some shows out there that seem absolutely soulless. Maybe they are. Perhaps they’re the products of committees or several years of conflicting notes. I don’t know.

But television that is safe for children does not automatically equal bland, dead television.

Most striving for better television or educational content are not trying to turn your children into grey, boring automatons. It is not some conspiracy to make your children conform.

Besides, that’s what school is for, isn’t it?

Yes, I believe children’s television should be safe and age-appropriate. I think, ideally, it can educate. But, in doing so, I also think it should challenge. It should provoke thought. Independent thought. Ask children to think about the world they live in. To think about who they are and maybe even present some positive messages to give them the confidence to be who they are against the opposition they will face at times in their life.

For that, if anything, children’s television needs a spark.

Safe does not equal bland.

2 thoughts on “Safe does not equal bland

  1. David Kleeman

    Bravo, Jason! Can’t say this often enough!

    Kids learn when they are challenged, when they are presented with new information or new situations that leave them no choice but to think.

    I’ve written often about earning the right to take risks with kids media content; you can’t jump in with both feet, but need to communicate with kids and their parents, so they understand and accept the challenges you’re taking. A colleague in Holland occasionally goes what he knows is too far, because it gets press and parents to engage in dialogue with him (of course, that’s easier in a small country like the Netherlands).

    We are constantly in danger of eroding that right to take risks.

    Reply
  2. Jay Post author

    Thanks David! I really appreciate the comment.

    And you’re so right that it is something that needs to be earned, in communication with children and parents. That also means parents taking more of an active interest in what their children are watching, which is where media literacy (for both children and parents) can really play a role. I think that’s happening now – with so much choice in content, both on television and off, I’m seeing some parents getting far more choosy about what their children take part in. I think that’s a good thing. The more parents get involved the better.

    Reply

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