Now, first and foremost, note that I said Nickelodeon and not Nick Jr. Although the television programming on Nick Jr. is often annoying to me since I am not a preschooler (i.e Wonderpets), I don’t feel it’s harming my child. The rest of the Nick programming I’m not sure.
We watch mostly Noggin at home. It is owned by Nick but is commercial free which does my heart good and the programming is all age appropriate for Cat without being harmful to Max. We do DVR episodes of Sesame Street and yes even the wretched purple dinosaur from PBS, we have allowed Cat to tune into the Playhouse Disney channel on Saturday morning for The Wiggles and The Doodlebops but all in all we’ve avoided full fledged Nickelodeon thus far. I haven’t tried to avoid it, it just hasn’t been necessary to go there.
When I was teaching in the elementary library I would subscribe to Nickelodeon magazine for my students. They loved it and I was willing to purchase anything that encouraged kids to read. Of course all of that was before I had children of my own. I always thought I would be the cool parent that knew the coolest tv shows and the coolest toys.
Perhaps just the idea of my toddler watching some of those shows is what’s most appalling. Maybe when MY kids are 8 and 9 and they want to watch Spongebob I won’t really care. And as a complete aside, I don’t really think a sponge can be gay. While I’m not a huge Spongebob fan I’m not willing to totally grasp at straws either.
What truly disturbs me is how much of the marketing from that programming is targeted at kids that are WAY too young for the content. I went looking to buy some ‘boyish’ sippy cups for Max rather than his sister’s pink and purple ones. The only other ones they had in the similar style had Spongebob on them. I went to buy Cat a new sunshade for the car today and I had my choice of Dora or Spongebob. Let’s just say we chose Dora. Why would I want to watch my 1 year old son drink out of a Spongebob cup?
Maybe I just think too much.
Of course this whole tangent started because we made a special trip to McDonald’s today. We let Cat get the regular toy now since she never puts things in her mouth and the baby toys bore her. Needless to say the toy this week is from a Nick show called Catscratch. I guess I don’t keep up with things as well as I thought because I had never heard of this show. Much to my dismay my 2 1/2 year old daughter got the ‘Armpit Waffle’. A little plastic character from the show that when you turn it on and pull it’s arm it makes armpit farting noises. That’s freakin wonderful. Cat asked me “what is it Mommy?” “It’s stupid,” I replied. I cringed as soon as I said it knowing that ‘stupid’ is one of the ‘banned words’ at daycare. “Oh ok. Look Papa I got a stupid toy!” she yelled out. I was sure she would tell her friends at daycare tomorrow about her ‘stupid toy.’ I had visions of the hour long car trip home being filled with more disgusting noises than usual. Needless to say Cat was creeped out by it and was far more enthralled with her My Little Pony that had ‘flowers on it’s butt Mommy.’
I’m not sure her My Little Pony is any less disturbing, but for some reason I feel a bit better that she chose the pony over the cat. Pony trumps Cat…hurray!!!