Of course there are a few engaging shows and shows I would argue are high quality and at least midly stimulating. They deserve credit. But I'm not all that convinced most of those contribute to a child's education either.
And everything a child is exposed to on television should be considered educational. Absolutely everything. At a young age, they are soaking up information like a sponge. Sure, they won't remember most of it, but their world view is forming. Their patterns of behaviour developing.
So it's not about whether or not they learn something from a show. They are learning. Take that as a given. It's about what they learn.
Niffiwan made a comment in this earlier post of mine and, in it, he linked me to this article. It's an essay by Russian director, Aleksandr Tatarskiy, written in 1986. It's a really interesting read and this part hit home:
"Understand that if you feed a child food which need not be chewed and which is too easily digested, his stomach will atrophy! And if you feed him primitive sham-cartoons which require no mental efforts, which revel in their lack of understanding of the true intellectual and emotional capacities of a little person, and lack a clear, identifiable artistic form, another very important organ could atrophy - the head."
And, over twenty years later, what have we got? My Friends Tigger & Pooh. Cartoon-induced comas. What's up? What is going wrong? How is it that young children, one of the most important demographics, one of the most fragile, the one that will soak in the most information, that is setting up patterns for how they will live their lives, are being subjected to bland, insipid nothing shows?
Isn't it about time we aimed higher?