Technology and the use of screens to help entertain children has become common among parents in my generation. I’m not afraid to admit that my iPhone has, at times served as a calming agent for my children in times of high “child combustion” type of atmospheres. For example, if you’re in a basement reception hall with no natural lighting, nice table clothes, wedding food, zero toys and severely cramped spaces this is usually what parents would call a “child combustible situation” where any child, no matter how well mannered will begin to self-destruct and go into fits of pent up craziness due to the conditions perfectly placed to cause such a reaction.
So, if technology and the use of screens is so prevalent, what are the kids watching and playing? As a Daddy, I’ve become privy to a slew of things that try to bombard my children to fill them with a system of beliefs. These things come in the way of media mostly: TV shows, movies, games, toys, commercials, and the internet. These outlets try to, in many ways manipulate and shape the young minds that flock to them for entertainment.
This awareness has caused me to be very cautious with what I allow my children to be exposed to. If you were to actually sit down and watch some of the shows and play some of the games for KIDS you would be shocked at the world views being sold as truth to these young, moldable minds. When my kids want to watch a new show or play a new game, and it’s age-appropriate I will sit and watch it with them. Being present during these times is key in the lives of our children. It shows them we want to be with them as well as communicates that we care what they are doing.
Too many times, parents (and I’ve done this as well) use the screens in their lives to be babysitters without actually taking the time to see what their kids are doing. If I left my 5 year old unsupervised for too long with my iPad, he could do and watch anything I could find. He is truly a tech genius at his age and shouldn’t be left to his own devices with technology too long. I know this because I’ve accidentally left him too long with my iPad without checking on him and he was there trying to buy new games, and would have spent my money on games had he known the password! That was my wake-up call to being present as best as I could as well as periodically checking in on him.
My wife and I have truly taken this seriously and have begun to look at shows that we would recommend without a hesitation. Here, on this blog, I will place different shows and games that we’ve found to be so good that we would take time to recommend them. Today’s “This Daddy Recommends” is a wonderful show called Doc McStuffins.
Doc McStuffins is a show about a 6-year old girl who can communicate with and fix her stuffed animals. She is the “toy doctor” who gives a diagnosis and determines how each broken toy then needs to get fixed. It’s a Disney Junior show.
Each show has a world view and a message they are trying to drive into the minds of children. Doc is no different. Here are the things this show is trying to shape into the minds and hearts of little kids.
1. Women can be amazing
Doc is a girl who is a doctor. Her mother is also a doctor, thus the inspiration she has to be one as well comes from her mom. As far as the viewer can tell the Dad is a stay at home dad who is very involved in the lives of his two kids. This show inspires little girls not to just seek to be a Princess who needs to be rescued by a handsome prince as so many shows about girls do. Rather it seeks to inspire little girls to be amazing and to desire to be more than the average girl. Doc is also dressed appropriately. You’d be surprised at how scantily clad girls are in some of these kids shows, but here Doc is the picture of modesty as well as the picture of strength.
2. Black Women can be amazing
This show doesn’t just take on the stereotypes against women, but takes the stereotypes against black women on as well. I love that my little girl looks up to someone who is different than her. She sleeps with a Doc doll at night, has Doc jammies and even now has Doc sheets. Doc in her little world is a hero and to have a black girl be a hero for my little white girl excites me to no end! It is something that has never really happened before in our society and is helping shape the future against racism that we in our culture so desperately need. Some might say Dora and Diego helped along this path and to some extent I would definitely agree. However, the things Dora and Diego did were not based on any reality and the parents were peripherally involved. Here we see a good connection to reality as well as parental involvement.
3. Being Smart is OK
One thing I’ve noticed in many shows is that being smart is nerdy, but being rough and tough or a jock is cool. This show highlights that intelligence is fun! Pretending is OK. Imagination and problem solving are positive things, rather than things to be mocked. America is in big trouble as it pertains to the IQ levels of our average students. Much of this is because in many ways American children consume media that mocks or ignores the importance of intelligence.
Lastly, I recommend this show because it is not annoying. Many kids shows are really annoying. Dora and the map made me want to scream. Yo Gabba Gabba caused me to desire a blockage in my ears and there are several other shows out there that drive parents crazy. Doc McStuffins is tolerable and although you will always be able to predict the outcome, it is really a cute show.
Be on the look out for more: “This Daddy Recommends…”