Looking for Quality Children’s Television? Check Out These Shows
Common Sense Media honors 25 TV series and specials for “exceptional media experiences”
There’s no shortage of children’s TV programming. From ABC Kids to PBS to Nickelodeon to the Disney Channel, many networks vie for your kids’ attention when you allow those precious few hours of screen time. But how much of what’s available is quality content vs. animated gibberish or inappropriate or even offensive fare? And how can you find the good stuff without spending hours surfing through a sea of cartoons and sitcoms?
Common Sense Media offers one solution. The nonprofit, which is “dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology,” recently announced a list of new TV series and specials that offer “unique or exceptional media experiences” for families with kids. These shows earned the Common Sense Seal.
Here are a few of the shows that made the list:
- "Descendants" (TV movie) on Disney
- "Fresh Off the Boat" on ABC
- "Nina's World" on Sprout
- "Thomas & Friends: The Adventure Begins" (TV special) on PBS
- "Fresh Beat Band of Spies" on Nick Jr.
- "We Bare Bears" on Cartoon Network
- "Book of Negroes" (TV miniseries) on BET
- "Wishenpoof!" on Amazon Prime
"The proliferation of platforms and cable networks has made it a very complex media landscape for families to navigate," said Jim Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense said in a press release. "There's a lot of content being created, but the quality isn't always there. For families with young teens especially, the options, this year, are few and far between."
The organization made their picks based on entertainment value, engagement and impact, as well as worthwhile themes, messages and role models. (As anyone who’s ever watched an episode of “Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse” or “Winx Club” can attest, positive role models are in short supply.)
Eleven of the 25 seal winners are aimed at preschoolers ages 2 to 4; five are for kids ages 5 to 7. Common Sense Media called out Netflix in particular, saying they have “more new, quality series for kids in their 2015 lineup than any other platform, broadcast channel, or cable network across all age groups, from preschoolers (age 2–4) to young teens (age 13+).”
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"We're honored to be in such great company and have six of our original TV series receive the Common Sense Media Seal for TV," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, in a press release. "We're proud of the diverse slate we've created for families, from “Puffin Rock” and “Dinotrux” for younger kids to “Project MC2” and “Dragons: Race to the Edge” for older kids, and even “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which both teens and their parents are loving."
Of the shows that air on cable, Disney-owned channels received the most recognition, with The Disney Channel earning five seals and Disney-owned ABC garnering two.
"The Disney brand is built on the foundation of trust that we have established with parents and families around the world," said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, said in a press release. "This recognition by Common Sense Media further underscores the fact that we continue to deliver on that trust."
To see the complete list of winners, go to Common Sense Media’s website.