Are kids TV shows less relatable?

Over the past few decades, it is easy to say that television has become more prominent in our lives. If you were to ask anyone from any era, they would proudly say that the television shows from their childhood are better than what is on television now, and from what is shown on channels like Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel, it is not hard to see why so many people think this way.

In the 90’s, shows like “Saved by the Bell” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” were extremely popular. These shows were some of the funniest around, but on top of their sitcom styled humor, they also dealt with real world problems that effected many teens both then and now. In an episode of “Saved by the Bell”, entitled “Jessie’s Song”, the character Jessie is shown abusing caffeine pills so she can stay awake for school and personal activities. In an episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, entitled “Papa’s got a Brand New Excuse”, the character Will expresses his true emotions towards his father, who has reemerged after not being present Will’s whole life.

In the early 2000’s, we watched shows like “Lizzie McGuire” and “That’s So Raven”. Much like shows from the 90’s, these shows would always make room to talk about issues that effected the lives of the teens that watched them. “Lizzie McGuire” had several episodes that dealt heavily with bullying, mostly from Lizzie’s “ex-best friend”, Kate Sanders. There is even an entire episode of “That’s So Raven” that shows racism in the workplace, even against teenagers who are just looking for their first job.

Now, two of the most popular shows on The Disney Channel are “A.N.T. Farm” and “Dog with a Blog”. “Dog with a Blog” centers around a speaking dog with the ability to type, who just so happens to run a blog. Truly innovative. While “Dog with a Blog” is highly unrealistic, so was “That’s So Raven”. It is obvious that no one can see into the future, but the show still took time to handle real world issues, “Dog with a Blog” however, has not. The plot of “A.N.T. Farm” revolves around a normal high school that has a special program for gifted and talented 10-13 year olds. The main character goes around singing and winning over older students at the school, but I do not think that most real high school students would be impressed with a singing dancing 11 year old.

However, not all kids shows on television now are terrible. The popular show “Good Luck Charlie” was the first Disney Channel show to have an openly gay couple on it, which just 20 years ago, would have been unheard of.

Television has come a long way over the years, but compared to what I grew up watching, television now is no match. It does not convey the same effort to educate children on things that they may encounter in real life. Now, shows will take characters with unrealistic circumstances, put them in unrealistic situations, and allow for 11-year-olds to look at this and expect their lives to be the same. Children should be watching shows that can teach them things that they may face in their day to day lives, and the television shows they are watching now is not going to do that.