Regarding Kids TV
The real issue here, I think, is the passive consumption of media, and moreover, creators and critical viewers underestimating just how passive the average audience member is in their consumption of media.
In the book Nurture Shock, which is a child psychology book that identifies common parenting mistakes, the author spends a chapter on children’s television. The author specifically talks about how media designed to teach morals often backfires – children who watch morality lessons express *more* behavior problems and become *more* cruel.
Now the author says it’s because of how these programs are structured. First they depict bad behavior, and then they explain why the behavior is bad, showing consequences, and tying up the program with a moral.
Small children aren’t smart enough to understand the moral. Small children learn by emulating behavior they see. They see a bad behavior and they learn the bad behavior. Just exposing children to bad behavior is enough to make them internalize that the behavior is something lots of people do, and therefore something acceptable for people to do to do.
If you try to explain to them after the fact that the behavior is harmful and to be avoided, that message is too complicated and goes right over their heads. You can’t tell little kids “do as I say, not as I do.”
Now the author of this book says “small children aren’t old enough to understand the moral.”
But honestly? Adults have the exact same problem.