I have zero background in psychology, and only slightly more experience with children.

But as someone who was once a child, and who is consistenly confused by the media created explicitly for children, I wonder why it exists. In particular, is such media proven to be better developmentally for a child than, say, a relatively clean sitcom designed with no particular age group in mind? Or is "Baby Shark" better than the indie electro-pop on my iPod?

I understand why children's books exist-- they actually help isolate aspects of a language to assist with the reading component of linguistic mastery. But this principle doesn't extend so cleanly to audiovisual forms of media, since a child can more easily passively glean from such content (as they already do in day-to-day life when adults have conversations around them).

It would be awesome if your answer included some research-- being outside the field, I struggled to find sources myself.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. This sounds like an interesting question, but I recommend narrowing down the scope, or you may not get what you are looking for. There is a lot of media "designed" for children, but not all of it is created with their benefit in mind. For example, McDonald's ads are very effective at targeting children, and many TV shows and songs are primarily concerned with ratings. Compare that to PBS programs such as Sesame Street, that carefully curates content for children's actual benefit. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 8, 2020 at 17:26
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    $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg Though it doesn't really change the spirit of your comment, it may be worth noting that Sesame Street is now first-run on HBO rather than PBS. I'm not sure whether this has been associated with any shifts in content or quality, however it does represent a shift from providing educational content in particular to children who lack close parental education towards premium content that parents subscribe to. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 8, 2020 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg I didn't mention ads in my question, and rewriting the question with the assumption that PBS programs are beneficial is a logical fallacy, since I'm asking if such programs are beneficial. Your comment is in fact the nugget of the answer I'm seeking-- if you can back up your claims with some sources, I'll take it. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2020 at 8:53
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    $\begingroup$ @artificial_moonlet I think Arnon's point is that your question, as-is, seems too broad. "TV shows and songs designed for children" includes things that are explicitly intended to be advertisements. If you don't mean these, but rather shows intended or marketed to be educational, then you should make that the emphasis of the question. Basically, you want to shape your question so that someone answering it won't go down a path you didn't intend. It's frustrating to put a lot of effort into such an answer and then have an OP say "oh I didn't mean that." $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Jan 9, 2020 at 9:27
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause But I do mean all those things. Even the ones that are secretly advertisements but pretend to be educational. $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2020 at 9:02


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