Over the weekend, I was alerted to a huge conspiracy that I’ll call Nick Jr.Gate that is apparently affecting thousands of parents who are very upset. Let me preface this post by saying that after I learned of the details of why parents and their kids are upset, I found myself siding with them, which is mostly beside the point. But just for a little background: Nick Jr. - Nickelodeon’s kid sibling that is aimed at pre-schoolers - rolled out a new programming schedule several days ago without much (if any) warning. The old programming featured characters beloved by children like Moose and Zee that taught educational lessons and words in-between shows, and the new line-up features a lot of Dora The Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! and other programs that parents hate because they’re more commercial and not as educational. In other words, parents feel like Nick Jr. has “sold out,” and I don’t really blame them.
HOWEVER, if you take a look at the Nick Jr. Facebook page, it reads like these changes are the absolute end of the world for irate parents and their children. And while I do agree with the thrust of their argument, I also think it’s a little over-the-top. First, there are so many comments “taking over” the page that I could only read Thursday-Saturday in the many, many minutes I sat reading through the page. Second, some people are so heated, you’d think Nick Jr. was promoting child slavery. I think it’s great that parents want the best for their kids, including educational programming on channels like Nick Jr., but if more parents threw a fit like this over other, even more important subjects like educational funding, what goes into school lunches, teacher layoffs, etc. then perhaps this Facebook outrage and Nick Jr. boycott wouldn’t seem so ridiculous. Plus, as people have mentioned, the shows that have been cancelled are available on YouTube and DVD, and there are other networks like PBS that offer educational programming suited for pre-schoolers.
This is all to say that I read the Nick Jr. page with equal parts amusement and sympathy and decided to share my findings with you in a three-part series of round-ups. First, a lesson in 21st century protesting. Here’s how to do it (keeping in mind that Nick Jr. has remained mum up to this point):
3. Virtual Sit-Ins
6. Occupy Viacom Threats
8. Contacting Local News
*Note: I don’t know what “make them talk!!!!” means in this context, but I’m imagining an earlier bed time, NO candy plus several minutes of uninterrupted time-out for Viacom executives if they don’t shape up in accordance to parents’ demands.
9. Contacting Bigoted Crazy People + Changing One’s Avatar
Up next, a round-up of parent reactions to the new Nick Jr. format. Stay tuned!
Related: Cleveland, We Have a Problem.