Children’s Television, U.S. History

As a separate genre, children’s television programming has its own history within the landscape of childhood studies, advertising, entertainment, and education. This entry briefly highlights the shift in children’s media options to include television, the introduction and role of child-oriented networks, and the shifting technologies and formats that promoted child viewing. Children’s television shows were initially modeled after children’s radio shows but quickly took their own pathway. Early shows cultivated a habit of viewership and independence in the child audience, using hosts, shorts, products, and messages that were both culturally approved and yet stimulated the notion of a child audience free of adult supervision. While commercialization and education would become a concern to scholars and educators, shifting the media to take on a more prosocial ...

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