Today marks the 53rd anniversary of Sesame Street on public television. It was inaugurated in 1969 to counter a previous decade of ugly cartoon television programming that featured extensive violence. Children were averaging 27 hours a week soaking up inappropriate behavior. Sesame Street offered on public television was structured to teach children basics of behavior as well as simple language and math skills. In the context of my family I had children born in the 1960's who did not have the benefit of this show. My son was especially behaviorally influenced by the cartoon. I remember that Popeye stoked him up so much that I was concerned about how much of that roughhousing would rub off on him in his interaction with other children.
All of this leads me to thinking about the environmental changes for each generation of children. I grew up in the early 40's in the radio era. We had comic books and adventurous radio serials. With radio being the dominant entertainment we were left to our own imagination rather than graphic visuals. Movies filled the role of television.
Generation by generation children will have different technologies to influence their behavior. In the era of cell phones and computers my grandchildren are being exposed to great wonders and great dangers. There will always be challenging parental management of their screen time and content. I hope that we as a society will seek the best for the young minds we are entrusted with.