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Don't Use Your Words!Children's Emotions in a Networked World$
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Jane Juffer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479831746

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479831746.001.0001

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TV’s Narratives for Emotional Management

TV’s Narratives for Emotional Management

(p.142) 5 TV’s Narratives for Emotional Management
Don't Use Your Words!

Jane Juffer

NYU Press

This chapter argues that much programming for younger children on Nick Jr., Disney Jr., and PBS encourages them to manage their emotions and limit their affective, bodily responses through a focus on problem solving. These shows also advocate empathy and tolerance, teaching kids how to recognize and respond to others’ feelings. Many shows segue from emotional management to an appreciation of difference, thus contributing to the wider discourse of diversity management. In a stark shift from the years when television was seen as harming children’s development, many therapists now urge parents to use television to help their children learn prosocial behavior. However, television cannot be homogenized; a genre of “sideways growth” programming encourages kids to defy proper behavior, to revel in their bodies, and to occupy spaces of intensely affective pleasure. These shows interrupt the linear narratives that characterize problem-solving approaches and thus introduce the idea of alternative modes of communication.

Keywords:   Nick Jr., Disney Jr., diversity, PBS, problem solving

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