If violence and immorality on TV affect young children in negative ways, then nonviolent, moral TV programming must affect young children in positive ways.
It is for this and other reasons I have decided to come out of the closet and go on record as a parent who supports Barney - you know, the purple dinosaur that brings ire to the hearts of thousands of American adults.I realize by taking this position, I'm opening myself up for ridicule and persecution. But I would be amiss if I didn't vocalize my support for the program.
As a parent of a 21-month-old child who picks up on just about everything, I am grateful that she has found an attraction to Barney. He teaches good, sound principles of health, safety, imagination and does so through actitivies, games and, most of all, music.
If they would pay attention to what Barney's teaching, nearly all of the adult Barney bashers would know at least a song or two from the show. Most of them were taught those same songs, with a word or two changed, in school or Sunday School decades ago.
Barney is meant for young minds. He is simplistic, giddy and superdiduper. Even the smallest toddler can learn rhythm, colors, numbers and especially, good manners from the dinosaur and his backyard friends.
He obviously is a big hit. KBYU, Channel 11, shows Barney four times a day.
There are many other things out there my toddler could be looking at, such as fighting Ninja Turtles or a number of other violent cartoons. Even some of the other PBS shows like "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and "Reading Rainbow" are geared for older children.
If young children could defend their rights, I'm sure we would find pro-Barney rallies and other activities to protest such antics as flashing Barney on the scoreboard to get a few boos from Jazz fans. Aren't we going a bit far?
Barney has been a great influence for good in many children's lives. During the World Trade Center bombing, it was reported that a group of schoolchildren trapped in an elevator calmed adults by innocently singing the Barney theme song, "I Love You, You Love Me." During that trauma, it was the voices of children singing a silly little song that helped the adults.
Just recently, a 2-year-old saved her mother's life because she had learned about 911 from the Barney show. She had memorized her address and could tell the dispatcher exactly what was wrong - thanks to Barney.
Barney is great for children, and that's who he was created for. It's just too bad that we adults don't have a nonviolent, good-mannered, moral and entertaining hero to follow - but that's another column.