28 August 2010

What is Dora Really Exploring and Should Your Children be Exposed to It?

It's no secret that the Nickelodeon cartoon, Dora the Explorer is all the rage among children. I don't even have kids and I tire of seeing all of the Dora gear when I'm shopping for my nephew. I never actually watched an entire episode of the show, but it has always given me an uneasy feeling. I've attributed this to the fact that most cartoons give me the creeps and since I'm not directly affected by the Dora phenomenon, I haven't lost any sleep over the show's success. But this morning I saw this article over at Yahoo and it reminded me of a television show I saw a couple of weeks ago. As Dora the Explorer celebrates its 10th anniversary, the Associated Press reports:

'Dora The Explorer' may change a whole generation

 Fri Aug 27, 2:49 AM PDT

Don't underestimate her just because she's a little girl. "Dora The Explorer" is a multibillion-dollar franchise that may be creating a more enlightened generation, more open to different people and cultures not their own.
"Dora" has aired against the backdrop of the immigration debate. When the new Arizona law was announced, a photo of Dora behind bars as a suspected illegal immigrant made the rounds on the Internet. 
Such is the influence of Dora, Cortes said, that future fans could affect the political future of America. A 5-year-old viewer in 2000 is now 15. 
"It will be another three years until they go to college and be able to vote, and I think we may see a difference. You can't be certain, but our hope is that young people of all backgrounds will be more open," he said. "If Dora can do that, her impact is unimaginable." 
Most parents love Dora because it supposedly challenges their children with problems to solve. It also doesn't hurt that the character of Dora is actually fully clothed, unlike so many of the other popular cartoons of today! But what else is Dora teaching your children? Did it ever occur to you that this seemingly innocent show may be teaching theology? Well it is, but it's not teaching them biblical theology by any means.

I don't watch a lot of television. When I do sit down for a few minutes of mindless entertainment, I will turn on one of two types of shows: I will either watch reruns of old classics such as I Love Lucy or The Dick Van Dyke Show or Father Knows Best or My Three Sons, or I will turn on an episode of Food Network Challenge, so long as the challenge for the week is some sort of dessert. A couple of weeks ago the theme for the show was "Dora the Explorer Cakes" in celebration of Dora's 10th anniversary. Each contestant had to represent a particular episode of Dora the Explorer in cake. Consequently, the viewer was offered a brief explanation of each of the competing Dora episodes. I was astonished. Let me share two of the four episodes that were featured on this episode of Food Network Challenge. It will give you an idea of what Dora the Explorer has been teaching your children.

Episode: "Dora Saves the Mermaid:" A mean octopus is destroying and polluting the ocean. Dora has to restore cleanliness and peace to the mermaid kingdom. Yes, Dora is teaching your children about the Green religion. Can you guess what special item had to be included on this cake in order for it to qualify for judging? You guessed it, a recycle bin! You see, in this episode, Dora puts some recyclable trash into a recycle bin and then proceeds to explain to her companion, Boots, how to recycle. Yes, we must save the earth from all of this pollution otherwise it will surely disintegrate beneath our very feet! This earth will be destroyed, all right, but it won't be because I threw my plastic water bottle into the regular trash can, it will be because God Himself has judged it with fire.
"But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly." 2 Peter 3:7
Episode: "Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom:" I want to quote this episode description directly from the show, "The crystals are the life of the kingdom and the greedy king wants the crystals for himself. So there's this adventurous little girl named Allie and Dora helps Allie and they go on a long scavenger hunt to find the crystals." The special item that must be included on this cake? Why, the four crystals from the Dora episode, of course! Hm, it seems to me that Dora has been exploring a little bit of New Age beliefs and practices! But teaching your children about magical crystals that are "the life of the kingdom" is surely harmless...isn't it? You tell me.
19 "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:19-24
I'm sure there are some reading this and thinking "Okay, but you don't have any children, who are you to tell us how to parent?" Well, I'm not telling you how to parent, I'm telling you to be aware of what your children are taking into their minds and their hearts. I'm under no illusions--I am aware of how difficult it must be to raise children in this wicked, fallen world. That's why I am so thankful that I don't have children nor do I have the desire to ever have children. Parents, you must stand firm and fast on the truth of God's Word. Your children don't need to have Dora the Explorer to get through the day. Don't compromise your child's precious, impressionable thoughts in order that you may have 30 minutes of "me time." A godly house should not allow such ungodly teachings into its living room.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.