Could Disney Junior Turn Kids Into Zombies?

Lindsay Mannering

toddler watching TVDisney Junior, a Disney channel programming block targeting kids between ages two and seven, launched this week, forever replacing Playhouse Disney. The only cool thing I've read so far about the programming is that Ariel Winter, who plays the middle daughter on TV's funniest show, Modern Family, is the voice of a character on Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Love her.

Anyway, Disney Junior airs weekdays from 4am to 2pm (we're talking East Coast time) and 4am to 9am on weekends.

This Disney Junior block is an antecedent to a 24-hour, round the clock, never-ending channel of Disney shows set to start airing in 2012.

I think the Berenstain Bear's warned us about the perils of a Disney Junior 24-hour network in their classic tome: Too Much TV.

What do cartoon bears, who don't even have proper names, know about watching too much TV? (And no, the irony is not lost on me that I just linked to a clip of the TV show of the Berenstain Bears). Anyway, Sister Bear and Brother Bear love the TV but then Mama Bear says they can't watch it for a whole week! And the cubs freak out; they're so upset. Then by the end of the week, they've learned all about new birds outside and find a balance.

Right now Disney Junior forces that balance by limiting air time, but I'm wondering what happens when the stream of content is non-stop. I am genuinely curious because I don't have kids, and don't have any answers or guesses.

Do you think parents will use a 24-hour little kid network to calm kids when they're making dinner, instead of asking them to set the table and deal with the whining? To babysit their kids while they pay the bills online? To keep the kids happy just long enough for Mom and Dad to talk about the weekend plans? And would that be so bad?

I can remember being five and hating to set the table. Put up a fight every time. The only TV back then for me was like, the Snorks at 7am. It was Jeopardy or it was table-setting come 7pm, and for a young kid, the chore was the lesser or two evils because at least it allowed me a chance to sneak a bite of mashed potatoes. I didn't grow up with TV as an option, so I'm curious what Disney Junior means to parents these days.

Will a non-stop network targeted at 2-7 year-olds be a boon to parents, a bane on our children? I'm curious what parents think.

Photo via (N)Duran/Flickr

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