Someone who works with Netflix reached out to me not long ago and asked if I wanted to join their “stream team,” which I likened to being on a “dream team,” because I excel at watching movies at home, given how much cheaper it is now that our resident sitter has left to pursue higher education, and the neighbors’ kids expect $12-$15 per hour. They sent me a roku 3 box, which I wasn’t sure we needed, since we already have an Apple TV, and our one household TV is a “smart” TV, but upon hooking up the roku thingy, I saw that the interface was better than it is when we use Netflix through the TV, and by using an HDMI cord from the roku box to the receiver (instead of streaming shows and films directly to the TV), we actually benefit from the DTS sound receiver and quality speakers I have in our den instead of relying on the crappy TV speakers.
But that’s not what they want me to discuss here.
I decided to join the “stream team,” because the project description indicated I could have some influence over future kids’ programing from Netflix, and given the frequency that our 3 little ones watch Netflix (especially during the winter), learning about kid-friendly programming and helping to develop future such content was/is important to me, more so than some free hardware and a free 1-year subscription to Netflix would be, since we’ve been Netflix customers for years and years already.
But that’s actually not what I’m supposed to write about this month, either.
This month, we were to review scientific programming for children. This took no special effort for us, as two of the suggested shows are already sources of entertainment for my offspring: “Wild Kratts” and “The Magic School Bus.” Particularly with the former, I’ve seen my 3-year-old, 5-year-old, and 7-year-old show more interest in, and display more trivial (but impressive) knowledge in, biology and ecology than I would have anticipated in children their age.
This has benefits to our family. For example, my children know not to play with snakes as a result of programming featuring the danger in doing so, a lesson I learned by bringing home a baby copperhead from the woods when I was 7 and having my mother show me pictures of venomous snakes in the encyclopedia (this followed the shrills of “Get that thing out of my house!”). My son won’t do that, see, because he knows that baby snakes can have fangs full of poison, too!
Thank you, Wild Kratts, for teaching us that animals–while interesting to watch and tasty to eat–are not always our friends. If scientific programming keeps us from the emergency room, I want as much as we can get.