Disney: Teaching lessons to our future generations

Disney and Nickelodeon have always been rivals. Growing up, children are classified as either a Disney Channel or Nickelodeon kid. I was a Nickelodeon kid, but as I grew up, it occurred to me that the topics Disney covered were more relevant and relatable.

While Nickelodeon had more shows and movies that were funny and comical, Disney discussed racism, body image, autism and many other heavy topics. As a kid, it is hard to pick up on these touchy subjects, but Disney did a fantastic job at breaking each one down in a kid-friendly manner.

Nickelodeon has produced great shows, but they are not taken as seriously. For example, the entertaining boy band show, “Big Time Rush” is fun, but not likely or relateable.How many boys from Minnesota do you know that moved to Hollywood to become pop stars?  There are some hidden messages within the shows about life, but does not compare to the way Disney displays their hidden meanings.

From Disney, a show called “That’s So Raven,” covered the topic of racism. Main character, Raven – played by Raven-Symoné – auditioned to be a model, but was turned down because of the color of her skin. Later on in the episode, she went back and proved the agency wrong. 

Furthermore, “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” showed how girls of all ages have body dysmorphia and insecurities. The two lead girls in the show, Maddie (Ashley Tisdale), and London (Brenda Song), were in a fashion show. London thought she was too big, while Maddie thought she was too thin. They soon realized how beautiful they were and self-love was more important. Autism, a developmental disability, was also briefly touched on in the show “Girl Meets World.” Farkle tells his friends that he is on the spectrum for autism, and everyone was extremely accepting of him, willing to help him out in any way they could.

While these topics are important, the shows only covered serious subjects once in a while. One show that stands out from Disney was “Boy Meets World” – released back in 1993. The show covered subjects such as substance abuse, misconduct, double standards and many other societal issues.. Of course, there are lighthearted episodes as well, but they covered so many rising topics at the time that are even still relevant in today’s world.

I am not shaming Nickelodeon or downplaying their shows, both channels had great content and media but Disney did a better job with sending the message to full effect.Nickelodeon shows that come to mind when talking about shows for just entertainment purposes are “Drake and Josh,” “Victorious,” “The Thundermans” and “iCarly.” These shows were perfect for a good laugh, but the Disney Channel ran shows with true meaning and overall lessons to them.

Nowadays, it is rare to find shows touching on important societal topics on children’s television channels. Teens and children should be aware of what is going on in the world around them. We cannot hide our younger generations from everything, it’s best to expose them so they can learn.

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