Toddlers need minimal TV exposure. Real life experience is far superior to any early childhood teaching they will receive on TV. If you feel there is programming on TV that would benefit your toddler, never use it as a babysitter. You should watch the programs with your toddler and interact with the child the whole time.
Even educational TV is limited in value without parental involvement. I remember watching Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street with my children. These were pretty good programs for children. Even Sesame Street addressed some issues that were a little mature for the young toddler. You need to be on hand to hear and see these areas so that they can be further discussed.
Some of these programs are now venturing into the arena of the correct social response to sexual orientation, such as, same sex unions. Depending on your personal perspective on issues like this, you may find this enlightening or offensive. These programs routinely deal with other issues like death, situational ethics, and a host of other controversial or adult issues. Without your input, your child may be overly influenced in directions that are not acceptable to you.
Many cartoons are not fit for children or adults. Some even carry adult themes and cloaked religious innuendo. At the toddler age, their understanding is not sufficient to handle this level of material and misunderstandings can grow. I can recall hearing a Smurf say that “demons aren’t always bad.” Now, in some places that may be fine, but around my house that didn’t fly too well. Your personal opinion may differ from mine, but other things may be said or done that deserve your attention.
At best, television will give a slanted view of life in it’s regular programming. These shows are intended to entertain adults not children. Very few programs convey the idea of a work ethic. Even if their characters do have jobs, they are rarely portrayed as really working. Scenes involving jobs are injected to give another opportunity for characters to interact not to show the value of honest work. Even when things are repossessed or broken or stolen, the real impact of such events are ignored for the purpose of the plot lines.
Overall, television sends very few signals that we want our toddlers receiving without supervision. As parents, it is important that we regard this activity as having built in dangers just as we do most other things our toddlers do. Toddlers need their parents more than they need any television program or video.