"Sesame Street," the children’s show that began running in 1969, has often addressed challenges children face in today’s world. Last week the show aired an episode titled “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration,” which introduced the first muppet to have a parent in jail.
“Incarcerated is when someone breaks the law — a grown up rule — and then they have to go to jail or prison,” Sofia, a human character on Sesame Street, explained to two other muppet characters in the episode.
The show is targeted toward young children, many of whom face the hardships of incarceration firsthand. According to a study done by Pew Charitable Trusts, one in every 28 American children (or 3.6 percent) have a parent incarcerated, which is higher than children with a deployed parent. The report says that number is up from one in 125 from 25 years ago.
Some believe that children feel more comfortable hearing tough news from Sesame Street’s muppets.
“Coming from a muppet, it’s almost another child telling their story to children,” said Jeanette Betancourt, V.P. of Outreach and Educational Practices, Sesame Workshop, in an interview with TODAY.
Others saw the introduction of incarceration on the children’s show a sad reflection of the state of the country, not Sesame Street itself.
"Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail,” said Mike Riggs, a blogger for Reason Magazine.
Sesame Street’s incarceration episode aims to teach children how to cope with their range of emotions when a parent is in jail. The show’s website includes “Tool Kits” for parents, which are multimedia platforms with video clips, apps, tips and resources for how to talk to a child about difficult topics.
The Tool Kit website reads, “Have you ever wished that your child came with an instruction manual? Sesame Street Tool Kits are the next best things. They provide opportunities to build closeness and confidence, make learning fun, and keep your child's world safe and secure.”
- When Satan steals your motherhood
- Celebrities and their kids: Family is still...
- Community comes together to surprise...
- Man killed in avalanche had a passion for...
- Are millennials really the generation we...
- Salt Lake father-son team take first in 3rd...
- How new research on chemicals in household...
- Girls who play with Barbie may not see their...
- When Satan steals your motherhood 46
- The rough road of single motherhood... 11
- Instead of 'Game of Thrones,' there are... 11
- 'Pay the price or go dark': Going... 9
- Lehi airman pulls off 'Operation... 9
- Kids are still reading 'Calvin and Hobbes' 7
- Doug Robinson: Reuniting families... 6
- 'Noah' banned in three countries weeks... 5