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Sesame Street Turns 35 - Part 3
The trailblazing children’s TV show enters middle age with bold changes aimed at keeping it at the top.
The Youngest Viewer
Joseph Mazzucca clutches his helium-filled Elmo balloon and snuggles into his dad’s shoulder. The youngest of five, the 17-month-old toddler is waiting for his family to finish their meal at a popular fast-food restaurant.
Does Joseph watch Sesame Street because he’s been influenced by his older brothers and sisters? “No,” the other four Mazzucca youngsters say, shaking their heads. “Joseph likes Sesame Street much more than any of the other kids ever did.
It’s his show,” says their mom, Stephanie.
As an under-age-2 viewer, he’s not alone. Across the dining room, 14-month-old Cole Kornbluth plays with his Elmo placemat. Cole is a big Sesame Street fan, and he loves Elmo’s voice, say his proud parents.
There is plenty of evidence that children are watching TV and using other media at significantly earlier ages, Anderson says. “Videos are being produced for babies,” he notes.
Without a doubt, technology has changed our children’s world. “We live in a media-entrenched society,” says Knell. “Kids are much more sophisticated because they’ve been exposed to so many different media choices.”
Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend TV for children under age 2. Is there something parents don’t know?