Television has been around for over half a century. The first appearance of the television occurred during the World's Fair in 1939. However, regular broadcasting did not come into play until the late 1940s (Using TV Sensibly). Saturday morning children television shows were first aired by the American Broadcasting Company on August 19, 1950. The American Broadcasting Company presented two shows for children's viewing they were the Animal Clinic and Acrobat Ranch (Television History). Since then television shows for children developed slowly.

Programs were classified into several different categories. The categories were situation comedy, animated cartoons, children's variety programs and action adventure drama (Comstock 294). Programming was generally targeted to families generally because they pictured the American families sitting and viewing their television together.

During the1950s several shows were offered for children's viewing. Network schedules by 1951 included up to 27 hours of programs for children. Some of the shows that were feature were Howdy Doody and Kukla, Fran and Ollie (Children's Programming). The Columbia Broadcasting System aired animated cartoons such as "The Mighty Mouse Playhouse" which began in 1955(Television History).

In the 1960s networks featured weekend mornings filled with cartoons. Saturday morning cartoons were a tradition in many homes by the end of the decade (Television History). The 1970s offered extended shows for children such as Scooby Laff-a Lympics. These shows were created in order to increase audience flow across the entire morning. Children's programming in the 1980s was influenced by the rapid growth of the cable industry. Cartoons still remained to be the standard children's fare. The cable networks such as Disney and Nickelodeon primarily aimed their programming to children. As well as the other cable networks that offered children's programming like Discovery, Learning Channel, USA, TBS, the Family Channel and Lifetime have all experimented in programming for children. By the 1990s the Children's Television Act introduced many educational shows for children's viewing (Children's Programming).

Children's programming has changed dramatically over the past decades and today networks are still trying to improve their variety of children shows. The production of children's programming is a big business because these shows are almost always profitable. The reason for this is because the child audience changes rapidly and because children do not mind seeing reruns, so the programs are shown as many as four times in a year (Children's Programming).

The concern about the impact of television on children began when TV was in its infancy. By the early 1950s, parents, teachers and social scientists asked their legislators to do something about the harmful effects of television viewing (Using TV Sensibly).After this there has been a large-scale of academic research that have been mounted to monitor, analyze and explain the relationships between television and children. Thus, the significant policy decision was continued to be made based on the research shown and on the economic and political power that has brought these issues into play (Children's Programming).

The first congressional hearings which addressed violence took place in June 1952. During a long history of public regulatory debate on television, government commissions pursued the related agendas. The key to these interactions were the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and citizen's advocacy and action groups. The FCC intended to change a number of policies regarding children's programming. The FTC petitioned for regulation of advertising directed at children. The 1990 Children's Television Act was the first congressional act that was specifically meant to regulate children's television. Despite the numerous proposals the issues came up again in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Although with all these different legislative agendas the negative issues of children's television still arises (Children's Programming).


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