An Article by English Department Student, Arya Wiguna

Television has been around for a very long time. It is arguably one of the most common sources of information and entertainment for so many people, especially here in Indonesia. Back in the day, television channels in Indonesia provided people with so many categories of programs, ranging from news, soap operas, music, films, and children. But as the time goes by, the children’s programs category is becoming less and less. These days, some of the channels do not even provide children’s programs anymore. This can affect how the children watch television in this modern era. As the programs for their ages are disappearing, the children might watch other programs that are not suitable for them. Why are the children’s programs disappearing? There are three main reasons behind this issue.

The first reason is the shifting focus of television channels from making high quality programs to making as much profit as they can. This leads to more shows like soap operas and slapstick comedies which are mostly bad in quality, if not all, and somehow get more ratings and revenue for the channels. It eventually leads to the demise of other kinds of programs that are not as profitable, although they have far better qualities than the shows that the channels are focusing on. Some of those programs, sadly, include children’s programs. The market itself tends to favour these low-quality shows that forces the channels to follow the market demand, forgetting the very existence of the slice of the market for children.

The second reason is the lack of interest towards children’s programs themselves. In this modern era, children seem to spend less time on television than any other activities. They tend to spend more time studying, doing courses, or playing gadgets. Modern era parents are also quite restrictive about how much time their children can spend watching television. Because of that, less and less children actually watch children’s programs, which finally translates to the lack of interest. This lack of interest finally makes the channels not continue making that kind of programs.

The third reason is the popularity of cable television. Cable television providers are now able to give many more varieties of children’s programs compared to traditional free-to-air televisions. Some of the children’s channels are even 24 hours, which can serve the children more than enough. This somehow eats up the share of free-to-air children’s programs, which finally makes them reluctant to continue making them. However, not everyone can actually have a cable TV service. In the end, the decision that the free-to-air channels take alienates the viewers who do not have the luxury of cable TV, and it finally makes their children not be able to enjoy the programs that suitable for them anymore.

The children’s programs are important for the children so that they can watch something that suitable, useful, and educative for themselves. However, because of the profit-making mentality that is driven by market demand, the lack of interest by children in this era who spend their time with something else other than watching television, and the rise of popularity of cable television, the children’s programs are finally disappearing, for better or worse.