For parents who did not grow up with technology, it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate the current media landscape and model healthy habits for kids. Some parents have a tough time figuring out how to use the latest gadgets or even know what they are. While others have embraced technology. However, today’s kids view technology as an integral part of their lives. Thus, an overwhelming number of parents struggle with how to strike the right balance between plugging-in and unplugging when it comes to their children—and sometimes themselves.
“Dot.,” a new animated series for NBC’s Sprout created by local mom (and former New York Family cover mom) Randi Zuckerberg, shows parents how to adapt to new technologies and children how to use it responsibly. The series is based on Zuckerberg’s best-selling 2013 children’s book also called Dot. Zuckerberg created Dot. to “help educate parents and kids about the importance of balance when it comes to technology.”
The character Dot is a tech-savvy spunky 8-year-old girl with curls in her hair who uses technology to help fuel her imagination and curiosity about the world she lives in. She goes on fun-filled exploratory adventures with her family, friends, and beloved dog. All with the help of technology!
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The show appeals to the entire family and teaches valuable lessons to both parents and children. In the premiere episode, the group goes on a scavenger hunt in the forest to earn their Rangeroo badges. Dot uses her iPad to identify animals, trees, and to take pictures. Initially, her dad is resistant to using the iPad and wants Dot to use her eyes and wit. Moments later he is playfully “testing” an app to see whether it can identify the pile of leaves he stepped in. Unbeknownst to him, it’s poison ivy. The app told him! At the end of the episode, Dot and her dad reflect on the benefits of technology, the “eyeball” test, and how both are useful. And they always make sure to unplug.
Beyond serving as a resource for parents and children, Zuckerberg created Dot. to help change the face of Silicon Valley. Zuckerberg wants to inspire young girls to get involved in technology, math, and science and to encourage diversity in the tech world. Both aspects are reflected in the show.
“Dot.” is the first animated series by Zuckerberg, the executive producer. She’s the founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and editor-in-chief of DotComplicated.co.
The series airs on the Sprout network, a 24-hour network for preschoolers that’s part of the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. Each episode is 22 minutes long comprised of two shows that are 11 minutes each. With eye-catching visuals, relatable characters, and speedy dialogue, the show is sure to be an instant hit with the family.