For those of you that don't know, Dora the Explorer is one of the current kid crazes. It is an animated television series aimed at pre-school age children. The main character, Dora, is a seven-year-old Latina girl who goes on adventures with her special backpack, map, and monkey named Boots. Children are encouraged to respond to Dora throughout the show as she problem solves teaching kids math, music and other concepts you would see on any kid show. But what sets it apart for me is that Dora also teaches kids words and phrases in Spanish.
Like any phenomenon in the children's world, marketers have taken Dora to the extreme. You can find pretty much anything with the Dora characters on them. But until recently, I thought the show itself was pretty innocent.
On Dora's show there is a character named Swiper (a fox) that likes to steal things. Dora often catches him in the act and stands with feet apart, arm extended, waving her palm at Swiper saying, "Swiper, No swiping." This saves the day as she has caught Swiper in the act.
This weekend, while we were at the wedding and catching up with friends, their almost 2-year-old boy was playing on the stairs near us with his grandma's cell phone. A few minutes later, grandma came to look for the cell phone and asked him if she could have it back. The little boy, immediately stood up and went into the "Swiper, no swiping" pose to fend off his grandma! A modern day version of "mine!" Grandma finally gave up and asked him if he wanted to go with her downstairs, and happily he left with her, cell phone still clutched in his little hand.
So parents out there with children watching Dora, beware!