Surprised children of color and their parents watching tv at home. One girl is centered and in-focus and the others are blurred in the background.

See Jane 2022 TV – See It, Be It: What Children Are Seeing on TV

Since 2004, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has advocated for greater inclusion and better representation in global entertainment media through research and advocacy. In our effort to continue to move the needle forward, we analyzed the inclusion and representation of six groups (women, people of color, queer people, people with disabilities, people ages 50 and older, and people who are fat) in two different types of media content. First, we looked at inclusion and representation in popular programming with children ages 2 to 11 according to Nielsen metrics, which includes the 10 most popular broadcast, cable, and streaming shows, inclusive of Spanish-language programming. Second, we analyzed inclusion and representation in current children’s programming, including shows that premiered in 2021 and shows that didn’t premiere in 2021 but were still airing new seasons. In this full report, we look at differences in representation and inclusion within each type of media content, as well as compare across these formats. We refer to them as popular and current, and split out new content from current content, occasionally.

We focus on popular programming because, as frequent consumers of scripted TV shows, we think it is critical to understand what young people are seeing. As ample research has found, the effects of media on the social, psychological, and physical development of children is profound. We focus on current programming to get a sense of how the entertainment industry is responding to calls for more diverse and dynamic children’s content. Audiences seek out content that tells their stories, and we need more diverse storytelling and characters to meet that demand. Moreover, programs with more diverse casts yield higher audience ratings, compared with programs with less diverse casts. The analysis of inclusion and representation in current (and new) programming will serve as a benchmark to track further change and progress in television media made for children.

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