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The Impact of Sesame Street: Why the Show Moving to HBO Max is Disappointing

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

Growing up, I distinctly remember the days where I’d be sitting on our old white leather sofa, snacking on carrots and eagerly waiting for Sesame Street to start. It was one of those few shows that always had something new and exciting to engage me with, from learning to count with the Count, to giggling with Elmo and his antics, the show elicited happiness and showed kids that learning can actually be fun.

Sesame Street has been running since 1969 has been accessible to all through the PBS channel but recently, it was revealed that the show will move to HBO Max, where parents will have to pay a monthly fee to watch the newer episodes.

This move faced blowback since the show has been such a huge source of free education and social and cognitive development for economically disadvantaged children. The show provided free means of education by teaching kids vocabulary, numbers, songs, art, and more. The show also helped kids build their social skills and promoted inclusive diversity, whether it be race or physical disabilities. By selling such a pivotal show funded by taxpayer dollars to a for-profit organization that makes it inaccessible to the lower class, it truly is a shame and undermines the initial purpose of the show.

A study from the University of Maryland displays that kids can learn as much from Sesame Street as they can from preschool. According to the same study, “After “Sesame Street” was introduced, children living in places where its broadcast could be more readily received saw a 14 percent drop in their likelihood of being behind in school,” demonstrating the impact of the show on developing minds. Sesame Street teaches kids the fundamentals of learning through storytelling and as a result, it develops their learning abilities.

While HBO has been playing Sesame Street since 2015, the new seasons will be exclusively played only on HBO Max. Reruns will appear on PBS nine months after they debut on HBO but the streaming service now has rights to all 50 seasons of the show. Although it is disheartening to see such a creative show people grew up watching lose its accessibility, its legacy will live on, making Sesame Street forever a cultural icon.

George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

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