DOT.Spring 2017 Television
Dot is an animated preschool series based on the book of the same name by New York Times best-selling author Randi Zuckerberg. She's the sister of Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and a tech expert and icon in her own right so it's no surprise that she created little Dot, an exuberant 8-year-old who is pretty tech-savvy, too. Dot is intended for ages 3 - 7 and the plots are pleasant and uncomplicated. Although there's plenty of tech in Dot's life - conjuring images from her tablet, optical head-mounted displays - there's a reasonable balance.
In the episode "Hello, Cello," Dot is discouraged by slow progress at her music lessons and even though she knows she needs to practice her cello, her friends are engaged in a rowdy AR game that she longs to join. She gives into temptation and ditches the cello to play with her friends but her success there helps her realize that practice makes perfect and she returns to her cello lessons with renewed vigor.
In "A Song for Everyone," Dot sets out to write a song for the school's Winter Concert. At first, she thinks she'll sing about Christmas and Hanukkah (Dot's family celebrates both) but her parents point out the many other holidays that happen during the winter months. They even explain that some people don't celebrate anything in particular, and that's okay, too. Dot wants to be respectful and inclusive so she plans to write a song that will appeal to everyone and she asks her friends for details about their favorite traditions. All is going well until a snowstorm derails the plans for the concert. But Dot's a clever gal and she figures out how technology can help her share her special song, despite the snow.
For parents wary of letting their young children get consumed by tech toys and digital devices, the balance here is thoughtful and appropriate. The tech elements are secondary to Dot's relationships with her family and friends, and they're used as elements to complement her many other non-tech hobbies and interests. Storylines really are about enjoying friendships, trying new things, and engineering adventures, and those are themes that any family can recognize and appreciate.