Does Watching ‘Sesame Street' Make Kids Kinder? Vanderbilt Wants To Find Out

Posted at 7:11 AM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 08:32:13-05

Can watching TV make children kinder? That's the question researchers at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College are looking to find out.

For decades, “Sesame Street” has been a childhood staple. Now, researchers will recruit 300 kids from early childhood programs and measure the effects of watching Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

The kids will be divided into two groups – one will watch 12 episodes of “Sesame Street,” the other group will watch nature-themed documentaries.

Special Education Professor Mary Louise Hemmeter will lead the study.

“We've been interested for a long time about how you teach social skills and emotional competencies to young children,” she said. “I am just excited to study kindness and I see this as an opportunity to take this even further and begin to develop intervention strategies that people can use to help children learn to be kind.”

The study is being funded by a $100,000 grant from Sesame Street Workshop. Results of the study will be available this summer.