A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dot. is based on a picture book by Randi Zuckerberg and centers on a curious 8-year-old who uses technology, math, and science concepts to learn new things, but it's never at the expense of real-world experiences and the people she cares about. For Dot and her family, it's all about balance, so much attention is given to the times when she acknowledges she's ready to unplug. The show sets out to expose kids -- and girls in particular -- to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts in an inviting, age-appropriate way through the likable, self-confident titular character. As a bonus, it presents Dot's parents as her role models and educator, and her friends as positive influences in her life.
What's the story?
DOT. follows an ever-inquisitive 8-year-old named Dot (voiced by Lilly Bartlam) who knows and loves technology and its many applications for learning. Not a day goes by that Dot doesn't have a question about how things work in the world around her, and for this savvy kid, the answers usually are a tap or a swipe away. But when that's not the case, or when her queries or needs extend beyond the limits of the virtual world, Dot turns her focus back to the people in her life -- including her best friend, Hal (Isaiah Slater), and her best dog, Scratch (Terry McGurrin) -- and the tangible experiences she has in the real world.
Is it any good?
This exuberant star is an excellent role model for kids, and the show's focus on STEM concepts presents math and science topics in a really fun way. Dot. doesn’t shy away from showing its star with modern devices such as tablets and robots; rather it embraces the almost mandatory role these tools and the technology play in today's educational environment. The fact that Dot is such a careful user is a big plus as well, reminding kids that for all its benefits, technology can only go so far. There's still a lot it can't do, especially when compared to human relationships and hands-on experiences with the natural world.
To this end, every episode winds up with Dot speaking directly to viewers about her need to unplug and happily disconnecting to play with her dog or spend quality time with her family. Surrounded by worthwhile STEM content, it's this emphasis on setting limits and creating a healthy balance between digital endeavors and real-life experiences that really stands out in this exceptional series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Why is it important to unplug from technology? Which activities does your family enjoy together during screen-free time? In what ways do hands-on activities such as puzzles and board games challenge us differently from video games?
Families can talk about the role technology plays in their lives. Do your kids have personal devices? Do they have access to the internet? What are some good learning resources online?
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