What effect does Dora the Explorer have on children?


Neiva Sarellano



            Dora the Explore is one of the most popular educational television show worldwide However, there have been several concerns whether the show effects children in a positive or negative manner. I came across an article “Exploring Dora: The Positive and Negative of the 8-Year-Old Latina with a Backpack”, the article basically discusses the pros and cons of the show. The article claims that the target audience ranges from years 2-5 and teaches the children how to count, solve riddles, puzzles, stimulate verbal skills, exposes Spanish language, and demonstrates the importance of empathy and forgiveness. Although the main focus on the article was the potential empowerment it can have on kids, it doesn’t necessarily mention the educational purposes or it how it can positively have an effect on the children’s development. I initially decided to do this Dora the Explorer because as a child used to really enjoy this show and it was nice to see a Latina character.

            So, with that being said I did some reading on the perceptual development in infancy and found exposure of screen media, such as TV shows, it is recommended for children to not expose until 2 years of age (Bornstein, Arterberry, & Lamb 2014 p. 144). Also, since the show is known for introducing Spanish to its viewers, the second year of life is a critical period for cognitive changes in regards to language development. During the stage infants are learning words and the production and comprehension significantly increases with the enhancement of being able to understand continuous speech (Bornstein, Arterberry, & Lamb 2014 p. 224). I found these findings interesting because as previously mentioned the article did discuss how 2-5 year olds were the viewers.

            With that being said, I did further research and found a study that directly relates to the Dora the Explorer and if the show effected children’s learning. This study was conducted by Piotrowski (2014) to see if participatory cues and program familiarity was able to predict children’s learning from educational TV shows. The article included how the show Dora the Explorer was associated with Spanish, math, and visual skills. The show is also known for the engagement it has on the children by providing participatory cues for the involvement of the children. The study consisted of 187 participates with the average age of 4.35. The participants were divided into two conditions where both groups viewed an episode of Dora the Explorer, group 1 (n=93) viewed the show with participatory cues and group 2 (n=94) without the cues. This study hypothesized that the presence of participatory cues support children’s learning from watching educational shows. As a result, participatory cues didn’t have an effect on educational comprehension, but when cues are associated with high familiarity with the show it does lead to high educational content comprehension. The main purpose of this study was to classify the different ways to support children’s comprehension of the content that implies to be educational in these TV shows and experience of an educational show can assist in future learning.

    In conclusion, research indicates that the show Dora the Explorer is correlated with educational content learning when children are familiar with the show. However, children under the age of 2 shouldn’t be exposed to screen media. Although further studies need to be tested with the exposure in regards educational TV and to see if there really does enhance children’s cognition like it claims, overall it seems to be fairly safe for children to watch the Dora the Explorer


Bornstein, M.H., Arterberry, M.E., & Lamb, M.E. (2014). Development in Infancy (5th Edition). Psychology Press.

Piotrowski, J. T. (2014). Participatory cues and program familiarity predict young children’s          learning from educational television. Media Psychology, 17(3), 311-331.       doi:10.1080/15213269.2014.932288

Thompson, N. A. (2013, November 26). Exploring dora: The positive and negative of the 8-year- old latina with a backpack. Latin Post.

   Retrieved from

http://www.latinpost.com/articles/4130/20131126/exploring-dora-positive-and-negative-   8-year-old-latina-backpack.htm



3 thoughts on “What effect does Dora the Explorer have on children?

  1. Monet Watanabe

    This was a fascinating read. I had no idea how beneficial Dora of the Explorer could be for children. I wonder if the studies found any negative correlation for children watching the show and if watching a show that is bilingual better than watching a show with just one language.


  2. Ashland Davis

    This is a really intriguing concept to me. I know we have discussed in class that there is a fine line between when and how much TV time is positive versus negative for kids and am surprised it wasn’t mentioned as a concern in the research. It reminded me of a question someone asked in class today, I am curious and would want to know if the kids are able to absorb the other language and how much Spanish are they really able to retain.


  3. Aaron Cox

    I, too, find this as an interesting topic. Dora does introduces Spanish words throughout her show, which relates to my topic as well. I am fascinated that Dora can be correlated with “high educational content comprehension.” I am wondering what are the negative effects of exposing a child to a show such as Dora the Explorer before the age of 2.


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