The past week has seen the US rocked by protests and riots in reaction to the killing of George Floyd. On Monday, June 1, several TV stations, including kids’ channel Nickelodeon, joined in on the conversation by going off the air for 8 minutes in support of equality and justice. The gesture has been met with mixed reactions from viewers; while some parents feel that Nickelodeon is an inappropriate platform to comment on the situation, others applauded the network for addressing the controversy.
The children’s network took to Instagram Monday to announce that it would be going off-air that evening at 6 pm EST.
“Nickelodeon is going off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality, and human rights,” the station’s post read.
CNBC reports that the move was a part of a wider gesture by Nickelodeon’s parent company, Viacom, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to Nickelodeon, Viacom channels like MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, and Logo also went off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the same amount of time that a Minnesota police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.
During the off-time, Nickelodeon aired the text of its Declaration of Kids’ Rights. The statement affirmed kids’ right to live in a peaceful world free from prejudice and harm, among other things.
Inspiring or Inappropriate?
The network’s gesture was met with a variety of responses from parents, with some worrying that it would be too much for children.
“Rather inappropriate for young children, it scares them!!” said one parent on Facebook, according to Romper.
“This is not the right platform for this at all,” another Facebook user reportedly said. “The average age of children that watch your channel are under the age of 12 and if anything all [you’re] doing is scaring children and that is just wrong.”
Nickelodeon responded to the latter criticism by commenting that “unfortunately, some kids live in fear every day,” before adding that the network aims to amplify the voices and stories of those kids.
Many parents, however, responded positively to the gesture, with one tweeting that “@Nickelodeon is just giving me more reasons to love them. Well done.”
Another parent shared a video of Nickelodeon’s message, commenting, “#Nickelodeon thanks. This actually gave my kids comfort.”
The network’s action follows an Instagram post from Sunday expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter,” the post read. “We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, creators, partners, and audiences and condemn all acts of racism, discrimination, and senseless acts of violence.”