Die Sendung mit der Maus is a highly acclaimed children's series on German television that has been called "the school of the nation". The show first aired on March 10, 1971. Originally called Lach- und Sachgeschichten für Fernsehanfänger, it was controversial because German law prohibited television for children under six years of age. The program was initially condemned by teachers and childcare professionals as bad for children's development, but is now hailed for its ability to convey information to children. The show has received over 75 awards. The first doctoral dissertation on the program was written in 1991. On March 7, 1999, the program's Internet site was launched and received 2,400 e-mails and 4 million hits on the first day.