Catholic Husband

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Goodbye, PBS Kids

A television in a living room, turned off

Parenting in every era has its unique challenges. It's never been easy and the challenges are always different. One aspect of parenting is allowing your children to be children. The innocence of a child, once lost, can never be restored. It’s no longer enough to keep your kids from physically being surrounded by influences that you believe are bad for them. In a digital age, those people can get to your kids without ever meeting them.

I’ve always known that I should watch shows and movies before I let my children see them. But like you, my time is limited, and I’m guilty of turning shows on and trusting that they’ll be educational and not controversial. When it comes to television, I’ve been fairly strict with what I show my kids. I use television as a way to broaden their horizons and show them programs that educate them in a way that I can’t on my own. For example, I don’t have a pet elephant, but Wild Kratts can teach them about elephants in a visual way. With that set of objectives, they almost exclusively watched PBS Kids. That changed with the latest season of Arthur.

In the first episode of the current season, the producers at PBS decided to showcase the wedding of teacher Mr. Ratburn to another man. A show with a solid track record of teaching positive values to children was hijacked for a distinctly political purpose; Arthur was weaponized. An agenda employed the tool as an avenue to normalize a behavior to children. That’s wrong.

PBS Kids has lost credibility as a reliable partner for parents. I now need to watch any show on the network before allowing my children to see them. Instead, I will simply delete the app from our television. For television time, I will now buy selected episodes of shows that I know aren’t actively subverting my parental authority.

We’re on the precipice of reaching my goal of zero screen time.

Parents are the gatekeepers for their children. Our job is to protect them, to give them a solid moral education, and to reject anyone who would lie to them. It’s regrettable that PBS took this route. Then again, my kids stand to benefit by the added quality time we’ll be spending together. And for that, I thank PBS Kids.