The Grand Miss Haisley, our adorable granddaughter, recently spent the weekend at our house. In preparation for the visit, we recorded a few family friendly videos on TV. Contemporary changes in children’s programming proved to be a big surprise.
Our children grew up in the 1990s with Barney. The purple and green dinosaur sang and danced his way into the hearts of American millennials. According to an internet search, Barney became extinct in 2009.
Our son and daughter also loved Sesame Street. However, the current HBO production bears little resemblance to the former PBS version. Many of the same characters remain, but entertainment rather than education now appears to be the goal.
VeggieTales also disappointed. The computer generated cartoons debuted in the early 1990s, featuring animated vegetables and fruits. The direct-to-video format featured unapologetically Christian story-lines. Scripture passages provided the theme for every episode.
Today’s Netflix production of VeggieTales has abandoned its religious roots like Esau trading his birthright for a bowl of stew. The morality tales teach mild lessons about ethics and manners with a passing nod at the Judeo-Christian heritage.
Money talks, and changes in children’s programming no doubt reflect the bottom line. However, I find myself missing older days when Mr. Rogers talked about simple truths with hand puppets serving as high tech.
Ultimately, it’s parents’ responsibility to teach their children about the faith. If we are depending on TV, Hollywood, or the government to do the job, then we’ll be eternally disappointed.
Raise up a child in the way they should go . . . including what children watch during screen time.