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PBS Standards

Children's Content

PBS believes that children are a special audience with fewer critical reasoning skills and greater vulnerability. As such, PBS seeks to provide young viewers with engaging and developmentally-appropriate content that covers social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and language development and that focuses on major curriculum areas, including literacy, math, science, engineering, technology, arts, geography, and history. 

Guidance for applying the PBS Editorial Standards six core principles — Independence, Accuracy, Fairness, Transparency, Inclusiveness, and Accountabilityare as follows:

Application Examples

Incorporate Age-Appropriate Goals

All children’s content must have explicit age-appropriate educational goals that are clearly incorporated into the storylines and character development, as well as in digital and community engagement materials. Dangerous, illegal, or otherwise anti-social behaviors that could affect a child’s sense of well-being, or that could be easily mimicked by a child, should be avoided — for instance, name-calling; bullying; rudeness and sarcasm; gratuitous physical and psychological violence; the use of hazardous household items such as razors, knives, or matches; and the use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.

Engage Education Advisors

The production teams for children’s content must include early childhood education advisors or consultants to ensure that the content is properly designed to meet its educational goals. Producers also should make use of child development and early learning research and best practices to ensure that the educational goals are age-appropriate.

Represent Children of All Backgrounds

PBS strives to distribute content that represents all children. The principle of inclusiveness requires producers to be sensitive and thoughtful when stories involve race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, mental and physical disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socioeconomic class. Racial or gender epithets, insulting or demeaning stereotypes, and dialogue that otherwise discredits an individual or group are not permitted.

RELATED > PBS KIDS Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Engage Further

The animated characters of MOLLY OF DENALI talk in a kitchen

Alaska Native Featured in Lead Role

MOLLY OF DENALI is the first nationally distributed kids’ series to feature a Native American lead character. The series also includes Alaska Native voices in all aspects of the production, both on camera and behind the scenes.

Editorial Principles

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