Saturday, October 18, 2008

TV bad for children

Briefing: interesting new research from France.

From CFNews: Television channels aimed at pre-school children are damaging their development, researchers have claimed. Ofcom, the British TV regulator, has asked its counterpart in France to send research on the issue after that country took tough new measures to protect the young.

Across the Channel there hfas been alarm that parents are using dedicated channels such as BabyTV, which air all day and night, as a form of baby-sitting. French researchers found that watching television impacted on the development of children under three. Their study showed it delayed language learning, encouraged passivity, reduced concentration, increased agitation and caused sleep disorders.

From November TV channels in France will be banned from promoting the proclaimed 'educational benefits' on shows at aimed at under-threes.

It has also forced dedicated channels and programmes for this age group to issue a warning before they start. It states: 'Watching television can slow the development of children under three, even when it is aimed specifically at them.'

Now the Counseil Superior Audiovisuel has passed on its concerns to Ofcom.

Parenting groups here believe the regulator could use the French findings to force a similar clampdown on the UK TV industry.

In France the moves have been seen as an attack on foreign-run channels such as BabyFirstTV and Baby TV, which also air in the UK. The broadcasts are both transmitted from this country into France.

BabyFirstTV describes itself as a provider of shows 'designed to inspire a baby's learning'. The service, which lets children interact, does not feature any commercials and advises parents against long periods of viewing.

BabyTV also airs in the UK and France. It is designed to provide a 'safe, stimulating and educational environment' for toddlers. Similar internet services like this have also been launched in recent years.

A report by Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2007 found watching entertainment TV before the age of three caused attention problems. Claude Knights, director of children's charity Kidscape, has called on Ofcom to make parents more aware of the dangers.

He said: 'It is really sad when TV is used as a babysitter or a means of controlling very young children.

'There may well be parents that don't realise the cumulative effects of exposure to TV. Ofcom should state the case and give the concerns about possible harm revealed in this research.'

Ofcom said: 'The CSA has made Ofcom aware of its concerns regarding TV programming aimed at very young children.

'Ofcom takes the protection of minors extremely seriously and notes that BabyFirstTV provides information to parents about how best to allow their children to interact with its programming and advises against long periods of viewing for young children.

'At present there has been no evidence supplied to Ofcom that proves such content is harmful to minors.

'However, Ofcom has asked the CSA for any research which supports their concerns and will consider in detail any research it can provide.' [Daily Mail]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen