Patrick Barkham (The Guardian, 14 October 2009) writes:
Get out of our living rooms. This country is in danger of becoming a politically controlled nation closer to communist China. That’s all very well if you have three hours to wash the dishes, but some of us need to get things done. Gee, these toddlers are up to no good. What are they up to? Wait for it – they’re watching television!
The outrage that has greeted reports that the Australian government is to issue cautious guidelines advising parents and carers to prevent children under two from watching television seems remarkably acerbic. Across the world, however, the same debates flare up every time it is tentatively suggested that the electronic screens we began by placing in one room at home and now carry everywhere in our pockets may not be good for the development of children’s brains.
Television is no longer merely the drug of the nation, it is the pacifier, babysitter, wallpaper and teacher for our children. Increasingly it intrudes on the very first months of their lives. In Australia, young children spend more time watching television than any other activity. The average four-month-old gazes at the box for 44 minutes every day. In the United States, under twos watch 1.2 hours a day on average. In Britain, older children have been calculated to spend five hours and 18 minutes watching TV, playing computer games or online each day, just over an hour less than the US average.
Read more on The Guardian website.
It’s keeping it moderated which is the key. For some people, at some stages (especially with young children), the best way to do that is to have no television. That was not much of an option for us, given my professional life! It is vital to help kids develop a life which doesn’t revolve around television; it’s vital to help them integrate with their peers, so they’ll need particular support if you’re still a no-TV household when they’re getting older; and it’s most vital of all to help kids process what they’re seeing (and hearing and reading), learning to evaluate the ideas and value and attitudes.