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Column: Why I’ll NEVER ban my children from watching TV
This week an expert gave us parents another reason to feel lousy. In the firing line this week? Good old television or as Dr Sigman called it ‘the electronic babysitter’.
The child health expert suggested that kids under three years old should be completely banned from TV, whilst older children should be limited to a meagre half an hour a day of screen-time to avoid damaging their wellbeing.
Now, I’m not an advocate for plonking your child in front of the TV for eight hours and never leaving the house – admittedly, who hasn’t put on a nice episode of Peppa Pig to calm them whilst trying to grab a minute of peace though? What I mean is, like most things in life – everything is OK in moderation.
My seven-year-old is a little TV addict and it can be difficult to get her attention when her favourite programmes are on so I completely get where Dr Sigman is coming from in that respect. But it’s not the most important thing in her life and I try to create a balance.
We do believe it or not get out of the house, we do crafts, we bake, she goes to school and does her homework, we play at the park and she has friends round too. But at the same time we do watch TV on a Saturday morning whilst we’re all waking up and I do let her watch her favourite shows when she gets home from school. We even go to the cinema and watch a DVD as a treat a few times a week.
You could say that we’re an average mum and daughter, but apparently by letting her indulge in a little TV time I’m damaging my girl’s social skills, her wellbeing and her health.
I want to make it clear that I do see that limiting children’s screen time can be a positive thing and for that reason TV is banned in my DC’s room. But I think the whole study missed out the fact that certain TV shows can be hugely beneficial.
Pre-school programmes especially are fantastic for teaching children new skills, numbers, letters and even how to solve moral dilemmas, favourite characters like Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder are more than just animations, they can become positive role models with can-do attitudes if you want them to. I also dare anyone to watch Something Special and tell me that TV is useless and has no educational value.
So yes, we might be lovers of TV in our house, but does letting my daughter watch an hour of TV a day make me a bad parent? Since I won’t be turning off in the near future, I certainly hope not.
Do you agree that TV can actually be beneficial to parents? Or do you think that parents need to do more to wean their kids from watching TV?