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French Government Adds Warning Label To Baby TV – Could It Work Here Too?

Posted Sep 11 2008 2:09am



As I fret that my six-year-old son has watched perhaps a wee bit too much TV (OK actually DVDs) this summer, out comes the news that in the French government has banned French television channels from airing shows specifically targeting the “under three” age group.


What appears to have spurred this (rather exciting ruling) is theintroduction in Franceof two 24-hour infant television channels, Baby TV and BabyFirstTV. Both are owned in whole or in part by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp.


The High Audiovisual Council (gotta love that name) ruling states:


"Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens."


The net effect is that regular French Broadcast channels are banned from airing shows for under threes and cable channels must include a broadcast a warning statement:


"Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them."


I really love this idea! When Rupert Murdoch’s BabyFirstTV first launched in The US in 2006, many parents, including me were appalled. The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics reiterated it’s oft ignored policy statement issued in 1999:


Pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of 2 years. Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers (eg, child care providers) for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional, and cognitive skills. Therefore, exposing such young children to television programs should be discouraged."


How many parents are aware of this statement? How many pediatricians tell parents about it (laughing snort here)? I think the warning statement idea is brilliant and should be adopted here in the US too!


Think about it. When parents tuck their infants and toddlers in front of the TV or a baby DVD, up flashes a statement, at least as serious looking as the one warning about the FBI coming to get you if you dare to copy the DVD you’re viewing.


Wow! This works for me!



OK - I took a few liberties with my WFMW posts but some great REAL ideas visit Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer

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The Ancillary Impact of Too Much TV

Reasons to Limit TV - What to Tell the Relatives!




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