TV can be a great source of inspiration for our kids

Mutiny Festival 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Keep children safe – but beware the nanny state

0
Have your say

Television gets a lot of bad press when it comes to children.

The BBC news reported that ‘the more TV a toddler watches, the higher the likelihood they will do badly at school and have poor health at the age of 10’.

If I’m honest, my son has probably watched quite a bit of TV in his time, in fact he would quite happily watch the same episode of something six times back-to-back if I left him to it.

Now he’s only six, so I may have to get back to you in a few years, but at the moment he is doing really well in school and is so active that I’m sure just watching him makes me burn calories.

I think we are fortunate enough to have some excellent educational children’s programmes – I’m sure even most adults can learn stuff from Cbeebies.

Not long ago over dinner, my son piped up about symbiosis – apparently this is the term used for two creatures who live closely together because they need each other for different reasons – and I know this is true because I had to look it up to check.

Shocked for a moment, I thought I’d somehow procreated a tiny genius until he explained that he’d seen it on Octonauts. That Kwazii sure is clever for a deep-sea diving kitten.

I also think some programmes can be really good for stimulating their imaginations. A grandad that has a special shrinking cap that makes him small enough to fit in your pocket? That’s good stuff.

And I love Mister Maker and his doodle drawers, though I’m less sure about his dodgy waistcoat.

My son often feels inspired to make something wacky after watching him – we even have our own doodle drawer full of cardboard bits and sparkly bobs and enough PVA glue we could give the Mary Rose a couple of waxy coats ourselves.

It’s not all sedentary watching either – he used to Boogie along with Pete and always used to try out Justin’s signing on Something Special.

Saying that, there are many programmes that I don’t think are particularly good – I’ve heard many a playground rant between parents over Horrid Henry’s behaviour (the clue’s in the title I suppose) and when Ben 10 comes on I know it’s time to start warming up the naughty step. Once I naively bought him a Power Rangers DVD, which was then quickly redirected to a charity shop when he started throwing ninja kicks at me.

But if we didn’t let them watch TV at all, would we not be isolating them socially in some way? When all the other kids are in the playground discussing what happened in the latest episode of Chuggington over sliced apple and Fruit Shoots, wouldn’t he feel left out?

I suppose, like with most things, it’s about quality and quantity. Programmes that inspire and have positive moral undertones – good. Ones that cause you to have bruised shins – bad. Very bad.

Anyway, I don’t know what bothers me more, some of the children’s TV or the fact he chose to watch Match of the Day on demand this morning.

Can I at least have a few more years without my TV being taken over by football, please?