independent

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Is there still a place for children's TV?

Straight Talking - Grace Larkin

When I was young with two working parents, TV played a significant role in my life. Now, of course, parents are encouraged to get their children away from television and outside, and rightly so. But I think children's viewing has changed over the years and a little can go a long way. While I don't sit down and watch TV with my kids, I am afraid I am one of those who use it as a distraction to get other jobs done. But, there are some programmes that get in your ear, whether you want them to or not.

As a child of the Bosco era, I should be tolerant of squeaky annoying children's characters, but there are times when they are even too much for me.

Unfortunately someone gave my kids a Teletubbies DVD. Whatever the makers of that were on, it certainly wasn't water. Despite the fact that my children cannot find their shoes when they are sitting in front of them, somehow they always manage to find where I've hid the Teletubbies DVD.

Another cartoon that gets under my skin in Peppa Pig. For some reason Mummy pig always makes me feel like a bad parent; her soothing tones and inability to get annoyed by any of Peppa's 2,000 questions per episode almost make me feel sorry for my own children. Almost… Then of course Daddy Pig is a bumbling fat buffoon who is the object of everyone's ridicule. Hardly the best message to be sending out to young viewers.

Then there is Dora; a child who does not know how to speak unless it's a shout. And the long pauses left for your child to react even bore mine! I for one would not be sad if one day she falls into that crocodile lake.

But it's not all bad. In the night garden restores my faith in children's television, although for the life of me I don't know why. Iggle Piggle and Upsey Daisey can't even speak English while the Pinky Ponk just goes around passing gas. Maybe it's the fact that Derek Jacobi provides the narration.

I have to laugh at the fact that my children are now ignoring me (I don't always laugh) the way I ignored my mother when Scooby Doo is on. It's amazing that a cartoon created in 1969 is still reaching young audiences in a relatable way nearly 50 years later. Although by today's standards the binge eating of Shaggy and Scooby would not be tolerated and Fred probably wouldn't be going out with Daphne.

I do feel that in this world of encouraging children to partake in physical activity, there still is a place for a modest amount of TV. Two of mine learned to count to twenty and I know it wasn't from me. As with every aspect of raising children I think it's a case of everything in moderation.

Sligo Champion

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