Time to swap the TV for the fish tank?

With my children I usually find that the only times they are quiet are when they are doing something they shouldn’t, like drawing on the walls, or, as has been in the news this week, watching TV.
New research reiterates claims that television is bad for children and should not be viewed at all by the under threes.
The author Dr Alan Sigman also accuses parents of using TV as “electronic babysitters”.
This story has been badly timed for me as struck down by a sickness bug we have been housebound for the last two days and to be honest without the help of babysitter TV I don’t know how I would have coped.
Does this mean my children are going to become like the American three-year-old, who after watching endless episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine could only speak in catch phrases such as “Well bust my buffers” and “silly old Gordon?”
Dr Sigman has been calling for guidelines on TV for children for years. But now he also mentions ‘screen time’ as now children are not just watching TV at home, they are watching DVDs in the car and on hand-held devices.
There was a case last month where a “heartless” thief stole an iphone from a one-year-old who was watching a cartoon in her pram. The police branded this a disgusting crime, but maybe he was just an old do-gooder who thought a toddler should be taking in the world around it rather than being glued to a cartoon?
They say it is not so bad if you sit and watch the program with your child, but I have tried to endure episodes of their favourite shows to see what damage is being done to their little minds but surprise surprise being an adult, I just don’t get most of it. The only thing I took a passing glance at was Mr Bloom’s Nursery and as I later discovered I am not alone, apparently there are internet sites dedicated to “Mr Bloom is hot”… Oh dear has it come to this?
In an age where many parents have no extended family to help out with childcare, a bit of TV while mum or dad get a few things done in peace must be less damaging for the child than bearing the brunt of a stressed-out adult? But TV viewing has been linked to everything from doing worse at school to increased waistlines and poorer performance in the long jump so maybe it’s time for some kind of official guideline as they have done in the US, Canada and Australia. Or perhaps I should just sell our TV and buy a fish tank and maybe a bit less screen time will be good for me too?


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