Printer Friendly

Whatever happened to watch with mother?; Are our children watching too much unsupervised TV? asks Noreen Barr.

Anew report claims that almost a quarter of children under four now have a television in their bedrooms.

The Independent Television Commission's latest research also found that the number of youngsters with their own TV has risen by 7 per cent in a year - meaning that more than half of under 16s and 78 per cent of children in the 12 to 15 age bracket have a screen in their rooms.

The findings contained in the report entitled, Television: The Public's View 1999, concern Charlie Lewis, Lancaster University's Professor of Family and Development Psychology.

He says: 'Children having televisions in their bedrooms separates kids from their parents, which I don't find very healthy.'

Lewis also points out that the trend means parents have less say in what their children are viewing.

'It does take away parental control and parental support of what children are watching, which is not good. Children need guidance. We think we are very democratic with our kids, but they are demanding that we care for them and give them supervision.' Worryingly the ITC's report showed that parents had, in fact, acted less frequently to stop children watching programmes they deemed unsuitable in the last year.

In 1998 the study found that 43 per cent of parents prevented their children from viewing programmes, compared to just 39 per cent last year.

In addition, this year's report found that only half of parents with satellite and cable systems, who had access to late night adult material, used the technological systems available for controlling what their children watched.

Many satellite channels, and particularly the movie channels, now have a parental control mechanism which means services are blocked unless a four-digit pin number is used. A similar service is also available for adult channels. Youngsters who persevere in trying to guess the pin number will find the system completely shuts down for 10 minutes after three failed attempts.

A similar pin number system enables parents to block out channels on analogue cable services. However, this system is not yet available on the new digital service. In addition, there are guidelines in place to police what kind of programmes can be transmitted at what times on any service, be it terrestrial, satellite or cable.

The 9pm watershed - before which programmes deemed unsuitable for children should not be aired - provides particular protection for younger viewers. The ITC reports that awareness of the watershed remains high, particularly among parents.

Therefore some support does exist for mums and dads who are concerned about what their children are watching on television, and some protection for children who are left to their own devices.

But John Beyer, director of the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, believes this is not enough.

He thinks standards in programming must be raised, if more children are watching TV in their own rooms.

He says: 'I think it undermines the whole notion of the watershed, the idea that parents are responsible for what is watched by children after 9pm.'

Instead, he says, broadcasting authorities should take into account the fact that children might be watching, even when they are scheduling late evening shows.

'I think the whole television environment needs to be cleaned up, in terms of the violence, the infidelity and the language they are bringing into our homes.'
COPYRIGHT 2000 Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Barr, Noreen
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 30, 2000
Previous Article:Homeless and set to play the great outdoors; Terry Grimley previews a dance extravaganza planned for Birmingham city centre tomorrow.
Next Article:Shops are the new time-saving consumer sensation.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters