‘Parents using tv as babysitter’

A quarter of parents say they use the television as a "babysitting service" and more than half allow children under five to watch ‘adult’ tv, according to research.

A quarter of parents say they use the television as a "babysitting service" and more than half allow children under five to watch ‘adult’ tv, according to research.

The poll of 1,000 parents for the Hello Campaign found 54 per cent allowed children to watch programmes deemed adult, such as soap operas and X Factor.

Many let their children watch tv alone. Some 78 per cent said their children watched tv for around two hours a day on their own and two thirds of parents didn’t know much about what they were watching. Twenty per cent who did watch tv with their children did so in silence, with only 15 per cent saying they used the programme to start a conversation with their child.

Seventy per cent said they didn’t feel guilty about letting their kids watch tv and 42 per cent thought it helped them learn. Only seven per cent stopped their kids watching TV, with dads being stricter than mums.

The campaign wants to encourage parents to become more involved with the programmes their children watch and use them to promote better communication skills by talking about the plots and characters.

Wendy Lee, spokesperson for the Hello campaign with over 25 years experience working in speech and language therapy says: “Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children’s communication development. This survey highlights they are not suffering from ‘guilt overload’ but there are areas where parents would benefit from more information and advice. Quality TV programmes can provide a good starting point for face to face interaction, conversation and play and we encourage parents to grab the ‘communication opportunity’ to co-view with their child."

The campaign is championing a new CBeebies programme, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, which is aimed at 2-4 year olds and involves repetition, rhyme, rhythm and retelling to improve language skills.





Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *