Bella, who is 17 months, yesterday watched what I call her first real 10 minutes of sitting still and watching a children’s cartoon. She has never really been a fan of TV and has watched a minute or two of Mister Maker, Teletubbies and Little Einsteins but has actually never been interested in watching for longer.

This hasn’t really bothered me at all as I read somewhere that children should not really be watching TV until the age of 2 but it got me thinking, do we create the little kids that plonk themselves in front of the TV and refuse to play outside? Please don’t misunderstand me, fully understand that sometimes when our time is limited, it is easier to get kids to watch TV while we run around doing things but is this actually beneficial in the long run? Are we setting ourselves up for a struggle later on? I used to be a Plonker when I was younger and remember all the fights I had with my mother to go and play outside but I found cartoons and the History Channel too interesting to do what she said. I think the only thing that helped to get me away from the TV was books and then I became a Bookworm!

I have also realised how influential we are in what our children watch and the important role we have as guardians over our children. I have two perfect examples of this. My first example is when I was 10 years old, a friend’s mother allowed us to watch a movie called The Blob which is a horror movie and has a PG rating of 18 which my mother would never have allowed. I had nightmares for days and I was terrified that something would come out of the drains and suck me into it and I would never return. My husband and I have made a rule that Bella will not watch anything that has a PG rating other than PG without us being there and should she go to a movie night at a friend’s house, we will first ask what they will be watching. Some things are too graphic for little children and as parents; I firmly believe that parents have to check up on what their children are watching! Do yourself and your child a favour watch some of these Ninja cartoons that are currently on TV without your child and you will notice that some of them are actually very violent!

My second example is the Teletubbies and this might seem very silly to you but please bear with me. Bella has watched a total of maybe 2 minutes of the Teletubbies program in her entire life but if you had to put the program on now, I am sure that she would know exactly who they were! This is because a friend gave us a Telly Tubby book and Bella and I often sit and read the book together. She can say “Elli Ubbies and Ubby Oast”, knows who Po is and if you ask her to get the book, she knows exactly which one it is. Another friend also lent us a Po doll and Bella knows that it is a Teletubbies and that it goes “Uh oh”! What I am getting at is that if I had not introduced her to the world of the Teletubbies, would she even have been interested in them? Are we as parents and society playing into the hands of the marketing people from these programs by encouraging our children to watch them and buying them all the goodies that comes with it? I believe we are and we are doing it subconsciously with no harm intended to the children, after all some of them are actually quite educational and helps them to learn like Little Einsteins. Like all things, it should just be done in moderation.

Most importantly, I believe that we have to watch what our children are watching, stay up to date with what is on air and help them to understand that not everything they see is real! We do after all own the remote!

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