Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Postman Pat and guns? I don't think so

So I have just written an article for the parenting website Emma's Diary *shameless plug* about the dangers (and positives) of screen watching. By this I mean telly, laptops, games consoles. Research has shown that British children have regular access to an average five screens at home by the age of ten and that a child born today will have spent a full year watching the box by the time he or she reaches seven. 
The concern is, as you can imagine, that this could play havoc with our kiddies' attention spans, social skills etc. I reckon, everything in moderation. There's plenty of good, healthy educational stuff about that can enhance rather than detract and as long as any screen watching is kept to a limited period (as in not plonking your child in front of the TV all day while you paint your nails and surf the internet) and it is mixed in with other stimulating activities such as painting, puzzles, playgroups, music-making, then it all seems okay to me, nothing to worry about. 
Which means I don't feel too guilty admitting that watching YouTube has become a teeny bit of a favourite hobby of the little man's. I do keep a fairly tight rein on this, and the most exciting it gets is a particularly animated rendition of Jelly on a Plate. He also loves The Wheels on the Bus, all thirty versions of it, and he can't get enough of the Postman Pat episode someone has kindly uploaded where PC Selby learns to play the banjo so he can serenade Dr Gilbertson - very sweet those two although they never seem to get it together. The annoying ad at the start is admittedly something of a nuisance and I always skip over it as soon as I am allowed, however, the other day instead of the usual advertisement for curry sauce or Ikea, the screen was suddenly filled with buff men and women charging about firing guns, jumping off buildings and chucking explosives about. It was a high energy preview for an action film and clearly not suitable for a toddler to see so why was it attached to something as innocent as Pat? I quickly covered the screen with my hands to shield the little man until it was all over. 
It just shows you can't be too careful when it comes to the internet and what your children are accessing. I was reading an interesting post by fellow mummy blogger 3 Children and It discussing what age children should be allowed to start social networking. I find the whole thing rather scary and my little one is only two.  Heaven knows what sort of thing will be available to him when he hits those teenage years but until then I will be monitoring what he watches like a hawk - even if it is only Postman Pat.


  1. Your absolutely right of course..It's been an on going thing for a very long time now..!
    And, there's still very little control...
    I enjoy the 'funny' e-mails l get, cats, dogs etc.
    doing strange and funny things. There great, and l like to forward them on.
    I 'DO NOT' enter into social networking, l feel it has more of a down side than good....But then, that's been happening for years.....No matter what has been invented, someone finds a negative use for it...But still, that's the way it is now!
    And, as soon as they start school....What's the first thing they get...Yep! A toy computer...
    Sad! Very Sad! Poor old Postman Pat...! Being watched like a hawk. :>)

  2. You Tube can be a minefield. I've been letting my boy watch Thomas the Tank Engine on there, but there are so many versions, and it's very hard to tell which are 'legit' and which are mashed up ones by members of the public, especially when they use the same beginning titles and song. We were watching one the other day and suddenly a man appeared in the middle of it dressed as the 'fat controller'. It was clearly not a 'legit' Thomas we'd logged into. I turned that off quick as a flash I can tell you! I'd never let him watch anything on the internet without being with him. It's just too scary. :0)

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, difficult to see which are the real thing or not. All a bit scary.

  3. Thanks for linking up to my post :) I think we need to be very vigilant regarding what our children are exposed to and it can't start early enough in my opinion. You're doing the right thing.

    1. Thanks Suzanne - will keep watching like a hawk!

  4. Watching like a hawk, don't overdo it. For your kid it will cause much worse effect in the future than just watching horrible clips.