Wednesday, 20 January 2010


My son loves watching the telly.

That sentence probably doesn’t convey the strength of his feeling enough.

For my son, telly is like heroin.

Actually, that’s probably overstating it just a bit. I should really have thought about this before I started writing. OK, let’s just say that his affection for the goggle box is less than a drug addict’s need for smack but certainly more than the tenderness he feels for either of his parents.

So far it’s been a very happy relationship. He doesn’t watch it all the time. He doesn’t even watch it all the time he wants to. However, occasionally as a way of encouraging some good behaviour in other areas of his life, or if I fancy a bit of peace and quiet, he’ll be allowed to have a gawp. For heaven sake both his parents have made a living out of TV so the roof over his head, the clothes on his back, the expensive toys that he refuses to play with have all been paid for by TV.

Up until now my son has favoured one of two viewing pleasures.

1.Movies (generally an animated classic such as Jungle Book, Toy Story, Monsters Inc etc)



Over the last three years our viewing landscape has been a world inhabited by yoga performing sprites, creatures with names like Macca Pacca and YoJo Jo, and silly grown-ups who dress up and fall down a lot. It has been fun and colourful and unthreatening. I can leave my kids in front of CBeebies safe in the knowledge that as soon as my back is turned it’s not going to start swearing or drinking or bringing up “issues”.

Now though my eldest is in the process of migrating from CBeebies to CBBC and I simply don’t know how to cope. It’s like watching the first broadcast after an apocalyptic nuclear strike has all but wiped out humanity. It’s dreadful, his mother and I are jabbering wrecks forever having to monitor what he watches and handing out ridiculous censorship rules like some kind of nightmare-ish Orwellian Government. We’ve already panicked and banned him from watching Tracy Beaker, although Joe obviously watches it when we’re not with him because he recently called me a super loser and I’m pretty sure his grandmother didn’t teach him that.

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