Parenting TV shows potentially harmful for children, says NSPCC

14 JAN 2008

The NSPCC is convening a group of child experts to advise TV production companies on how to look after the safety and wellbeing of infants and children in parenting programmes.

The Society says recent programmes have shown the promotion of limited cuddling, infants left to cry alone for long periods, babies being subjected to strict, inflexible routines regardless of their distress, and that there has been a complete disregard to the wealth of child welfare research.

The NSPCC says that current OFCOM guidance for production companies working with people under eighteen, which supports the Ofcom Broadcasting Code rules, does not go far enough.

The move comes as BBC3 is to broadcast a second series of The Baby Borrowers tonight in which babies and young children are shown being left with inexperienced teenagers. The programme makers say it is a unique social experiment to see how prepared teenagers really are for parenting.

Dame Mary Marsh, Director and chief executive of the NSPCC, said: We are increasingly worried that babies and young children are being put in unsuitable and potentially harmful experimental situations for entertainment purposes. While the NSPCC can see the benefit of using television to show how difficult parenting can be, we consider that there are ways of achieving this without damaging children's emotional wellbeing."

The new series follows the row in autumn over Channel 4's parenting series Bringing Up Baby, in which parents were advised to ignore their baby's cries, resist cuddling their baby and told that eye contact while feeding was giving in to manipulation.

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