Friday, May 12, 2006



Of the apolocalypse is clearly fast approaching...

WHAT WHAT WHAT is going on?? I consider the item below a death knoll for babysitters across the US. Hold fast that this does not penetrate the Canadian border. We'll get our own TV minutemen to stem the flow if necessary. That channel of our for tots, the one w/ that lil' red headed kid Daniel whatshisname is one thing but this just goes too far...

Televisions for babies - for the love of kong! Kick a fracking soccer ball in the park already damnit! Grrr...

CBC Arts

The first TV channel designed for babies debuted in the United States on Thursday, immediately drawing criticism from pediatricians who say young children shouldn't be watching TV at all.

BabyFirstTV is available via satellite from DirecTV at a cost of $9.99 US a month. It will not be available in Canada.

The channel is safe, commercial-free and has appropriate content for children under age two, said Sharon Rechter, BabyFirstTV's executive vice president for business development and marketing.

"This is the first channel dedicated to babies and their parents – transforming TV from its original purpose into a way for them to interact," she told the Associated Press.

Claim 'defies reason': doctor

But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than two should not watch television.

Dr. Michael Rich, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School who studies the impact of the media on children's health, says it "defies reason" to suggest that television could help parents and babies interact.

"Television primarily is a medium that demands attention to the TV, not to other people in the room," he said in an interview with CBC Television.

Babies' brains cannot decode the two-dimensional image on a television screen, Rich said. Their brains are developing and they need a different kind of stimulation to help them grow, he added.

"They need interaction with other human beings and to manipulate their environment. They need to pick up the block or try to get the Cheerios into the mouth," he said.

But Rich said it was inevitable that broadcasters would identify babies as a market niche to be exploited.

"The baby video market has been growing exponentially over the past few years. It was only a matter of time before someone decided they could broadcast directly to them," he said.

Offers programs from baby DVDs

BabyFirstTV's content includes some programs from baby DVD companies, including Brainy Baby and First Impressions. It also has an agreement with Sterling Publishing, a Barnes & Noble subsidiary, to use children's books in a Story Time program.

A 2003 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 68 per cent of children under two watch TV or videos daily and 26 per cent have a TV in their bedroom.

Rich said parents allow their very young children to watch television so they will be quiet and allow the adults to get things done.

"We are in love with TV in our culture and there is a sense that TV is benign," Rich said.

Rechter says the broadcaster cannot control how parents use the baby channel. However, if children under two are already watching, they ought to be viewing appropriate material, she said.

"If a baby is watching TV, let's put them in front of appropriate content," she said. "At the end of the day, parents make the decisions."

Spanish version in works

Rechter said BabyFirstTV will start with 250 hours of content, 80 per cent of it original. It plans to launch a Spanish-language channel by the end of the year.

The investors behind BabyFirstTV are:

  • Regency Enterprises, a film and TV production company that is a partner of Fox Entertainment.
  • Kardan N.V., an investment group based in the Netherlands and Israel.
  • Bellco Capital, a private Los Angeles-based investment fund.

I couldn't believe it either when I saw the commercial for this thing....a baby tv channel? Man, things are really headed downhill. But I've already experienced my 9 month old nephew's reactions to The Comfy Couch and all sorts of other colourful shows on the Treehouse channel. It amazed me that such a young child would respond to these shows, but obviously these folks have done their research and I guarantee you that parents will be placing high chairs, playpens and what have you in front of the idiot boxes instead of actually playing and bonding with their progeny.

Thank the lord they didn't have that channel when my babies were babies. What will they think of next? Is watching these shows supposed to make the next generation smarter? Why do we have to put a rush on childhood development? Sigh.
Ick, this COULD NOT be to make the smarter, just COULDN'T...the word "zombified" comes to mind...treehouse is one thing but this just goes too far, sigh...
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