France Bans Baby Shows from Airwaves

French authorities are no longer allowing parents to use TVs as babysitters.

If you live in France and you’ve gotten into the habit of plopping your baby in front of the TV so you can have a few minutes to get things done around the house you’re out of luck.

France’s broadcast authority just announced that it plans to ban French channels from airing TV shows aimed at children under 3 years old. The reason: Experts say continuous exposure to TV decreases a child’s development.

In a ruling posted yesterday France’s High Audiovisual Council said it wanted to “protect children under 3 from the effects of television” and called on France’s minister for culture and communication to set limits on channels that dedicate 24 hours a day to baby-targeted programming.

If you are in France you will no longer be able to view certain programs on BabyFirstTV and Baby TV. In an interview with a local newspaper French officials called the cable channels “dangers” and noted that far too many parents were using them to help their children get to sleep.

“Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens,” the ruling said.

The report goes on to say that babies should be interacting with people instead of being set in front of a television. In addition to blocking certain baby-targeted shows, the council is also mandating that French cable operators, which air foreign channels with programs for babies to broadcast warning messages to parents. The messages will reportedly read: “Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them.”

As for BabyFirstTV execs reaction to the new ruling, they say their products are designed to be watched by babies and parents together in an interactive manner.

What do you make of the TV ban?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.