August 21, 2008

Liberte! Egalite! Pas De Bebe Tele!

The High Audiovisual Council of France has banned television programs targeting kids under 3 years of age because of the developmental risks posed by exposure of babies to screen media. The ban was precipitated by the 24-hr baby TV networks, BabyFirst TV and Baby TV, but it applies to the creation of such programs by French channels as well. Any foreign kids programming or channels carried on French cable or satellite must include the following warning label: "Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them." Presumably, it'll be in French.

I'll be looking into this tremendously important story more closely, but first things first: High Audiovisual Council? How awesome/Terry Gilliam's Brazil does that sound?

naptime update: OK, some primary source links: Here's the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel's [or CSA's] official ruling in French and in Google-translated English. In addition to the on-screen warning label, the CSAThe CSA is requring the a warning be included in cable & TV provider marketing that states TV poses "un certain nombre de risques" for kids under 3. You don't need Google to figure them out: "la passivité, les retards de langage, l'agitation, les troubles du sommeil et de la concentration ainsi que la dépendance aux écrans." OK, maybe "retards de langage" does become clearer in translation. But "screen addiction"?

The CSA also banned programmers from making unfounded developmental or educational claims for kid-oriented shows. How you say, Bebe Einstein?

And they called for an annual public awareness campaign on the dangers of television for 0-3yo's.
France Bans Television for Babies [usatoday/ap]
Recommandations et délibérations du CSA relatives à la protection des mineurs [, eng.]

1 Comment

That's all good and everything, but if French parents are going to use TV to distract their tots, they will still have DVDs and regular programming -- and video via computer. What is the government going to do about those?

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