Watch without Mother - BBC's decision on children's TV encourages family division
Release Date 16 May 2012
Sara Broad, Lecturer in English and Education from the University of Reading's Institute of Education, is an expert on ‘media for children' and has researched ideas of 'the family' in education.
"Today's news that the BBC no longer intends to show children's television in their broadcasting schedule is significant in many ways. It suggests that children's viewing is less commercially significant than that of adult viewers, that children do not need dedicated programmes and that children's viewing ought to separate from family viewing, encouraging a division in the household.
"According to today's news release ‘Children's output remains a cornerstone of the BBC's public service offering and one of the BBC's foremost editorial priorities', but is a sad reflection that the BBC has continued to reduce expenditure on children's programmes and there remain few programmes that adherence to Lord Reith's early ethos, that viewing should ‘educate, entertain and inform' its audience.
"Sadly, the downgrading of programmes like Blue Peter and News Round, to the digital channels CBBC and CBeebies sends out the message that children's television requires less and less consideration. America is the main provider of cable television programmes and arguably the ubiquity of the American accent and attitude undermines UK pedagogy and identity. By moving mainstream BBC programmes onto cable television, they will be lost in cycle of cartoons and US high school sitcoms.
"It is important that BBC programmes remain in the mainstream and are promoted by parents to encourage speaking and listening, to support enquiry and to do more than encourage rampant consumerism. "Many US programmes are written as pure product placement, while some of the BBC children's television of the past was ground breaking in helping children ask questions about science, literature, nature and current affairs: I only hope that today's decision does not pave the way for a generation that loses a sense of cultural identity and who do not reflect on their viewing choices."