So that\’s the end of children\’s TV then

Or at least, that\’s the end of any kiddies stuff that doesn\’t come from the BBC:

Advertising aimed at under-11s should be banned amid fears it is creating a generation of children obsessed with money and material possessions, a powerful lobby of more than 50 experts warns today.

Wonder if they\’ve thought that through: or even whether that\’s the point of it?

44 comments on “So that\’s the end of children\’s TV then

  1. I struggle to do this with my children, I admit, but turning off is another option.

    My wife explained to them the nature of advertising, that they shouldnt believe everything they see or hear, and they have stopped behaving as if everything they see is the most amazing, must have toy. Not bad for six year olds. Pollys head would explode if she were told that to some extent, even six year olds can think for themselves.

  2. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Palitoy, Hornby, Meccano, Airfix (and of course the mighty Humbrol), Waddingtons, Mego Corp, and numerous other capitalist corporations for so enriching my childhood.

  3. Mego?

    But yes. Although most of my larger models weren’t Airfix. Struggling to remember who made them, though. Especially the 1/24 scale Stuka (okay – Google is your friend – that was Airfix.)

    The sole survivor of those days is the model of the Wasa I brought back from our holiday in Sweden.

  4. @Ian B
    Hornby! Dublo was so expensive (and mind numbingly boring). A good layout with enough rolling-stock, stations, signals ( a week’s pocket money each) to run a choo-choo mindlessly round till it fell off would have put the average middle-class family into genteel poverty. Kids really were better off throwing stones into rivers, trespassing ,fishing, setting fire to things,the more constructive pursuits.
    And Meccano. Also expensive:you’d build something that looked nothing whatsoever like the original because of the holes and then take it apart again .Neither use nor ornament as the saying goes.

  5. One of the outcomes of the junk food ban is that lots of parents I know now have Sky because you can get kids channels on a subscription.

    Yup, I’m tickled that Graun lefties stuffed money into Murdoch’s pockets.

  6. Mego?

    Pretty much my last toy fascination before that age when you put away childish things; the utterly awesome Micronauts.

  7. Oh, and my Dad used to go to NATO conferences (no, I don’t know why, he’s never been in the military and was a lecturer in Management at a not-even-a-new-University) and he’d bring back a train and a carriage from where-ever it was. Which was good. As we were still running the trains and rolling stock he’d been given as a kid.

  8. Kids really were better off … setting fire to things

    Oh, like when I ran my controller and my Dad’s 1950s one in parallel to speed the trains up. Yes …

    Still, the carpet in our bedroom wasn’t exactly luxury grade 🙂

  9. I just do not understand these people. How have we got to the stage where we assume that parents just cannot say ‘no’?

    We haven’t actually got a telly, which is the other way around it.

    Re the toy (and allied) corporations, I would add whoever made Action Man, plus adidas, Gilbert, Gray Nicolls, Penguin, Raleigh, and whoever published the old Commando books, Warlord and Battle-Action.

    DBC is wrong about NZ lamb but right about Hornby, and Airfix – the big old Spitfire and the Tirpitz and Hood models… Hours, days, of fun. I might even redo the Hood now, actually.

  10. The programmes themselves are the adverts. Yes even the BBC aired ones. I would highly doubt BBC are paying the full production costs.

  11. @DBC “Kids really were better off throwing stones into rivers, trespassing ,fishing, setting fire to things,the more constructive pursuits.”

    Scrumping, damming streams, making Tarzan swings, making dens in the woods, going shooting with my dad’s 12 bore, making mini pipe bombs by removing the gunpowder from cartridges… Way better than playing Grand Theft Auto, surely.

  12. @Serf, Polly’s head would explode if she thought any other adults could think for themselves. Then she’d have to stop doing their thinking for them.

  13. Interested-

    Palitoy made Action Man.

    The point being that all these toys that are now looked back on with warm nostalgia were just as much aspirational toys as the ones these miserablists are moaning about today. Wanting a tank for your action man, the next Meccano set, more trains, whatever. It’s not new.

    These cunts won’t be happy until there’s nothing left but a hoop and stick to play with. Damn them to hell.

  14. And then the stick will be banned for being a symbol of phallocentric oppression.

    Then trees will be banned because kids will get symbols of phallocentric oppression from them.

  15. I’m so glad I got my childhood out of the way in the 1980’s… before anyone invented advertising.. otherwise I’d have forced my parents to buy me loads of stuff, and I’d have grown up a spoiled and usesless vassal for corporate exploitation.

    Advertising was invented *after* the 1980’s, right?

  16. Hallowed Be, yep they are adverts for all the merchandise connected with the programme. But then progressive lefties don’t have much thinking power, they only think emotionally and therefore can only work with obvious things such as blatant adverts. Subtle advertising just skips over their head and they are sucked in by it.

    I would guess that the best advertising targets are left wingers as they believe everything whilst the right question everything or at least use their brain to think something through. Or am I being too simplistic?

  17. Interested: “I just do not understand these people. How have we got to the stage where we assume that parents just cannot say ‘no’? “

    Yes. And not just to their children. They lack all self-control themselves.

  18. @IanB – Palitoy, that’s it. You’re right re wanting stuff – I always wanted the Scimitar (or Scorpion?) but ended up with the armoured car, I think a Fox, which was a good deal less sexy.

    It’s this kind of overreach which will eventually fuck them up; most people don’t care about the shit that winds some of us up, but eventually they’ll go too far. Probably when they try to ban booze.

  19. I spent much time as a child mixing chemicals together and thus making smells, gases and fires.

    Unfortunately my children will not be able to get their hands on the kind of chemicals I did. Its not safe you see.

  20. And what is childish about Hornby and Meccano?!!

    I don’t think I’m really entitled to comment on that, considering that back when I was a chief lx I had a train set running around the trunking in my office.

  21. In the spirit of bloody-mindedness, I’m prepared to make an argument.

    Creating adverts that target the under 10s, who have no significant income of their own is a deliberate attempt to undermine the parents. If you want to sell something, you should address the one with the cash, not the one with the incessant, whiny voice.

    As to which adverts target small children, if there are fast cuts between children staring open-mouthed and pieces of plastic jiggling unconvincingly, then it counts.

  22. @Mr Potarto, it isn’t undermining the parents, it’s alerting the kids and they may then present the parents with a choice. For goodness’ sake, adults can say no to kids!

    Plus, it’s not impossible for kids to save – my 2x pre teenagers just bought their own iPods (v4, recons, 89GBP ea) with their own cash, saved out of grandparent pocket money of 1GBP every time they see them, which is c25 times a year or less. And they are buying their own games, apps and choons, too.

    And, finally, as Santa, to be honest the ads (when I see them, which isn’t often) give me ideas.

    (I know you were playing devil’s advocate, by the way.)

  23. I tried really hard to get my kids to play with all the construction stuff advertised on telly but I couldn’t lure my daughters away from making their own dollshouse stuff from match boxes and other scraps…

  24. Perhaps reducing the amount of TV children watch might be a good thing and would be something that many parents would welcome. When there was only an hour’s kids TV per night on 2 channels – I suspect that my parents had a rather easier task in encouraging me to read/do homework etc. than I now have. In addition, I don’t remember being subject to the same peer pressure to acquire all the latest brands (or the inveitable disappointment) as my children now face.

  25. Interested,

    Yes, adults can say no. In fact, sometimes I think it’s the only word I say between six and eight each evening. It would be nice not to have people making me say it more often.

    And you’re right the squeakers do have money. Squeaker #2, age six has $90 left over from a birthday and Christmas – I don’t remember the last time I had $90 in cash.

    We tend to avoid this issue by forcing them to stay on Netflix. Advert free and they can watch what they want. Bliss. But what to do they watch? Pokemon, Bakugan, Spinjitsu, Ninjago: all the things that are thinly veiled adverts for toy ranges!

    I’m not against regulation per se, but regulation of adverts seems pointless when the programs themselves are adverts.

  26. @tory boys never grow up

    Absolutely. We don’t have a family telly for that reason. (I have one, hidden away, for sports-watching purposes.)

    A lot of parents, though, are so knackered – both working, usually, I suppose – that they plonk the kids in front of the telly as a means of crowd control.

    I don’t remember my folks being as knackered as modern parents seem to be, actually.

    Is it just that I don’t remember? or that modern parents are 10 years older? Or pressure of life and work? I dunno.

    @Mr Potarto ” In fact, sometimes I think its the only word I say between six and eight each evening.”

    In my house, it’s the only thing I say between 7am and 9pm.

  27. @ tory boys etc

    “Perhaps reducing the amount of TV children watch might be a good thing and would be something that many parents would welcome.”

    Perhaps parents who’d welcome their children watching less TV could reduce the amount of TV their children watch by not letting their children watch so much TV?

    I can’t imagine that all this is a problem for the vast majority of families. I think most parents are capable of saying ‘no’ to their children, or making them turn the telly off and do something else. This sort of fussing comes from a few weak parents who need someone else to blame, and some ‘experts’ who’ve seen a ‘think of the cheeeldren’ opportunity to grind their anti-something axes.

  28. Do you have children Thought Gang? If you did you might realise what a part peer pressure plays in their life.

    Be assured I say no to mine a lot of the time and push them very hard with their homework and reading – but that doesn’t mean that I and many others wouldn’t mind this part of our life being made a little easier. I daresay in your free for all lets praise the free market world anything goes, but some of us do still believe in society.

  29. The “peer pressure” is human nature, the focus on possessions is human nature, and the focus of it on toys is a result of the existence of those toys. Which toys in particular are admired can be influenced by advertisers, but if a toy is crap (who remembers Sectaurs, eh?) it won’t become a focus.

    I don’t remember ever seeing an advert for Rubik’s cube. I wanted one because it was a craze, and everyone else either had one or wanted one. Likewise, Action Man. The pressure on kids and thus on parents comes from mere availability of things to desire.

    You can abolish advertising if you like, but it will have far less effect than you think. So, as with the failure of banning tobacco advertising, you will then have to move to measures against the product itself. In the end, if you want to stop kids yearning for these toys, you’ll have to ban the toys. Which of course is what our “eminent panel” really want. Because they don’t like people enjoying themselves, particularly children, whose lives should be enitirely devoted to indoctrinal education in secular, Green madrassas.

    Toys today are great. THey’re much better than the ones we had in the 1970s when I was a kid, and ours were much better than the ones my parents had. All they had were hoops and sticks, golliwogs and terrifying china dolls that looked like Hamble. Thank God those days are over.

  30. Tim,

    It all depends on what channel they’re watching. The only commercial childrens’ TV we do is ‘Milkshake’ on Channel 5 in the mornings, and although I’m still groggy between 07.30 and 07.55 (OK, OK, between the start of ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’ and the end of ‘Noddy’) I can’t say I’ve noticed too much over commercialisation. ITV on Saturday mornings in the ’70’s had more toy adverts.

    We tend to be strictly CBeebies, and the amount of green agitprop aimed at under fives on it is quite considerable. Bob The Builder’s motto, which is repeated at least once every episode, is ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ (and I’ll bet you didn’t know that Neil Morrissey also voices Lofty, Farmer Pickles and Mr. Sabatini, the owner of the ice cream parlour – there, you’ve learned something new today). There’s one show on CBeebies I insisted my wife not let our son watch, called ‘Tommy Zoom’ – as well as being hypercrap and voiced by Jerome Flynn, it was so full of greenprop that either the villain or his cat was called Polluto.

    There’s an enormous ratings war going on in that part of the schedule, BTW. Last year, the headline act on the CBeebies Bedtime Stories was David Tennant – this year, it’s Damien Lewis. Last year’s reader from’Coronation Street’ was Shobna Gulati, this year it’s Sally Dynevor. I rather suspect those readers have been chosen for whatever appeal they might have for parents rather than children.

  31. Interested – “You-re right re wanting stuff [] I always wanted the Scimitar (or Scorpion?) but ended up with the armoured car, I think a Fox, which was a good deal less sexy.”

    Well, there is a reasonably good market out there for second-hand British armoured vehicles. I believe that a proper tank only goes for 25,000 pounds or so.

    So it is not too late.

    You might want to get in touch with these people – as they seem to have some for sale:

    http://www.khakicorpsimports.com/cat-track-cvrt.htm

    (I assume tanks are so, relatively speaking, cheap because it is naff to collect them. I think that is a bit sad. I do not have room at the moment but I would not mind an Abbott SPG for instance. Not sure what I would do with it. Keep the weeds down perhaps)

  32. @ IanB: “Which of course is what our “eminent panel” really want. Because they don’t like people enjoying themselves, particularly children, whose lives should be enitirely devoted to indoctrinal education in secular, Green madrassas.”

    Eh? Have you any evidence for that bizarre assertion? Are you really saying that none of the signatories to the Telegraph letter (which I agree is tosh) want children to enjoy themselves?

  33. Be assured I say no to mine a lot of the time and push them very hard with their homework and reading – but that doesn’t mean that I and many others wouldn’t mind this part of our life being made a little easier.

    So the lives of others should be arranged to make yours easier?

    I daresay in your free for all lets praise the free market world anything goes, but some of us do still believe in society.

    It seems you are more concerned with telling society what to do.

  34. Churn,

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Or, rather, that they see idle pleasures as harmful (it is the puritan heritage) and any pleasure gained should be through moral improvement and worthy works etc.

    Hence, whenever these people get power over kids’ TV, it’s always either overtly appallingly worthy like Blue Peter, or it’s dismal propaganda like Captain Planet and The Get Along Gang.

  35. @Ian B
    You’re the one extolling the worthy pleasures of Meccano etc Constructing things. As a child I could not see anything more “educational” than carefully building a balsa wood model aeroplane, stretching and tightening tissue paper over it, fiddling about with a toy engine, hurting your finger in the process then launching it for a curving flight straight into the ground when it would smash to smithereens : quite symbolised education really. It was the sheer lack of imagination that got me; you could n’t liven up watching a train going round a track by firing catapults at it or arranging for it to head off the table into a bucket of water.Oh no: not with Hornby Dublo the price it was.Altogether too much respect for property really, not enough destruction ,which we are constantly being told by TW is creative.

  36. DBC

    I built a large number of Airfix model aircraft many of which ended up badly damaged in dogfights, especially the bombers which would have matches stuck in any available nook or cranny and ignited. You certainly could have fun with things you’d spent hours putting together, rather poorly in my case I’m afraid. I built every type of model or assembly toy I could get my hands on and was obsessed with model railways yet still had time for all the building camps, lighting fires and so forth that you rightly extol.
    Btw did anyone make Revel kits ? Rather better quality that Airfix, which were still good, and therefore a bit more expensive, in my day 2/6 rather than 2 bob.

  37. I built a lot of the Matchbox kits, because they were cheap and came with a little “diorama” to display it on, which was kind of cool.

  38. #32 Tory Boys never grow up – Is this some kind of ‘Arnald-lite’ account?

    ‘I daresay in your free for all let praise the free market world anything goes, but some of us still believe in society’

    A society where corporal punishment is permitted perhaps, or one where the slightest whiff of discipline doesn’t get one a potential visit from Social Services, the ‘Children’s Rights Commission’ accompanied by Her majesty’s constabulary? You mean that kind of society, Yes? – Thought not……

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