Nanny State

The Latest Peril for Kids: Lack of TV


Efforts to protect innocent children in the U.K. from dangerous ads for high-sugar/fat foods have led to a drastic drop in the amount of funding available for high-quality kids' TV. Funding for kids' programs has fallen by £30 million ($61 million) since a ban made it illegal to advertise "unhealthy" food to children:

ITV responded [to the ban] by scrapping new commissions and long-running hits, including My Parents Are Aliens. Drama repeats have replaced children's programmes on ITV1 at teatime as the channel competes for ratings with [the more trashy] Channel 4.

Children now have to suffer through endless re-runs of Australian soaps and sappy dramas–thus avoiding the perils of junk food ads, but only at the cost of their "cognitive, linguistic, emotional and social development." So the government doesn't mind dimwit kids, as long as they're not fat.

The answer, of course, is legislation. Presenters of children's TV programs, and other such experts, want regulation to make sure broadcasters keep a minimum amount of kids' TV around. And some subsidies thrown in for fun.