Monday, 8 October 2007

No choice for children

Did you enjoy watching television when you were a child? Did you expect programmes specifically for your age group? Did you have favourites and agonise over the TV listings about what to watch when two of them clashed? It was rare as a child I really, really wanted to watch something on ITV, but when there was you could guarantee it clashed with something on the BBC. Well this isn't a problem for a lot of children in this day and age. For one sector the only limit is what restrictions their parents place on how much television they can watch, with multi-channel digital TV and PVR technology a world of viewing belongs to them. But at the other end of the spectrum there is a large chunk of children that have no choice most of the week. If you are in the 22% of households that have yet to get any sort of Digital TV on a weekday evening your choice is BBC1, BBC1 or BBC1, iTV1 now no longer has a children's television strand after school. If you have freeview or one of the generally similar basic packages from the cable and satellite companies you get the choice of the programming on BBC1, CBBC channel, Citv channel or Cbeebies, but if you are over the age of 12 that still gives you no choice whatsoever, the three digital only channels mentioned there don't cater for anyone over that age; even for those precocious teens that are happy watching programmes with more general appeal, they probably won't find anything worth watching. This is especially true if they are in the non-digital camp as the general programming at that time is still in daytime mode with a selection of mind numbing quizzes, talk shows and pro-am cookery.

Many of you will see all of this as a good thing, after all the youth of today should be doing their homework at that time, but I for one relished the break between school and homework that a spot of children's television gave me, before settling down to work while the bad sci-fi movie was on BBC 2, before the excitement of Tomorrow's World at 7:30. All has happened after last years decision by OFCOM to tell ITV that they weren't allowed to drop this strand, so it would be interesting to see what would happen if parents complained.

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