Make face time exceed screen time again and again

It would not have been unusual for me to watch an episode of “Teletubbies” when the series first aired in 1997. At the time, there were two little Po fans in our house.

Today, as I heard; “Over the hill and far away the Teletubbies come out to play” and saw the bunnies hopping on the flower-festooned, grass-covered hills, I remembered why I too was a fan of the classic British series. 

After all those years I still am, and that’s why I welcomed the announcement that the new and improved series that launched last November on the BBC, has been picked up by Nick Jr. The first episode is scheduled for 8 a.m. on Friday, May 31 with premier episodes airing every weekday morning in June. 

The producers have managed, with some brightening and visual updates, to enhance one of the most successful global children’s brands of all time. It’s a kids’ show that rose above critics who decided to write homosexual innuendo between the lines of the super sweet series and its adorable characters.

“Teletubbies” is geared to pre-schoolers, not cynical adults. Two-year-old Sam was thrilled to be one of the first to cuddle a plush Po at the original Toys R Us Teletubbies product launch for media. The now 20-year-old Sam admits that the purple t-shirt he received that day was one of his favourites.

Back in the day, he watched the show on television. It was easy to control exposure to the only screen in our home. Today’s toddlers can watch the original “Teletubbies” series on YouTube by way of a tablet or smartphone. Unlimited programming, convenient access and relentless product development and marketing to the youngest demographic makes granting screen time much more challenging to parents these days. 

It this issue’s baby feature, Carolyn Jabs looks at that challenge through the lens of an American Academy of Pediatrics study that offers some important advice to parents of kids age two and under. It’s best to accept that most babies are going to view media on screen, to be selective of the content and most importantly to give little ones lots of your face time. Again, again, just like as the Teletubbies do.


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