NOT IMPRESSED: Mellissa Torrens, of Casino, nursing her eight-month-old son Alan Bryce, at home in Casino with (from left) her nephew Dean Bolt, son Nathaniel Torrens and cousin Vicky Caldwell.
NOT IMPRESSED: Mellissa Torrens, of Casino, nursing her eight-month-old son Alan Bryce, at home in Casino with (from left) her nephew Dean Bolt, son Nathaniel Torrens and cousin Vicky Caldwell. Jacklyn Wagner

Telly 'bad' for toddlers

THE Federal Government is getting tough on toddlers.

The Wiggles, Playschool and Teletubbies are now officially off limits, according to new Federal guidelines for parents and carers.

The guidelines say that children should be banned from watching television until they are two.

But Casino mother Mellissa Torrens thinks the recommendations are 'ridiculous.'

“I am more worried about how they affect older children,” she said.

Ms Torrens agrees there should be limits to the amount of time children spend in front of the television, and the types of programs they watch, but she thinks the recommendations go too far.

She said her children watched about 30 minutes of television in the morning and a DVD before bed each night.

The guidelines warn against the under-twos watching television because it could stunt language development and shorten a child's attention span.

The first official recommendations on children's viewing habits also said television time should be limited to an hour a day for children aged two to five.

The drastic recommendations - which fly in the face of Australian children's actual viewing habits - are contained in the new Get Up and Grow guidelines for healthy eating and exercise in early childhood, devised by Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital as part of the Federal Government's anti-obesity drive.

“Based on recent research, it is recommended that children younger than two years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games),” a draft copy of the proposed guidelines, obtained by The Australian, said.

“Screen time ... may reduce the amount of time they have for active play, social contact with others and chances for language development.”

The Get up and Grow report - being finalised for release by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon next week - is designed for childcare centres, but advises parents to 'make a plan for reducing screen time at home'.



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