Parents allow children under 5 to watch adult TV shows

Parents regularly use TV as a babysitter and most don’t monitor what their kids are watching, says poll

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More than half of parents allow under-5s to watch TV shows geared towards grown-ups, according to new research.

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Some 54% of the 1,000 mums and dads polled admit to letting their children watch adult-orientated shows, like Coronation Street and Eastenders. The London-based soap hit the headlines recently with a controversial baby snatching storyline and has previously covered issues such as rape and child abuse.

Almost 78% of parents said their kids watch TV alone for around two hours a day, while a quarter of mums and dads admitted using the television as a babysitter.

The survey was carried out as part of a national drive to improve standards of speech, language and listening by government-funded body The Communication Trust. It published a 10-point guide for TV viewing for under-5s, which includes watching programmes with youngsters, making sure shows are age-specific, and switching off the TV at vital times to allow children to play.

“Chatting about characters, making up stories and even acting out adventures can help parents to develop their child’s language and communication,” said campaign spokeswoman Wendy Lee.

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