France's broadcast authority has forbidden French channels from promoting television shows aimed at children under 3 years old. In addition, cable operators that air foreign channels with programming for babies are required to broadcast warnings stating: "Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them."
The new rules, issued by the High Audiovisual Council, are aimed at the introduction of foreign tot-devoted programming such as BabyFirstTV and Baby TV, both of which can be viewed via cable in France.
"Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration, as well as dependence on screens," the Council stated.
BabyFirstTV, launched in the United States in 2006, has ratcheted up the debate over TV programming for the very young. The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies should not be exposed to television at all. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint against BabyFirstTV with the Federal Trade Commission more than two years ago, accusing the channel of false and deceptive marketing. CCFC says it still is waiting for the FTC to rule on its complaint.
For its part, BabyFirstTV defended its product. "BabyFirstTV transforms traditional TV into an interactive and educational tool that relies on the television as a medium to deliver high-quality programming and an engaging experience for both baby and parents," the company said on its website.
Read about CCFC's response to the French marketing ban at commercialfreechildhood.org.
Read what others have to say about the marketing ban at ecochildsplay.com.
View BabyFirstTV's website at babyfirsttv.com.