London: More than half of British parents with children under five years of age let them watch ‘adult’ television programmes, despite fears over unsuitable content.
The disclosure follows claims from teachers that unsupervised access to television may be leading to a decline in discipline standards as children mimic bad behaviour seen on screen, reports the Telegraph.
A poll of 1,000 parents, carried out as part of the Hello campaign, found that 93 percent let them watch TV, and 54 percent allowed them to see programmes considered to be orientated towards adults.
This includes Coronation Street and EastEnders, the soap opera that courted recent controversy over a baby snatching storyline. It has previously covered issues such as rape, murder, drug addiction and child abuse.
Almost 78 percent of parents claim children watch TV alone for around two hours a day and two-thirds do not know about the characters or storylines being viewed.
A quarter of mothers or fathers admitted using the television as a "babysitter".
“Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children’s communication development. This survey highlights they are not suffering from ‘guilt overload’ but there are areas where parents would benefit from more information and advice,” said Wendy Lee, spokeswoman for the campaign.
“Chatting about characters, making up stories and even acting out adventures can help parents to develop their child’s language and communication,” she added.