Friday, July 27, 2007


Baby TV comes to Canada

The front page of the Citizen this morning had a big article about the pending arrival of BabyFirstTV, a new 24 hour TV network "devoted to babies six months to three years."

My only question: in the age of the ubiquitous DVD player, do we really need round-the-clock programming for babies? Can they not get past the 3 am feed without a bit of electric nipple to sooth them back to sleep?

Most of what I've read on this whole baby TV debate has centred around the educational value of TV for babies, and whether watching Baby Einstein three times a day at the age of six months will help junior improve his high school grade point average. Seriously. Is there anyone who really believes those weird psychedelic camera angles of brightly coloured toys are cranking up baby's IQ?

Of course not. TV for babies is not really for babies; it's for mothers (and fathers.) It's about finding something that distracts a needy baby for 15 or 20 minutes so a beleagured new mom can load the dishwasher or take a shower or (god forbid) sit and drink a cup of coffee and stare off into space for a while. Never, of course, so mom can pick up the laptop and check what's up in the blogosphere. Never that.

You know I don't have a problem with TV for kids. Heck, ask my mother and she'll tell you I graduated magna cum laude from university in no small part due to the influence of two hours of Sesame Street a day in my formative years. And yet, I don't think we'll be subscribing to Baby TV. Truth be told, we only have basic cable anyway. But I've got a drawer full of Baby Einstein DVDs that I'll happily dust off and put back into circulation. My biggest challenge will be getting the boys to share the DVD player. With any luck, Queen Amidala will be in heavy rotation by then.