One in five children in UK aged 4 and younger have a television set in their bedrooms, says survey.The growing trend has critics fearing that the TV sets are replacing parents in terms of soothing, entertaining and even educating youngsters.
According to research by retail analysts Mintel, some 17 percent of all parents say they have a television in the bedroom of children aged four and young.
AdvertisementYoung parents are particularly keen on the idea of technology with more than one in four - 28 percent - putting TVs in the rooms of under 4s.
To older generations, the idea of putting a TV in a bedroom is tantamount to child abuse, amid claims it leads to isolation, poor development and social skills.
However, this stigma does not apply for younger parents raised in homes where TVs are turned on from they moment they wake up to the time their heads touch the pillow.
The Mintel research found that, in general, parents from the poorest background with the fewest educational qualifications were most likely to put a TV into the room of a baby or toddler.
Single parents were also more likely to rely on the technology in the bedroom, at one in four - 25 percent - versus 13 percent of married couples.
However, this is not exclusively an issue for poorer families. Mintel found one in ten of families with the most wealth and education have put a TV into the baby's room.
"The widespread use of electronic babysitters in children's bedrooms is not only placing children at risk of exposure to unsuitable material, but it is also destructive of family life," the Daily Mail quoted director of the Family Education Trust, Norman Wells, as saying.
"Technology is a good tool, but a poor master and can have a damaging effect when it reduces the amount of time family members spend together in shared activities.
"A growing dependence on electronic gadgets and technology may be a contributory factor to the marked decline in the verbal communication skills of children and young people that has been noted in recent studies.
"Since children are impressionable, and television is a powerful medium that can influence mood and behaviour.
"It is important for parents to exercise control over what their children watch and that is not easy to do when the television is shut away in the privacy of the child's own bedroom," he stated.
There is research to suggest a growing number of children are beginning school without the ability to hold a conversation because they have spent their formative years in front of the box.
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