Controversial baby TV channel could be coming to the UK
LONDON - A controversial new television channel aimed the under-threes could be available in the UK by the end of the year.
BabyFirstTV launched in the US on the digital and satellite service DirecTV yesterday, aimed at toddlers and parents.
The launch has been greeted with scepticism by people, who see it as a free babysitting service for children that health campaigners say should not be watching television at all.
There are reports that the company behind BabyFirstTV is planning to launch the station here by Christmas.
Access to the commercial-free station costs $9.99 a month, although it is launching with a deal giving a month's free subscription.
DirecTV was at pains to point out that its content is closely monitored by experts including child psychologists and paediatricians.
Programmes are colour coded to indicate the educational value including shows like "I Can Sign!', where parents can learn sign language with their children, and 'Colour Symphony' to help babies fall asleep.
The company argues that because children under the age of two are already being put in front of the television, it may as well provide suitable shows for them.
Dan Fawcett, executive vice-president of DirecTV, said: "We have seen a strong demand for high-quality programming for babies and their parents that is safe and suitable for young viewers, and content that can help them bond and interact together."
There are numerous television stations aimed at toddlers and above, but babies have had to make do with videos -- although experts question the educational value of such products.
Increased time spent watching television is one of the factors contributing to the rise in childhood obesity. Fast-food makers arguing against a ban on advertising to children say that the government should be focusing on promoting active lifestyles rather than restricting their marketing.
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