Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This is the modern world (part 2)

This is going to be one of those "Eeeeee, when I were a lad...." posts. Here we go...

When I was a child, Children's TV started at about 4.30pm and finished with The Magic Roundabout at 5.35pm. There were only three channels and one of those was mostly showing the test-card and the rest of the time seemed to be filled with Open University lectures by beardy men.

Now children's TV is spread across a dozen channels running from the early hours until late at night. Even the worthy and advert-free CBeebies starts at about 6am and runs until 7pm.

What is more interesting though is that today's technology makes it temptingly easy to indulge the natural inclination of the toddler which is to repeat! Sky plus, Tivo and all their copycats mean that not only can programmes be recorded and replayed repeatedly, but sections of programmes, individual songs, even a few seconds can be replayed at will.... over and over and over again.

Podcasts, Listen Again, Anytime TV, "The Red Button"... We live in an on-demand world and, boy oh boy, do toddlers know how to demand. Oliver may be adorable but he is as persistent as the next nearly-two year old. Many is the time that he has sat himself on the sofa and repeated "Barney, Barney, Barney, Barney...". Or "Thomas, Thomas, Thomas...". Or "Roly, Roly..." You get the picture. And he is getting to the age where he knows very well that I can rewind live TV. Suddenly I find myself telling him that we watch programmes all the way through, as if it is the Director's cut of "Postman Pat" that we are enjoying.

Ultimately it all seems harmless, so long as I am not promoting an ever decreasing attention span by enjoying the same few seconds of Boogie Beebies six consecutive times. Somehow, I think not.