TV nannies exploit toddlers, says NSPCC

UK Telegraph 14 November 2007
Television nannies are teaching “outdated and potentially harmful” techniques, and should be banned from featuring children under five on their shows, the NSPCC has said. Programmes such as Bringing Up Baby exploit babies and toddlers and damage the confidence of new parents who slavishly follow the techniques espoused by unqualified and often childless nannies, the charity claimed. The warning comes as Channel 4 investigates Claire Verity, the controversial “baby guru” on Bringing Up Baby, over claims that she lied on her CV about her childcare qualifications. Miss Verity faced accusations of child cruelty over the tough techniques she used to discipline children, including recommending that infants be left to sleep in a separate room from their mother, and discouraging parents from making eye contact with their offspring.Eileen Hayes, a parenting adviser for the NSPCC, said that child care experts were “deeply concerned” that vulnerable new parents might be putting their children at risk by adopting these “old-fashioned, completely discredited” techniques. She said that children under three, and probably under five, should be banned from appearing on reality television programmes until rigorous checks were in place to ensure that they are not put at harm.Miss Hayes, who was speaking at a debate called I’m a Little Kid, Get Me Out Of Here, said the charity had received numerous complaints from parents who claim their lives had been destroyed by appearing on parenting programmes. Kerry Hillhouse, a Scottish mother of three who participated in Supernanny, said producers had edited out all of the positive aspects of her family life, making her look like “the worst mother in Britain”.

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