Is TV bad for my kids? (2007)
There has been no UK study on the effect on children of taking TVs and computers out of the home. That is despite the fact that critics argue obesity, laziness and violence can all be traced back in some way to excessive use of TV and computer games. Panorama tried to find out if TV really is bad for children by conducting our own experiment to see what happens when televisions and computers are removed from their lives. We worked closely with Professor Barry Gunter, a psychologist from the University of Leicester whose main focus is the way the media affect us all:
"I think this is an exciting study because it's a very unusual kind of study to carry out."
Then we enlisted the help of seven and eight-year-olds from Park Road Primary School on the outskirts of Manchester. They agreed to take part in our experiment which meant going to their homes, removing the screens, the TV, the PC, the games, everything but the microwave. In exchange they were given a camera to film what happened and kept a daily diary. You can watch some exclusive footage of two of the families featured in the programme, the Ropers and the Irvings.
We also offered parents the chance to try the Panorama Ban TV experiment online. Twenty five of you opted to take part. Near the end of the online experiment, families switched their TVs back on.