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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
'More rights for kids on TV' - report
Blue Jam
Blue Jam was criticised showing a swearing child
A report into children on television has concluded that children as young as three should be asked if they want to appear on shows.

The Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) is concerned at the lack of formal controls surrounding children featuring in non-drama programmes.

It believes parents may not be the best people to give permission and that the wishes of the child should be respected no matter how inconvenient.

But the report has highlighted the general good practice of broadcasters in dealing with children.

It also looked at how children were included in programmes aimed at older audiences such as Castaway 2000 and Kids Say the Funniest Things.

Swearing children

The BSC did express concern stringent controls for child actors did not apply to those appearing in non-fiction shows.

The BSC recently upheld a complaint about the appearance of a child appearing to swear on the comedy show Blue Jam.

This lead to concern that children were appearing in programmes that were not suitable for their viewing.

Reprimand

There was also worries about putting children under pressure for the amusement of viewers.

Complaints were received about two episodes of TFI Friday when young children were pitted against each other in staring competitions with prizes such as a car and a speedboat for their parents.

The Independent Television Commission severely reprimanded the producers for the incident which caused one child to cry live on TV.

This also led to a debate on whether parents were the right people to give permission for their children to participate, especially if prizes were at stake.

Speaking at the launch of the study, Lord Dubs of Battersea, Chairman of the BSC said:

"This study demonstrates the good practice that exists on the use of children in television programmes, however there is a lack of formal regulations such as those in place to protect professional child performers.

"It is important that broadcasters consider whether to extend these guidelines to cover all uses of children on television."

See also:

04 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Channel 4 comedy 'unacceptable'
22 Oct 00 | UK
TV watchdog boss resigns
28 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Watchdog raps TFI Friday
28 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Closer links for regulators
09 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Kilroy slates broadcasting watchdog
12 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Broadcasters welcome Ofcom
25 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Sex on TV complaints soar
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