Before I begin, I'm not an anti television crusader. I rather like watching tv, especially Coronation Street & Home and Away...
I do think it's a bit un-necessary for little people though.
I once knew a child who spoke with an American accent. Couldn't work out why this was, neither of his parents appeared to be American, and from what I could gather they'd never been there. His brother & sister had perfectly ordinary kiwi accents. Then another relative said something about him really loving Blue's Clues. And I realised that this five year old kid, who'd never left New Zealand, had exactly the same accent and speech mannerisms as the Blue's Clues guy (Who these days is some kind of an indie recording artist who sometimes makes terrible films). He used American vocabulary & intonation...It was truly bizarre and kind of terrifying.
Where kids tv is concerned I don't mind a bit of sesame street & the muppet show (especially the really old episodes featuring the icons of my youth!), and I'm quite partial to a bit of the Wombles! I think perhaps the difference is that if I put Jarvis in front of the telly there's a strong chance I would be sitting next to him & singing along with Elton John & Miss Piggy (must find that clip...wicked...).
There really is some horrific stuff on television, and I really do think that leaving kids alone to watch violent & hideous cartoons is a terrible mistake...And it's even more of a mistake to let a character on tv become the person who talks to a child the most, as demonstrated by mister blue's clues...Social interaction, people! Playing in the mud, building huts, singing songs!
Edited to add the link to an excellent interview about tv & little people I heard on National Radio this afternoon. Got to love the rnz website. Listen to this!
National Radio interview about TV & Under 2's...