TV Everywhere, and I Mean Everywhere: Commentary

So I was sat in the bath the other day, and like Archimedes, I had a small "eureka!" moment. Well, it wasn't me in the bathtub, but close enough.

On Monday I was racing my daughter to the bathroom since I needed to get to clients and she needed to go to school.

She (being four) also wanted to watch her morning breakfast time fix of some children’s TV programme (for those of you that care it was The Octonauts, which she has been hooked on for a few weeks now on CBBC).

However, she needed to have a bath. Having a bath after the program wasn't an option, since it would have been too late to make it to school.

With the program starting in just a matter of moments, and fearing an irrational tantrum, I had a moment of parental geek desperation/inspiration. I grabbed my iPhone, hooked up TV Catchup, found the CBBC live stream, wedged it in the tooth brush holder in the bathroom, and threw my daughter into the bath.

I bathed her during Octonauts—watched from the bath by happy daughter—and school, mum, and clients were happy.

Yeah I realise that some of you would have passed daughter to mum, or SuperNanny, or simply never let her get hooked on TV, but hey this is Streaming Media, not "Good Parenting."

But the reason I  tell this tale is that while she was merrily splashing about, what really struck me was the displacement of the TV. Not only has it moved from the front room to the bedroom and to the office, but also it has spread out to every room in the home, bathroom included. Indeed my daughter will probably find it normal to "chill out in the bath with a movie" by the time she is at university. Now while that may have once been the preserve of the fanatically TV addicted, or the super rich, it is becoming the preserve of absolutely all of us. Largely thanks to streaming! Awesome.

As a comparison, I imagined what it would be like a few decades back for me (coming from the cathode ray tube generation) sitting in the bath with a few KV of charged capacitors wedged in the sink, ensuring I could watch Zorro episodes ... Potentially a lethal experience. I'm not surprised my parents didn't encourage TV in the bath.

But with all this displacement comes a whole raft of new social issues. With parents like me (!) I can see my daughter watching the TV at the back of the class, during country walks, on the bus, and frankly anywhere. In fact we all know this is a reality. Exciting for our generation, but so frighteningly "normal" for our kids.

That moment where the sports fan jumps up cheering in the middle of the wedding ceremony with the radio earpeice jammed in his ear is spreading, and I don’t see the next generation getting any better.

However, that said, to contrast my own argument: My daugther has always had fairly free access to TV, moreso than perhaps many other of her peers. I have always been aware of that, and sometimes felt slightly guilty as if I was doing something bad like teaching her to smoke. But at the same time I feel, working with streaming and video, it would be hypocritical to teach her it is bad for her to watch too much TV when I can't actually justify that argument in my own work life.

Indeed (perhaps I have been lucky) but she shows little interest in TV at the moment apart from the morning fix of the Octonauts, while some of her more restricted friends can't tear themselves away from any and every opportunity they get to stare at the screen.

Perhaps a waterproof case for an iPad is their best solution.

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