Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Welcome Proof That Our Kids Haven't Been Ruined by the Digital Revolution

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Welcome Proof That Our Kids Haven't Been Ruined by the Digital Revolution

Article excerpt

Byline: Samuel Fishwick The Viewer

Planet Child ITV, 9pm THE austere TV mantra "never work with children or animals" doesn't sit well with today's insatiable Age of Cute. David Attenborough debunked it partly by achieving some success sending his Planet Earth documentary crews into unsuspecting birds' nests without anyone's eyes getting clawed out.

Anyone witnessing the viral success of every "Charlie bit my finger" YouTube-a-like or, you know, You've Been Framed, will also follow the logic that, if you stick a video camera in front of a small child, what follows will be totes adorbs with the right edit.

And so to the imaginatively titled Planet Child, ITV's "bold series of scientific experiments", which marries a bit of both. Setting out to capture the interior lives of four to seven-year-olds in the UK, it compares them with the lives of children on the other side of the planet. The children are obviously very sweet no brats allowed! even if they are semi-aware hostages to a pretty trying series of "experiments". Yes, I am wowed that six-year-old Michi and his unfeasibly large rucksack are allowed to commute to school through Tokyo's rush hour. Sorry, sending three control groups of well-behaved (and heavily supervised) children on a bus to find the London Eye does not equate.

I don't want to imply that I am a messy viewer who lives for the drama but, quite frankly, Planet Earth pans out rather inevitably. The children successfully navigate their way from Lambeth to Waterloo with the help of a map which, to be fair, is quite impressive, but the implication is that they're going to be totally hopeless because they've had their minds addled by PlayStation, tablets used by a third of under sevens in the UK, says the narrator and a lack of outdoor playtime. Three quarters of under-sevens spend less time outside than prison inmates. …

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