I wept when my kids turned two last month, partly because they are growing up way to fast for my liking. But I also shed tears of joy, because I had permission to let go of the mom guilt I had over letting them watch TV before the AAP recommended age of two. I thought I could turn on any kids cartoon and tune out, but parents in Australia have taught me that isn’t the case. An episode of the UK cartoon Peppa Pig that aired in Australia was banned because it contained the message that spiders aren’t anything to fear. Which is a great message, unless you live in Australia or one of the other places in the world were a spider bite can be deadly.
io9 says parents complained to the Australian Broadcasting Company over the episode “Mister Skinnylegs”, saying the message that spiders were very small and can’t hurt you was inappropriate and inaccurate in their country. The Australian Broadcasting company agreed, and said the episode wasn’t even supposed to air. From io9:
The ABC considered the episode unsuitable for broadcast in Australia and it had been restricted from being aired on the ABC’s television networks. However, the episode was accidentally published online due to a technical problem. The ABC apologised to the complainant and advised that the episode was no longer available online. In addition, the ABC undertook to improve internal communication about restricted episodes to ensure the error would not recur.
In case you’re not familiar with Peppa Pig, it’s a typical preschooler show where the lead character goes through the usual age appropriate life lessons, only much less annoying than the average cartoon (I’m looking at you Caillou). I think what makes Peppa Pig so much less offensive to the ears when it’s playing in the background is that there are few things in life I find cuter than a small child with an adorable accent. I lack the funds to send my boys overseas to boarding school. And really, I’m still working on being comfortable putting them in the gym day care for an hour, so transatlantic relocation isn’t happening, even if it would turn them into my very own Christopher Robins. But I’ll admit I let them watch UK cartoons with the secret hope that they pick up some fun phrases,or at least Peppa Pig’s manners.