Why my child is not allowed to watch Teletubbies

Attention, readers: The tone of this article is exaggerated for humor value.  Although it does describe a potentially serious side-effect of watching a program that I personally find unbearably irritating, not every detail is intended literally.  If you feel angry after reading it, please take a deep breath and step away from the screen. Comments are closed now that I have given the Teletubbies fans a more than fair chance to demonstrate their social skills and intelligence.

Nicholas is six-and-a-half now, far older than the target audience for Teletubbies, but this morning he was teasing me again about this rule, and I realized that the story behind it should be explained on the Internet so that other parents can benefit from my traumatic experience instead of experiencing it themselves.

The Teletubbies are an evil force that corrupts children!!!  No, this is not about Tinky-Winky being gay.  It’s about the unique mind-altering, discipline-perverting, common-sense-shattering power of those plastic-faced demons.

I was disgusted by the existence of Teletubbies from the very beginning: It’s a television program for one-year-olds, and one-year-olds should not watch any television at all.  When I was pregnant with Nicholas and spending a lot of time on the couch feeling queasy, I watched an entire episode of Teletubbies and found it appalling: They live in an unrealistic world, eat nothing but dessert, speak in annoying voices, and are accompanied by a cloying narrator and some kind of giant chortling sky-baby!  Aargh!  I concluded that no child of mine would ever watch Teletubbies.  Daniel readily agreed: “There are plenty of better things to watch, when we’re watching anything.”

We were about 99% successful in preventing Nicholas from watching television before he was two years old.  When he did start watching, we watched it with him, which ruled out the most inane programs.

But then, around his third birthday, Daniel and I got sick simultaneously.  For the first time, we “used TV as a babysitter” to some extent, allowing Nicholas to watch hours of anything that seemed remotely appropriate while we wallowed in semi-consciousness.

One day, when I came downstairs from my turn for quiet napping, we had a conversation that went something like this:
NICK: Guess what Daddy and me watched!  Teletubbies!!!
MAMA: Ack! What?!  We agreed on NO Teletubbies EVER!
DADDY: Sorry, but I was asleep when it started, and it seems pretty harmless, just weird.  This episode showed inside their underground lair.  Did you know they have sort of a TARDIS console down there?
MAMA: You mean Teletubbies are able to use knobs and things?
NICK: Yes, like the custard dispenser!  Custard!  Custard!  (supersonic giggling) Hee hee hee!
DADDY: They have like a whole control panel of some sort.
MAMA: (feverishly paranoid) You can’t let Teletubbies control things!  They’re obviously not competent!  And now they have time travel?  No era is safe! [etc.]

The next day at precisely 4:00 a.m., Nicholas awakened me by jumping on my head screeching, “Time for Teletubby bye-bye!!”  Such behavior was completely out of character for him–it’s even less sensible, and far more evil, than building towers in the dark–so it can only be explained by those pallid plastic-faced malefactors having implanted a post-hypnotic suggestion in my child’s innocent young mind.  What’s next, an antenna sprouting from his head?!?

“NO MORE TELETUBBIES!!”  I said it loud and clear.  I thought we were all in agreement.

Several months later, I returned from a Girl Scout overnight to find a Teletubbies DVD lying around.  Daniel had allowed Nicholas to check it out of the library.  I was indignant, but they promised to watch it only when I was out of the house, believing that the whole issue was with my personal hatred of cloying baby-talk and fiendish giggles.

At 4:00 a.m., a small knee hit me in the chin, a pajama-clad belly mashed into my face, a sticky little hand yanked my hair, and a nightmare version of my son’s dear little voice shrilled, “Time for Teletubby bye-bye!!”  I turned on the light, extricated my head, and spent several minutes shaking Nicholas awake as he–with his eyes half-open and rolled back–chortled maniacally.  He was clearly possessed.  It would have been terrifying if I hadn’t been so annoyed.

Now that this was shown to be a clear pattern of behavior rather than an isolated incident, Daniel was convinced of the wisdom of forbidding all future Teletubbies viewing.  However, he and Nicholas had developed a routine in which Nicholas pulled up Daniel’s shirt and kissed him on the tummy, and Daniel giggled “like a Teletubby.”  I was able to tolerate this only because Daniel is not capable of a particularly shrill giggle.  For months, they did it every day when Nicholas and I were leaving for school.  But at least nothing was said about it being time for bye-bye.  Aargh.

In conclusion:

  1. Teletubbies are evil pawns from another world, sent by the creepy sky-baby to infiltrate our children’s minds and cause them to gleefully break our necks or at least drive us insane.
  2. If, against my advice, you have allowed your young child to watch Teletubbies, set your alarm for 3:55 a.m. and get up off your pillow, out of harm’s way.
  3. Just because you’re not the parent who suffered in the middle of the night doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the Teletubby menace even when the other parent is out of town.
  4. Banning Teletubbies from our home works for me!  Nicholas has never once jumped on my head in the night for any other reason.
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About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

30 Responses to Why my child is not allowed to watch Teletubbies

  1. Donna says:

    My kids are all (relatively) grown now … well into the teen years and beyond, but they still tease me over the fact that I forbade the watching of teletubbies. It seemed to be blatantly attempting to seduce and brainwash those most malleable of minds. Whether Tinky Winky was gay or not was utterly irrelevant to the fact that a giant baby in the sky told them what to do, say, and think! They’ve caught snippets of it as they’ve grown older and are generally pretty grateful that I saved them from it!

  2. nice information, thanks. hope you make some more posts soon.

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  4. Ruby says:

    Thank you very much. Pl post similar topics.

  5. Pingback: Babies and Television « The Earthling's Handbook

  6. Tulip says:

    Yuck, I don’t like teletubbies either. I agree with you 100% No TELETUBBIES. It really is an evil show. Also, I really liked your post about TV. I didn’t do that with my eldest daughter, but my middle child didn’t watch until about 2 yrs and I won’t let my youngest watch either. Thanks for sharing it at my link up!

  7. MIchelle Clark says:

    Seriously, is there anything GOOD on tv? My eldest started having “issues” from watching Arthur…she turned into a whiney little brat always talking about running away. My kids aren’t allowed to watch tv when Dad’s gone. There’s nothing I can do about it when he’s home but to send them to their rooms or do something with them in our bedroom. The tv’s brought nothing but grief into my home. It’s good to find like minded people out there…

  8. Babychaser says:

    This is hysterical! I’m right with you. For similar reasons, my children are not allowed to watch anything… and by anything, I mean anything that will result in me being annoyed when they act it out or repeat something over and over and over (for the most part that leaves edited documentaries and Signing Time). I’m forever sorry I allowed them to watch the “Boz” Christmas program… and it is a Christian program with wonderful lessons, good family values and children treating adults and each other with respect. Really, I enjoy the program myself (the one time I let them watch it each December), but then they talk about and act out all the little silly parts. Ugh. Oh well, at least it’s not Teletubbies! Thanks for the perspective.

  9. sky says:

    i disagree the teletubbies arent evil i watched it as a kid and im perfectly fine they arent evil its just a kids show and all the kids shows nowadays a just as weird and annoying so it don’t matter if they are gay or evil its still a good show

  10. Loi says:

    You truly need to get checked on the head. Seriously, theres something wrong with you.

  11. tia says:

    wow … yous are all sick and immature !!! ITS A KIDS SHOW … it doesnt posses them, it doesnt brain wash them, babies simply like it because its a simple show for them too understand !!!
    I sacrifice watching thomas and friends, play school and teletubbies … even in the night garden … I DO WHAT MAKES MY CHILD HAPPY … doesnt mean i put them in front of television all day and i also get them outside and play with them…

    i love hearing my 2 and 1 yo laughing over silly shows while i am doing housework … yous need your head checked if you dont let your child induldge in this stuff every now and again!!!

    THERE KIDS LET THEM BE KIDS … YOU DONT KNOW WHAT CAN HAPPEN TOMORROW!!!

    • 'Becca says:

      I’m kidding about the demon possession, but I had a reason for concluding that this program was a bad influence on my child, which you seem to have missed: Both times he was allowed to watch it, the next night he HURT me and woke me up in the middle of the night! I don’t put up with that if I can possibly avoid it. He never did anything like that except after watching Teletubbies, so I see a connection.

      There are plenty of other television shows that make my child happy, and he has spent many hours of his life enjoying them. He’s hardly deprived.

      We did not allow him to watch television when he was a baby or 1-year-old, for very good reasons which I explained in this article. It’s paid off; we now have a very smart, creative 8-year-old who has normal vision, is a healthy weight, is actively engaged in school, and writes and speaks correct grammar. It might have “made him happy” to watch television as an infant, just as it might “make him happy” now to eat nothing but cookies and never brush his teeth, but as a responsible parent I balance his happiness with his health and well-being. It’s true we don’t KNOW what will happen tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean we should never give a thought to our children’s futures.

      • Jake says:

        you’re dumb as hell, I watched it as often as I could, got an average A atm, so in which damn way did teletubbies corrupt me and my friends?

        • 'Becca says:

          Did you ever jump on your parent’s head in the middle of the night shrieking about Teletubbies? If not, then you escaped this particular influence.

          Funny how none of the people who think I’m dumb seem to have read the article well enough to understand that my child ATTACKED ME TWICE after watching Teletubbies and never did it at any other time. Why is it dumb to protect myself against getting my neck broken, or even just being annoyed by being waked up at 4am?

    • TBT says:

      That’s true. If the show some how posses your child you may really need to take him to a church. If he is being posses then you should ask a priest. I am not saying your child is on a bad side but he could also watch to much TV and put together bad things in his mind from everything he watches. You might think teletubies because that is the show he watches the most or he mixes that show with another into something bad in his mind. It might not be teletubies faultt

      • 'Becca says:

        You haven’t seen much of the rest of this site! I have been taking my child to church all his life, so no problem there. He does not watch a lot of TV, less than the average American child.

        If you’d read even this article…Teletubbies is not the show he watched most often. He watched it twice, ever, and had this scary reaction both times. We stopped letting him watch the show, and the problem was solved; nothing at all like it ever happened again.

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  13. 6 Ft. Josette says:

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Ever consider that your “It’s FORBIDDEN” attitude that gives the kid an exhilarating thrill when he does get to watch it? The moment you make something forbidden for reasons that don’t make any sense to the child, you make it incredibly exciting for him that he gets a taste. He directs it at you because you are the source of tension around this show that he likely feels great about & I’m sure he doesn’t understand your reasoning. And no, I’m not recommending that you explain it to him in detail, because frankly, you sound really high-strung & that’s not a good learning environment. Ever seen the movie Carrie & the way her mom made the world seem so scary to her, shaping the world inside her child’s mind with her own fear upon fear… ? You are creating a rebellious, confused child with your extreme terror of something so benign. Just reading the language you used to describe events and your feelings… I mean, it’s so exaggerated and reactive, that I kept thinking,”This has to be a joke… ??” I was expecting some kind of punch line, the whole time. I honestly kept hoping it was coming & it never did… & it got worse, because I saw the comments agreeing with you! (?????) My only consolation is finally seeing the other people who, like me, think you could possibly benefit from finding a good therapist. Sincerely. I hope you will, even if it’s in your mind that you are going for proof that you are in the right here. Your stress just oozes out between all of your words. I have a kid (grown now) & I raised her on my own. We watched Teletubbies together until she lost interest, which all happened within year 5. I found this blog looking for some online episodes to watch as I fell asleep, because it’s soothing, sweet, silly, and adorable. I just love when they dance. Dipsy and Lala are my favorite ones to watch dancing~ so goofy and quirky and fun. Everything I’ve written, I wrote out of my love of children & my desire not to see their innocence trampled by extremist adult attitudes. I don’t know him, but I care about your kid. You might even consider going with all 3 of you to family therapy. It doesn’t sound like you and your husband are communicating well, either, and he finds himself having to go behind your back to give his child some innocent entertainment that he probably enjoys, too. Y’all have some stuff to work out. I’m not saying that in a condescending way~ I’ve done family therapy w my mom & sister during our teen years, and I see a therapist now to help me make sure that my head is on straight and I’m not projecting my fears onto others. It’s a *good* thing~ it helps! Try it, you might like it!

    • 'Becca says:

      Finally, a comment from a Teletubby fan who can write correct English, read and comprehended the whole article, and explains reasons for liking the show rather than just calling me names! How refreshing.

      Of course I did explain to my son that he could not watch the show because he had attacked me after watching it. This is an example of the “logical consequences” so popular in parenting books. However, I did not read him this article until he was 7 and well past actually wanting to watch Teletubbies and I knew he would find it funny.

      It is, in fact, supposed to be funny. I wrote it in this very overblown way in an attempt to get some humor out of a situation that actually was frightening at the time. Have you ever been awakened by a person jumping on you and yelling, and then found that he is not completely awake and has his eyes rolled back in his head? It is kind of scary. And it hurt. But I found that when I told people the story, I as well as they would usually wind up laughing.

      Nicholas is 8 now. He is not rebellious, confused, or afraid of the outside world. You might read some of my other articles before you make this kind of judgment. Try this one.

      Daniel allowed the DVD after some time had passed because he thought Nick’s reaction had been so weird it would not be repeated. Once he saw that it was a pattern, he agreed that we would not allow this show.

      It was never a big issue for our family because Nicholas was not very interested in the show. In fact, I don’t think he ever again asked to watch it. As the first paragraph says, he has occasionally teased me about the rule. We all know it is a little silly. Perhaps now you can see that too. Stories often come across differently in writing, from someone you haven’t met and know nothing else about, than when they are told in person by a friend.

  14. Annie says:

    no offense, but this is WAY to far to take out on the Teletubbies….. 10x. Teletubbies is a really good show for children. In your post, it only looks at the bad things in your opinion. Some good things are, the Teletubbies teach children their colors, numbers, words, and more. If you look it up, the harmless Teletubbies use a language that young children can relate to. The “annoying and iritating” voices that they use is a voice your child uses and it is like hearing one of their friends on T.V. The motions that they use show the kids something that is relateable. If you want to know more, look it up yourself.

    • 'Becca says:

      My child learned his colors, numbers, and words from interacting with human beings. It’s just that simple.

      He did not talk in that kind of voice. Of course his voice is higher pitched than an adult’s, and he took some time to begin speaking in complete sentences, but he did not speak wubbly baby talk because he was rarely around people who spoke that way. We talked to him like he was a person–because he was, and is–so he learned to talk like a person instead of like a Teletubby.

      I am a developmental psychologist, so I have “looked it up” and read quite a bit on the effects of television on child development and speech development. I am completely comfortable that Nicholas did not miss anything by not watching Teletubbies.

  15. Flea says:

    Becca I am sending positive thoughts your way! It is your choice as a parent as to what television shows you allow your children to watch or not watch. I have never let my boys watch Teletubbies or Yo Gabba Gabba or a handful of other shows. I enjoyed reading your article and thought it was hilarious. Don’t worry about the haters. 🙂

  16. kitty says:

    I fail to see how you could call the teletubbies evil. the whole point of theprograme is interraction. My son loves the show and hes only seventeen months. he smiles when he sees the sun baby and when the videos of the children come on too. at the end of the programe we sit and wave goodbye TOGETHER. i havent noticed ANY unusual behaviour and his speech is improving daily. not that i think this is to do with the show, but still. because of your personal hatred of the show, you may have instilled a subconcious trigger in your son that when he watched the show behaves in this unusual manner. if he watched bob the builder and came in hitting you on the head at four in the morning shouting “can we fix it” would you think that show was evil too? I understand you’re entitled to your opinion but i dont have to agree.

    • 'Becca says:

      Well, you may have a point about subconscious triggring. Yes, if my son had reacted that way to “Bob the Builder” I would have felt it was necessary for my safety to stop him from watching that program.

      I’m glad your son is doing well, but I hope you will read the research on the effects of television in general on children (regardless of program content, it has effects on visual, cognitive, and metabolic development) and limit the amount of time he spends watching TV.

      • kitty says:

        I do agree with the point about limiting television watching in younger children. when eli was very small i would very often pick music over tv. i also like to read to him and have read every childrens book in the house including the peter rabbit series by beatrix potter. reading your last comment though, has made me realise i have started to rely on the morning routine of beakfast telly. me thinks i will be having a shift around of sorts tommorrow. 😀

  17. danni says:

    I grew up watching this and im expected to get A*in my exams if u think there evil then u should get checked out by the doctor tellitubies is fine in fact if it wasnt for tellitubies I wouldnt of had anything to watch other than tweenies. Kids shows may seem not so innocent but thats only to the people who never really watch it as I say my siblings all grew up with it and there top of the class at school.

    • 'Becca says:

      You don’t know how to spell TELETUBBIES correctly, nor do you understand the proper use of apostrophes. You’ve got some work to do before those exams.

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