So says an article in the Sunday Telegraph, following the death of Oliver Postgate, creator and writer of some of Britain’s most popular children’s television programmes, namely Pingwings, Pogles’ Wood, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Clangers and Bagpuss, of which the last was voted in a 1999 poll to be the most popular children’s television programme of all time.

Now I would tend to sympathize with this article.  As Susan Greenfield says in her book The Private Life of the Brain:
Perhaps the modern lifestyle, emphasizing as it does the immediate multicoloured universe of the CD, the in-your-face technology that requires little conceptualization and still less imagination, is breeding a generation that cannot use their minds sufficiently to get engrossed in a book.  Instead, the new generation more readily ricochets from one moment to the next as outgrown and misplaced prisoners of the here and now, a here and now so heavily overexperienced that it is easily bankrupt of sensual novelty and impact: a gloomy prospect indeed.
I then try to look up the original research in Pediatrics on which this is based.  There I find an ongoing battle between, inter alia, Frederick Zimmerman and Dimitri Christakis[1] of the University of Washington who find a positive link between exposure to TV below age 3 and ADHD, and Tara Stevens and Miriam Mulsow of Texas Tech University @ Lubbock, who deny any such link.  But a Web of Science search suggests that any original contributions to this field by Sigman (author of the article) himself is limited to two meeting presentations in 1985.

I myself would tend a priori to think that Christakis and Zimmerman are largely right.  I deplore the use of “snazz” in educational materials for children.  For example, a junior arithmetic book which my son used featured two robots called Prep and Prop, and he and I would naturally be more taken by the robots themselves that the material they were trying to get across.  An even worse case was a set of magnetic letters from our local Early Learning Centre where the varied colours were only superfluous information, and besides which contained four a’s and only one e – hardly representative of the frequency of letters in English!  (A boy with dyslexia whom we knew actually hid the fact for a while by memorizing the colour patterns.)

The Telegraph is a conservative newspaper, and conservative researchers should take heed to the warning by C.S.Lewis:
By leading that [learned] life to the glory of God I do not, of course, mean any attempt to make our intellectual enquiries work out to edifying conclusions.  That would be, as Bacon says, to offer to the author of truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie.
from “Fern-seed and Elephants”
However, one person’s edifying conclusion may be very different from another’s.  I have in mind Susan Golombok of the University of Cambridge, whose main theme seems to be that the bringing of up of children by same-sex couples is <accent:posh_english>perfectly all right</accent>.  Perhaps she is one of those who is trying to build (edify) the new society.

[1] Zimmerman and Christakis are, for example, very much opposed to Baby Einstein.