A three-year-old boy is under the care of a psychologist after retreating into his own 'Thomas the Tank Engine' world. The toddler has spurned his peers and talks only in phrases from the TV show.
Doctors fear his over exposure to the popular programme has left him cut of from his peers and unable to communicate. The little boy is believed to have been watching up to five hours of the show every day.
The American child is now being treated by a specialist in California.
Medics were so concerned by his case that his behaviour was reported in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, where experts admitted it was by no means an isolated incident.
Some experts say the problem is becoming so prevalent that children under two should not be watching any television at all, whilst British researchers admit that too much exposure to television hinders children's communication and concentration skills.
Stuart Biddle, chair of the 'sedentary behaviour and obesity' working party, is currently planning a set of guidelines for the Department of Health on the television habits of toddlers.
He said: 'We are considering what the guidelines should say, and a statement around no television for the under-twos is potentially one of the more controversial ones.'
Last year, the Australian government suggested a total television ban for children under two, whilst France has banned the making of any shows that are specifically for the under-fives.
What do you think?
Should television by banned for pre-schoolers, or do some programmes actually help a child's social and educational development?
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