View from the staffroom
My Year 6 class are obsessed with BB,but I think they like it because the people are all losers and they think they're funny to watch. They don't copy them - they take the mick. I don't agree with them watching it - surely 11-year-olds should be in bed by 9pm - but it is on all day on E4 at weekends.
It is possibly the most pointless and irritating TV show, but there are things that are far more of a bad influence. Children in my class basically get to watch anything they want, no matter how late or how unsuitable. They are frequently too tired to work, and many of them behave inappropriately towards the opposite sex.
My son has Tourette's, and so this year Pete has been very interesting to him. It has given me the chance to show him that rather than being "odd" (a word my child uses to describe his own behaviour), Pete is actually the most fancied andmost popular housemate this year. That Pete's condition now goes practically unnoticed, that he is not judged on it, and has managed to assert himself as the most likely winner in what is essentially a popularity contest, has given my own son hope and made him more confident about the future.
Of course Big Brother is a bad influence. It appears that all the housemates want to do is to gain sufficient notoriety for the tabloids to turn them into minor celebrities. The problem is that the youngsters who watch it see such antics as normal behaviour when clearly it is completely abnormal - if only through the situation they find themselves in. The very impressionable Year 7 girls who you would hope would not watch it are precisely the ones who do.
What I have noticed is that the children begin by mocking the characters that they consider to be "different" like Pete. Some of them copied him at the start, but now they completely accept him and can see past his condition.
This kind of issue cannot possibly be dealt with in a similar way in school, as the children do not have the time to see how someone lives their life.
In the BB house, emotions are raw as there is not a lot going on, and so the children have an opportunity to build up empathy and understanding, but also form their own opinions about characters and their actions.
I am disgusted to find that children as young as eight in my school are watching Big Brother. They will see this and think that this is how all adults behave and that such behaviour, and langauge, is acceptable. I have heard nine-year-old boys discussing how attractive "fake boobs" are, girls who think throwing screaming tantrums "is so cool" and all waving their arms about shouting "Who is she??" and "W**kers!" at any moment they choose, all to the extreme delight of the rest of the class. How, I wonder, is this a positive contribution to learning? Quite apart from the fact that they are all tired out and lacking concentration anyway - no doubt attributable to stopping up until all hours glued to this rubbish.