The programme, which aired last night (Tuesday), teaches parents how to use clicker training normally used on dogs to train their children to be compliant with treats.
An Ofcom spokesperson said, ‘We will assess these complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.’
Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY, sent an open letter to Channel 4, available on PACEY’s website, in which she expressed the association's concern about the programme.
She wrote, ‘We are appalled that you have decided to commission “Train Your Baby Like a Dog” and to promote this potentially damaging and outdated pseudo-science to families. Our understanding of early child development is vast and to ignore this and promote a discredited approach is irresponsible. Whatever your thinking was when you commissioned this, it was wrong and you should not broadcast a programme that suggests children can be trained like a pet!’
PACEY called on its 25,000 members to complain to Channel 4 or Ofcom or sign an online petition to cancel the show.
Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain ahead of the airing of 'Train your Baby like a Dog', London Early Years Foundation's (LEYF) chief executive June O'Sullivan called the ‘narrow stimuli’ provided by the use of the clicker ‘outdated’ (see clip below).
Meanwhile, many took to Twitter to express their views.
Jools Page, tweeting as @drjoolspage, said, ‘Babies & young children all over the world need to feel safe, secure & loved. Adults can best meet the needs of babies by tuning into their needs & responding to them lovingly NOT by attempting to train them like a dog. #tuningintochildren’
Ruth Swailes, tweeting as @SwailesRuth, said, ‘I don’t think I can bear to watch this for much longer. Exploitation of babies and families for entertainment purposes, highly questionable techniques which could lead to long-term damage and the potential for millions of viewers to copy #immoral #donttrainyourbabylikeadog’
However, others were less outraged by the programme.
@BenjaminTheDev tweeted ‘I have a degree in Psychology and studied human behaviour #trainyourbabylikeadog was perfectly fine. Kids needed security, love, trust and to have parents attention. The title of the program made it sound worse!’
@LBo99 wrote ‘Did anyone actually watch it? All this hysteria, when the programme was about showing children empathy, compassion and understanding. Engaging with them and giving proper attention. Nothing wrong with it.’