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What's Peppa Pig really teaching our children?

Spoilt kids, a bullied husband, an antagonistic father-in-law and a mother in need of Prozac… it might sound like a new family on EastEnders' Albert Square, but it's actually Britain's most influential family – Peppa Pig and her herd.

She stamps her feet, bullies her brother, makes fun of her parents, falls out with her friends, whinges when she loses, pokes out her tongue and generally displays copious amounts of antisocial behaviour.

So when I read about three-year-old Amari Black earlier this week, whose malfunctioning Peppa Pig toy from Argos was spouting swear words, I couldn't help feeling it was merely a natural progression from Peppa's on-screen presence.  

Yet so popular is the four-time Bafta-winning cartoon that it's overtaken Thomas The Tank Engine as Britain's top-selling pre-school character and this month made it to the big screen for the first time.

Peppa has even managed to succeed where Cheryl Cole failed by cracking America, despite her inferior wardrobe. The programme has seven-day-a-week status on American kids' channel Nick Jr and a Fisher Price deal, which is transforming the brand into a billion-pound money-spinner.

You'd be hard pushed to find a small child in the country who can't name Peppa and her baaing, woofing and neighing crew - and my two-year-old daughter Tamara (following in the footsteps of my son now five and daughter, six) is no exception.

In truth, I've actively encouraged Peppa mania. I've bought the DVDs (as an emergency back up for the 55 episodes recorded on Sky Plus), read the books, made the birthday cake, bought the pyjamas (and slippers and dressing gown and toothbrush), downloaded the app and we've even been to the 'World' (at Paulton's Park in the New Forest).

Peppa Pig (in red) who stamps her feet and pokes out her tongue, pictured with her dysfunctional herd: Daddy Pig is bullied by his family, Mummy Pig is so moody it takes an entire episode for her to crack a smile, (which is so shocking the rest of the family falls over) and George Pig, who wails when he doesn't get his way

Peppa Pig (in red) who stamps her feet and pokes out her tongue, pictured with her dysfunctional herd: Daddy Pig is bullied by his family, Mummy Pig is so moody it takes an entire episode for her to crack a smile, (which is so shocking the rest of the family falls over) and George Pig, who wails when he doesn't get his way

But recently I realised that the tone of my daughter's new fake cry was eerily similar to George Pig's frequent 'waaaah' - and had developed simultaneously with her interest in the little pig.

When I started to think about it, it wasn't the first time I'd noticed Peppa Pig's influence on my children's behaviour. 

It reminded me of an incident from when my oldest was three. After the usual tug-of-war over a dolly with a friend, she shoved her hands on her hips and declared, 'I don't want to play with you anymore!' To which Lilly blurted out, 'I don't want to play with you anymore!'.

It was a live rendition of Peppa and Suzy Sheep's argument in the episode called 'The Quarrel'. And on the lips of my three-year-old it sounded even more unpleasant than on screen.