Kids and Commercials

AJ has brought up a point that I wonder about often and am concerned at the emotional pressure on children to consume food stuffs that are really bad for them. Not only that, what about selling Chocolate as ‘the gift mothers will give you if they really love you” or ” as the gift you should get if you pass your exams”. Consider that 90 % of children (in India anyway) watching TV come from families that cannot afford to buy those chocolates. Now what are we putting into these young minds ? That a hug and love can be replaced by Chocolate that ‘Mom’ will never be able to afford. In tht child’s mind we then create a great sense of deprivation aimed at the parents, which then associates with guilt

“what did I do wrong that my mother will not buy me a particular brand of chocolates ?”

Commercials aimed at kids can be psychologically devastating, and the problem is that advertisers know this too. They create them so.

This what AJ said, that provoked this :

TV and videos: not for my baby

Think outside the box.

Babies tend to learn best through interactive activities that engage as many senses as possible. Whether you’re playing peek-a-boo or just chatting with your baby, you’re teaching skills that help develop your baby’s brain.

So how does watching TV contribute to baby’s development? The truth is, no one knows. No TV show, video, or DVD has ever been proven to help babies develop. But there is some evidence that watching – or even listening to – TV could disrupt your baby’s ability to concentrate and possibly slow her language development.

Commercials aimed at young children are remarkably effective. And half of all ad time on children’s shows is for food; mostly candy, snacks, cereal and fast food. It might not surprise you to hear there is a strong association between the amount of time spent watching TV and childhood obesity.

When it comes down to it, time spent watching TV is time that could have been spent on other, more valuable relationship building and exploration activities with your child.

15 thoughts on “Kids and Commercials

  1. Protecting your child from influences you consider unhealthy, is a reflection of your own fears and conditioning as a parent. You could spend effort in protecting your child from the fears that hold ‘you’ hostage. Or invest your effort in ‘ being’ the influence you want him/her to be.

    Isolating your child from selective influences in this incredibly connected world is like trying to seal a leaking pot which was already submerged in water. You could choose to pass on your fears or, choose to pass on the wisdom of dealing with fears.

    The child needs to see how you unlearn your fears and desires, he/she will have enough of other influences in life that will teach him/her to protect and feed them respectively. It need not be your primary contribution as a parent.

  2. AJ,

    Nothing can replace the hugs, peek-a-boos and baby chatter with your baby. But, if there is one DVD that you’d want to consider (especially while trying to get that baby food in!) that’s the ‘Baby Einstein’ series — originally conceived and created by a stay-at-home-mom, which continues to earn royalties for the long gone Einstein! My own favorite? Baby Mozart 🙂

  3. The sublimal messages passed on by commercials affect the way people buy “stuff” and make decisions @ the supermarket. For instance in the US for decades sugar laden cereals were touted by olympians (for a handsome renumeration) as breakfast as champions. Only now do we realize eating a heavily sweetened , carb laden cereal might be ok, if the next thing you are doing is running 10 miles or working in your farm, not so much if you are heading to school or sitting at a desk all day. Hence the rise in obesity, diabetes, hypetension and what not.
    I agree, I limit the time my son spends watching TV, instead, he helps me out in the kitchen to cook, we might head out and dig out or pluck our own veggies, we might head to the nature center, or hike the applachian trail, or even go canoeing on a good day. Tiem spent watching TV = Time wasted for me, unless I am watching something informative or educative. Not to mention movies sometimes is fine, if you need to unwind, but the daily mindless watching of soaps, reality shows is not my cup of tea. One of the research I was involved was with in Grad school was to find the link between the high rates of diabetes and heart disease amongst south asians (desis), native americans and black people. I’ll end with this quote I recently read

    “Genes are turned on and off by regulatory genes, and regulatory genes are controlled mainly by nutrients. ….there is no drug anywhere that can regulate genetic expression better or more powerfully than diet. ~ Nora T. Gedgaudas, Primal Body Primal Mind

  4. Watching TV is passive, you watch, you listen but you can interact like when you play, when you talk, when you go for a walk or what ever you do.
    People, children get dulled by action, fast movements and easy structured stories, brutal films and every few minutes advertisement.
    While watching TV you get affected or even controlled by advertisement. Children are pure and interested in exploring the world around. When TV is given to much power/time over your life you waste your time and you buy the tangerine products.
    Even when you can’t afford them.Or you don’t buy them and feel guilty or as a looser .

    But when you understand the strategy which is used by admen you don’t give a damn. You are cleverer then you don’t need to buy this things, maybe you change the channel during advertisement or you watch DVD without interruption.
    The best thing is to live, to love, to play with your children,to teach them and to see them growing(time is passing very fast) and enjoy it active with all your senses.

  5. hello Mr. Kapur…
    I am huge fan of your movie “Elizabeth”. I have unique storyline in mind which I feel very passionate about.
    you being my favourite director from “Bandit queen” to “Elizabeth golden age”.I feel I want to share that with you.
    Can u please Please send me an mail to from your separate mail id please?
    Kind regards


  6. It’s not just TVs anymore, there are all kinds of harmful radiation such as mobiles/towers, wi-fi, hd etc. in “developed” areas.
    As humans grow the complexity of their external desires, and that too in a manner that is not organic, it will only get more undesirable. Time to recede into zen. Pitch a tee-pee by a water source and live off of nature.

  7. Hello,

    I am enjoying the Kalaghoda festival. I attended a work shop by Venita Coelho. She made me write a list of people alive,whom I admire. The first name that came to my head was you.

    Then she told us that these people are what we want to be like. I was wondering if that was true? and what aspect of you would i like to have? And I realized that I love your poems and how I enjoy your blog and views.

    Have you ever come for the kalaghoda festival. I think you should its wonderful. And please inform us when you do come.

  8. But todays kids are much smarter and emotionally stronger than the old generation. Such ads also infuse the much required desire and want. I am saying required because that is the basis of growth of any society. Either we should switch to the Utopian idea of the venus project or not discourage materialism.

  9. Our family never drinks aerated drinks or none of the artificial food (we call it junk, including choclates, candies to name a few) and never felt the need for it.

    Its also joy to share that our baby before birth and since birth had been enjoying Hari Prasad ji, Zakir ji and all the classic music, is happy, healthy … Thank all those who create Master pieces and had pleasure to listen them in person.

    No internet, wireless in or around our home …
    Yes we live in high tech Bay Area and had the pleasure of installing most hi tech eqpt for those he want it.

    Living simple is healthy.

  10. The child must learn to accustom your fears and desires, he / she will have many other influences in life that will teach him to protect and feed, respectively. It should not be your greatest contribution as a parent.

  11. Children are the future of the nation is a nation gripped in their hands and then when they grow up to it to teach children the importance of love in the homeland . . . Sorry if my comments do not understand my english is not good either still learning . . . please go to my blog.

  12. I also noticed the most abominable thing – the kids’ channel ‘Pogo’ has a commercial for Olay Whitening ‘something or the other’ and has Katrina Kaif peddling a whitening skin cream! How disturbing is it that this commercial is on a kids programming channel and the hypocrisy of having a white/half-white/mongrel model pushing “fair skin” as the ideal? Disgusted!

  13. Couldn’t agree with you more. My little girl is getting bigger than her friends of the same age; she spent at least 5 hours per day in front of the TV so I tried to persuade her to join my water aerobics class. She asked: “why?”. I told her: “Well, you’re beautiful; you’re even more beautiful if you exercise”. Then she joined the class with me and lost 4 kgs last month. I was more than happy!
    Daniel K. Ferguson from water aerobics routines.

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