Sponge bobby boy

That’s what Axel calls him. We recently started letting the kids watch Sponge Bob Square Pants and they are in love.

In the past we have been not so good about limiting TV time but recently we have all been doing really well. Normally it is all Noggin for the kids. It is educational and I have to say I can notice the things they have learned from the shows. Miracle learned to count from the little pieces that play inbetween each show, and Axel latches on to every lesson from Yo Gabba Gabba. He even gets his friends to eat all their food at lunch by singing them songs from the show!

But since the switch over to Nick I have noticed one very bad effect. As I was watching an episode with Axel a few nights ago he asked me for every item in every commercial. I brushed it off then but the next day I received this e-mail from Woodwinds Health Campus:

Did you know?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Psychological Association recently issued some sobering news concerning advertising and children. Among their findings, they discovered that the average child who watches television views 40,000 ads each year. They are exposed to even more advertising in newspapers and magazines, on the radio, the Internet, or on billboards.

Advertising and your child

The research study showed that children under the age of 8 tend to accept advertiser messages as fact. Their easy acceptance of marketing messages for fast and sugary foods in particular can lead to unhealthy eating habits. The most common products advertised to children are sugared cereals, candies, sweets, sodas, and snack foods. The study”s findings show that children express a preference for products with as little as a single viewing of a commercial.
The AAP recommends avoiding or reducing the effects of advertising on young children by limiting television viewing time or taping shows to be viewed later without the ads. Talk also to your child about what he has seen, either on TV or on a billboard or other media, how he feels about what he”s seen, and how you feel about it, too. Talk about how advertising does not always tell you everything you need to know about a product.

The line that really hit me was “tend to accept advertiser messages as fact.” Think about it. It seems so obvious, but sometimes we need a little reminder. They are learning everything, and why would the t.v. lie to them? So last night when Axel asked me for something I tried the suggestion above for talking about the ad with him. I was talking in general and told him that not all the things in the ads are as cool as they seem. His answer was, “Well they said it is cool.”

Point taken.


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