The Effect of Commercials on Kids



photo by JayGirlsMom

More than anything, I wish that what I'm about to say were not true. My kids watch too much TV. It was never the plan, daily TV consumption; in fact we used to have a "Friday and Weekends Only" TV rule, but somehow we grew out of that faster than the kids grow out of sneakers.


The one saving grace is that my kids--being the ages they are (3 & 5)--really only watch PBS Kids and Noggin. Commercial free children's networks. (There are different ones in different regions.) And I'm more than grateful they exist. There's enough guilt I feel on a Sunday afternoon when one hour of TV turns into two, okay, three, but I'd really feel crazy if along with watching the boob tube, the boys were also being pummeled by some marketer's latest branding ploy. Now, I'm not being naive. I do realize I'm only a stone's throw from Disney, Cartoon Network (and the like) requests, but for now I bask in my kids' relative ignorance about other stuff on TV precisely because I hate the idea of them watching commercials.

In the few times my kids have seen commercials aimed at children, I'd say they had the appropriate response about, say, 100% of the time. "Mommy, I want...!" (with finger pointing at set). Doesn't matter what it is--cereal, toys, video games, candy--they want it. Need it. I often ask myself, how do parents of big kids contend with this? So now I'm asking you.

If you care to see an honest, no-holds-barred talk about television and commercials and their bizarre effect on children, check out JuiceBoxJungle. Basically, real moms and experts alike conclude one thing: kids are a blank slate and commercials drill and fill them with junk and overwhelming wants--many of which are ridiculously bad for them anyway.

How much of an effect do commercials have on your children?

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