TV Commercials Are Targeting Your Tot

Cynthia Dermody

tv remote close upMy son has never eaten at McDonald's. But he always wants to go there. He's been asking since he turned 3 or 4, long before he even knew what kind of food they served there.

Now I know it's because University of Wisconsin and University of Michigan researchers found that young children ages 3-5 experience some of the same marketing pressures as young adults and truly do understand the power of branding and advertising, as reported by PRWeb.

I don't let my kids watch paid TV for this very reason. I don't want consumerism to gobble them up any sooner than it has to. But my mom-tuition was right. All it takes is one catchy, clever commercial to make an impression on a young toddler.

What's unusual about this study is that experts used to think that children were immune to marketing messages and brand until grade school or so. This confirms that we need to pay better attention to what we ourselves are watching on the tube when we think our kids aren't paying attention.

I've been known to flick on The Food Network with my kids in the room from time to time. Way more shilling than cooking going on on that channel. My husband occasionally watches sports, so it makes sense that my son knew the difference between a Toyota Prius and a Corolla before he started preschool.

If this study tells us anything, it's that we should not assume that just because our toddlers appear uninterested in the content of the show that's currently on, that what's on in between won't interest them.

It also tells me that if I myself acted more like a commercial, maybe dance around the kitchen with my mop or talk like a cartoon character as I ask my kids to pick up their toys or finish the chicken nuggets, they would actually listen to me the first time.

Do you watch television with your toddlers in the room?


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