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It’s not enough for Mommy and Daddy to say it

February 27th, 2004 · 1 Comment

On NPR’s All Things Considered earlier this week I heard a report on childhood obesity caused not by television watching itself, but by the commercials for sugary foods. Children Targeted in Junk-Food Ads :

A Kaiser Family Foundation report says media messages promoting high-fat and sugary snacks to children now dominate television advertising, which just several years ago mostly featured advertising for toys. Public health officials are attacking the use of cartoon characters by vendors of high-fat and sugary snacks.

There were a few different solutions presented. One expert suggested imposing a tax on junk foods of 1% and using this money to pay celebrities to do commercials for nutritious foods, with the strategy being to counteract one set of ads with another.

This all seems a bit ridiculous to me.
I wonder why parents can’t:
1) turn off the TV, get rid of it, make it inaccessible
2) if the TV has to be on, watch with the kids. Educate them about commercials. That’s what we are trying to do with our daughters during ice-skating time.
3) as one listener whose letter was read yesterday on NPR – Say no!
4) eat healthy and be a good example to their children themselves by what they purchase and consume, by how they respond to advertising themselves, by their lifestyles.

Have we gotten to the point where parents no longer can influence their children? Where 30 seconds of celebrity or cartoon endorsement is more powerful than years of living with mom and dad? Why don’t moms and dads just say no to their children? It’s hard to say no to kids. I don’t like to do it myself. But I know that the pain of saying no to them now can save them from much more pain in the future.

Tags: news

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 paul // Feb 27, 2004 at 5:49 pm

    This is one of the unintentional benefits of my kids going to a diverse public school. I see these kids, but more importantly, I see the parents.

    I don’t think it’s a case where parents can’t influence their children: the steps you mention (we’ve used ’em all and they work) are easy and effective. It’s more the case that they won’t. They want to be the child’s friend. You can’t do that and be an effective parent. I figure I’ll be a parent now and a friend later.

    That’s not to say that being a responsible parent is all about discipline and punishment. It’s more about consequences and consistency: those are harder to do but that’s what works.

    Keep fighting the good fight . . . .