If I could change any one thing, I would…
Keep corporate entertainment away from my kids.
I’ve really had it with the corporate media’s entertainment bread and circuses. My kids are unplugged for the most part and I hope to keep it that way. Today they’re fun-loving, confident children; why should I watch as their self-worth is destroyed by their worrying over how thin they are, or how thick their lips are, or other meaningless trivialities? The sexualization of young girls in the media is truly frightening for anyone with children. It can lead to all kinds of psychological disorders, according to the APA. But honestly, we don’t need a press release to understand these things.
I want my children to take pride in their capabilities. I want them to be mindful about things that matter, about how kind they are, about how they should treat their friends. These values are mostly absent from anything that pops out of the tube or sits on the magazine rack at the checkout counter. They’re certainly missing from commercial entertainment.
Spend an hour with corporate entertainment and the one thing that you walk away with is the cheapness of everything. It’s everywhere, in the snide, snappy, mean-spirited digs in commercials or sitcoms; in many movies, which have “gun tracks” instead of music tracks – how many murders can one person watch in two hours? This cheapness leaves the impression that “nothing really matters”. But things DO matter. There really are implications to our actions. When you live in a commercial-infused TV reality, it’s very easy to lose sight of this.
Corporate advertisers know exactly what they’re doing; they go after our kids, exploiting young minds who’ve yet to develop the skills to understand that advertising is not “the truth” but rather a manipulation. Advertisers recognize this phenomenon and even boast about doing it. When you manipulate minors for your own benefit and at their expense, well, that’s called molestation under any other situation and I think that’s what commercial TV is doing to kids. We have laws in the US against this kind of thing; why should it be OK when it comes in the form of cartoony characters?
We have drug-free school zones; how about commercial-free school zones too?
I’m all for free speech – passionately – but this is not a free speech issue. I know there are plenty of “small government” folks who don’t agree with regulations, and besides it’s hard to imagine the kinds of laws that exist in other countries being passed here in the US to control advertising to children. But we can do the next best thing by turning our backs on the thing. If you have kids you should take pride in keeping commercial TV away from them.
Maybe if more people understood the danger to kids from TV they would simply turn it off. Imagine if 25 million – 50 million – just millions and millions of Americans unplugged themselves from corporate entertainment as a protest. What a message that would send!
Here’s a social experiment to try. There are few things more frightening – enlightening? – than NOT watching commercial entertainment for a set period, say three months, and then taking a peek. You’ll be amazed, believe me. I’ve done it.
What do you think? Leave a comment!
If you’re interested in this topic here are a few resources to browse:
- Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood
- New American Dream (their page on Kids and Commercialism is outstanding)
- Commercial Alert has a Parents’ Bill of Rights petition to send Congress