Friday, August 10, 2007

Two seemingly non-related stories illustrate the power of the glowing box in the living room.

First, a report in Forbes showed that kids thought that anything that comes out of a McDonald's bag tastes better than the same item out of another bag.

"This study demonstrates simply and elegantly that advertising literally brainwashes young children into a baseless preference for certain food products," said Dr. David Katz, the director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Now why would kids become brainwashed by ads. Could it be that we're plunking them down in front of the TV so we can go do something in another room? Don't think so? Then, may I present:

Second, a new study that indicates those "Baby Einstein" videos parents buy for their newborns and infants to give them an academic leg up on the other kids when they get to school may actually make the kids dumber.

For every hour a day that babies 8 to 16 months old were shown such popular series as "Brainy Baby" or "Baby Einstein," they knew six to eight fewer words than other children, the study found.

While the study singled out these multi-million dollars video series, the implication is that if you park your kid in front of the TV alone, anything will have the same result. "'I would rather babies watch "American Idol" than these videos,' Christakis said, explaining that there is at least a chance their parents would watch with them — which does have developmental benefits," the article concludes.

Meanwhile, advertisers must be popping champagne bottles now. Advertising "Baby Einstein" makes them millions, teaches children to watch TV, exposing them to more commercials! As the tobacco companies used to say, "We gotta get 'em young!"

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