Kids are watching more television than ever before…and an onslaught of advertising along with the programming. How is what they're seeing affecting them? Susan Linn, author of Consuming Kids, talks with Dr. Oz about the problem of marketing to children and what parents can do about it.
As associate dean of the Media Center at the Judge Baker Children's Center at Harvard Medical School, Susan says she started tracking marketing in children's programming after she saw Teletubbies on PBS. "It was marketed as educational for babies, but there was absolutely no evidence that it was," she says.
Because parents trust public television, they tuned in—in turn, the babies got hooked on television, which is where marketers reach them. Susan says her issue wasn't with the content of the program but the products that were being marketed to kids through the show. "You can say, 'Well, this program does a good job of promoting reading,' but it may also promote junk food or toys that inhibit creative play," she says.
Susan says that there should be stricter regulations on marketing to children, to the extent of eliminating it altogether. She says that marketing is a factor in a lot of problems children are having today, including obesity, eating disorders, underage drinking and tobacco use, violence and irresponsible sexuality.
So how can parents combat the influence of marketing when it comes at them from all directions? Susan offers some ideas:
Published on June 29, 2007