Television and ads

After some hesitation, I’ve accepted the blogad that you’ll see on the side of this post, from something called the Smart Television Alliance.  According to their website, it’s a coalition of nonprofits "united by a shared commitment to improving what our nation’s children see on television." That sounds like a decent goal.  So why the hesitation?

Well, the site does have some useful information, although I think they’re out of their minds in suggesting that Harry Potter might be appropriate for the 3-6 year old crowd.  But my main concern is that the site is also an ad in disguise, for TiVo, which is sponsoring the alliance.  I generally dislike ads that are pretending to be something else.  But, that said, I do believe that TiVo is a terrific tool for parents who want to control what their kids watch, and have so said so repeatedly on this site in the past.  It lets us zap out commercials, it lets us show kid-friendly fare at times of our choice, and it lets us save the kid-inappropriate stuff for when they’re safe in bed.

Coming from our little ad-free world, it was a real shock to be visiting my parents Columbus Day weekend and to encounter all the commercials in the baseball games.  (Although merseydotes says it’s better than the football games.)  Since D doesn’t see commercials all the time, he was fascinated by them.  I kept on reminding him that they were ads by asking him what they were selling.  (Best answer, in response to a Marine recruiting ad, "uh… war?")

In related news, I just got a copy of Lisa Guernsey’s new book on tv and kids, Into the Minds of Babes.  Review coming when I get a chance.

5 Responses to “Television and ads”

  1. K Says:

    We are huge TiVo fans, here. I swear we watch *less* television now – because we never just “surf” the channels. When we sit down to watch a show, we really want to watch it.
    I do feel out of it when people talk about commercials, though. I haven’t seen many commercials for the last few years. (Although my husband automatically pauses TiVo for any Apple commercial…)

  2. merseydotes Says:

    We have two TVs but only one DVR. It is painful when Petunia watches shows in the morning in our bedroom upstairs (no DVR). Playhouse Disney and Noggin aren’t bad – all the ads are just for the network. But Sprout is TERRIBLE. Ten minutes of ads for toys and junk food for every thirty minute show. I lobby hard against Sprout just because of the ads.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    We have Moxi, which I understand is like Tivo but not quite as good. With Moxi we watch more TV (or rather, the TV is on more often) because my husband is now able to record the Formula 1 races, Petit Le Mans, American Le Mans, the GT races, etc. etc.
    The kids (ages 3 and 5), however, watch far less broadcast TV. Instead we watch the short programs that are available as part of the package, no extra cost. They carry those Scholastic movies made from books (Bark, George; Diary of a Worm) and a whole series of folktales. I love it, not least because they’re generally in 10- to 20-minute segments.
    Commercials? What are those?

  4. landismom Says:

    Love that answer on the Marines!

  5. mom Says:

    I’ll be interested in your review. I read Guernsey’s book and thought it was a fine journalistic defense/salve for parents who have already decided that they want to let their kids watch tv, but it really stands at odds with the empirical research.
    I have some cites on my site:
    http://outside-the-toybox.com/what-box/consumer-culture/
    http://outside-the-toybox.com/what-box/childrens-media/
    if you are interested.

Leave a Reply