Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TV Commercials

The girls and I are sitting at the kitchen island eating dinner. (Husband/Daddy is at work.) We’re having fun trying to solve puzzles on Wheel of Fortune. Commercial comes on: Lisa Ling reports on porn and erotica. Meet the world’s most famous porn star; on the next Oprah!”

Commercial during ABC World News: Cialis, for treatment of erectile dysfunction – so you can be ready anytime the moment is right” as a couple begins to caress one another. And let’s not forget the possible side effects: "...a decrease in vision or an erection lasting more than four hours."

The kids get to learn current events AND how to maintain an erection.

Tell me please…Am I the only one who notices how commercials with sexual content are blasted on TV during family shows like The Wheel? We’ve seen promotions for shows like Grey’s Anatomy, showing couples beginning to tear each others clothes off - right in the middle of Vanna turning the letter lights on and our next forkful of macaroni and cheese?

"What’s happened to me? I think I’m a prude."

"Oh, I know! I have three young, impressionable children. Gee."

So what might I do when the adult commercial comes on?

1. I start a conversation to distract the kids from the TV, which is awkward because they know what I’m doing.
2. I hit the mute button on the remote control if I can grab it fast enough, which appears to be a desperate act.
3. I steal one of President Obama’s recent phrases and have a “teachable moment” with my kids, which bugs me to have to do when I’m caught off guard by the commercial or promotion.

I know families that don't allow their children to watch TV. I wonder why? Not all are the stereotype that you may have in mind. People make the decision for various reasons, one of which is to promote creativity in their children.

Watching TV during dinner is not a daily habit, but we occasionally enjoy competing during Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Is it time to give up watching these shows and the news so that “I” can steer my kids in the direction of a good and healthy sex life instead of Oprah, Cialis, and Grey’s Anatomy advertisements and commercials doing it for me?

What do you think about commercials promoting products or shows?


Jen said...

If your kids are in their 'tween years they know more than you think. It might prompt a question that you can answer for them instead of relying on what their friends at school say.

FYI: You need to talk to them about that stuff now as it comes up because in a couple more years you're going to get real stupid and they're not going to listen to you any more.

Lee said...

Oprah is having a porn star on her show?? From Sarah Palin to a porn star?? I'm sorry, I just can't get past the porn kids only watch nickelodeon and disney channel, so I don't run into that issue.

Menopausal New Mom said...

I agree, we shouldn't have this stuff blasted at us 24/7 and don't get me started on the soap operas and birthing shows on during the day.

My solution is to record everything on our DVR and then just fast forward the commercials. Works like a charm!

Unknown said...

Not every moment can be made into a teachable moment. I mean can you imagine having to explain why it's important to get treated for erectile dysfunction during a commercial break? I think I'd mute it and just say, "Some of these commercials are aimed at trying to get people hooked on buying their products. I'm not interested so I'm going to mute it instead."

I'm having a similar issue with toy commercials for Nickelodeon. Baby Boo isn't even 3 and yet, they are shoving toys at them at every commercial. I'm just not ready to break the bank because of the "gimmees".

Lucky Wife/Bookaholic said...

We actually changed out cable package after I saw my preteen watching saved by the bell (the original) and then there was a commercial for a tv show about high school girls who were lesbians. I thought that content was too mature for an 11 yr old girl...

Judy Thomas said...

You have obviously struck a chord here with so many responses. I like the teachable moment approach- you never know where else your kids might see similar advertisements and you need to have them learn to handle it, as unfortunate and distasteful as the ads might be (though the age of the child matters- little kids cannot process this stuff and should not be exposed to it if at all possible). Sexually charged images are everywhere in our culture.
At the risk of continuing to be "the unofficial curmudgeon of Anita's blog" (though I kind of like that rep), my son watched incredibly little TV as a child. just an occasional(not even daily) show like "Reading Rainbow." TV was treated as a rare event and was physically located in the basement or attic. I watch basically no TV (I am too busy with other, more interesting things, plus I hate the commercials) and my husband and son (now 13) watch less than 2 hours of TV per week together...and use that time for teachable moments. He's going into HS next year and needs some guided exposure to that commercial and sexualized world out there and the critical thinking skills to process it.

Tabor said...

Unfortuately in our country not watching TV will not protect them from this shallow culture we have created. What may be worse is the notion that everything can be fixed with a drug. Count all those drug commecials next time and talk to your kids about that.

Sharon said...

Ugh. TV has gotten out of hand. It's actually disgusting to me, not just my kids.

It may be time to get rid of *gasp* cable for good.....

Oh, if only I could bring myself to do it!

Cindy said...

Drives me nuts. I especially dislike the Victoria's Secret commercials since we have a 15 year old son.

Anita said...

I wish I could have an individul discussion with each one of you, but since I can't,I hope that you will read each others comments and give thought to opinions other than your own, as I am doing.
As all bloggers know, blogging can be quite cathartic; perhaps this post is the beginning of a new approach to TV viewing in my household because of my constant battle of separating the good from the bad.
While recording and using Tvo(or whatever it is) is an alternative method that I've thought about, it is too tedious and time consuming, and because my kids' TV time is limited, we would never go back to watch, especially if "I" had the job of fast forwarding through the commercials. :)


andrea said...

I agree about the Victoria's Secrets ads. They're disgusting.

You should watch a cialis or that other drug commercial when your teenagers are in the room. You'll never hear them laugh so loud.

Kasie said...

Hey Anita! Good to see you in blog world :)
TV... I know how you feel!
Unfortunately there is inappropriate content on the children's channels as far as I'm concerned.
We don't have cable.
We do catch some of our favorite shows online though.
I love it bc it limits our time in front of the tube, no commercial (only a few) and we can watch it on our own time... when it fits into our schedule. (not to mention the money we are saving each month)
It works for us.
It was a leap, but so glad we did it.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with Jen. I also agree about the TV thing, and we dont allow tv for the children at this age for any longer than an hour a day and thats Nick Jr so I dont really have to deal with that any ways, at least not yet! But we do this for the reason you listed, to inspire creativity and exercise.

When my children are old enough, though I would love to watch The Wheel and play with them like that because thats also good for them but dont know what I would do about those commercials. Although right now I have boys and they are already experiencing the erectile function, if you will.

I feel for you, my only thoughts would be to warn them ahead of time and ask them how they feel about the commercials and if it makes them uncomfortable and if ever they have questions to ask you! Maybe turn the commercials in to a spelling game, those are some big words! haha

I talk way too much.

yonca said...

My 7 years old turns his face and says" it is gross"

Bernie said...

I am not in a position to worry about children watching what I am anymore, but I can tell you for myself that I am so tired of hearing about male sexual dis-function. That also is not a problem now for me. And Vistoria Secrets commercials are really like looking at a bunch of tied up cow udders. They are so big and disgusting looking. They are not even beautiful anymore to look at. And besides I haven't got any!!!!!

Anita said...

ANDREA, YONCA, BERNIE, and others who mentioned the Victoria Secrets ads. I think I've seen it once, but not since. Must be very suggestive because so many of you to mention it.

BERNIE, a benefit of being older - not having to stress over stuff like this. :)

TRISH, thanks for your input. Fortunately, my children have a good instinct about what's right and what's wrong, and will voice their opinions to me, (like YONCA's son) which leads to a conversation when necessary.
Ps. You do not talk too much. I value your opinion, regardless of the length. :)

Anita said...

KASIE, I think that's great to be able to live without cable! Really!

Too many sports on cable - don't think it'll happen in my house. :)



Morgan said...

I think it's sickening. Really, it is. Our kids mostly watch videos from the library, so during the day I don't usually see commercials. However, last week I watched TV during early evening and was disgusted at how sitcoms alone had changed. What happened to TGIF and all the other cool shows? With TV being so bad, it doesn't surprise me that commercials are too.

And advertising something like that during Wheel of Fortune?!? That's just plain wrong.

Morgan said...

BTW- Bernie's comment was pretty funny ; )

Anita said...

MORGAN, I've gave up on sitcoms years ago. I have an appreciation for humor, but most of it is not funny anymore.

And yes, those commercials on The Wheel - People are really desperate for money.

I agree, BERNIE always has something funny or interesting to say. :)

Shana said...

I completely agree....I'm glad my little one is too young to understand these commericals....its a bit much. I understand the teachable moment part but after solving a puzzle that says "Mickey and Minnie Mouse" on Wheel of Fortune is not the time or place to explain why a half naked woman is on the screen!
As a high school teacher, my students tell me about shows that I don't feel comfortable watching because of the subject matter...unfortunately our society and media thinks its okay to expose everyone to sexual images or other inappropriate material to kids younger and younger. Its sad...

Anita said...

SHANA, you're right. There's only so much you can say in 30 seconds, but it is amazing how kids learn so much from seeing how I react, if only a brief moment, and they are learning to emulate me. The God-given uncomfortable feeling is written all over their faces.
Our TV habits are getting a make-over to deal with this problem.
Thank you for commenting. I know as a teacher, you've dealt with this, and much more, a whole lot.

the mom said...

One thing I find worse in TV, a trend you might not have in your country, it the "hostess".
Bikini-girls dancingin a very special way, adding some spice to TV-quiz shows and less serious news show etc. From early morning to late night...
I don't want my daughters to learn women should be good looking and their main task would be giving plesure to men.

Anita said...

THE MOM, I couldn't have said that better!
While I want my girls to feel comfortable with their femininity, I certainly don't want them to think that they have to have it in order to survive in this world.

I've seen the bikini girls that you mention. Once in a while, a show here will let us see how TV is in other countries.



Anonymous said...

Good article. Thank you.