Children’s television without the commercials please

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television, children's television, toy commcerials, adverts
Imagine what children’s TV commercials are doing to this child’s brain. Pic credit below.

I’m going to make a confession and I have a funny feeling many of you are going to agree with me. I absolutely, totally and utterly despise television commercials that are pitched at children. They completely do my head in. I’ve no idea how the funding could be replaced, but children’s television would be a much better without them.

I’ve written in the past about my dislike and guilt about letting the kids watch TV. I always feel like we should be baking, playing games, reading or undertaking some other wholesome activity. The truth is you can’t always do that. Sometimes you need 20 minutes of peace to cook an evening meal and the TV fills that space perfectly.

Or at least it does at the moment. Our toddler is too young to object to whatever is put on and will simply watch whatever her big sister wants. I know this won’t last. Arguments have already taken place between the two of them about what music goes on Spotify, but that’s a different blog post for another day.

As if the guilt of placing your child in front of the TV isn’t enough, you then find there are a ridiculous number of ad breaks. The commercials seem to fall into two camps. They’re either generic for the European market and the kids don’t speak because of the differing languages or they’re imported from the US and they do talk.

Regardless, they seem to follow the same pattern. There’s usually a script delivered so quickly you can only just comprehend it, bright colours blurring across the screen, horrendous camera angles and a bunch of smiley children. The kids always seem unnaturally happy, as if they’ve just solved the Middle East crisis using some kind of plastic tat.

The other thing that annoys me is how many of these things there are. Each commercial break is, what, three minutes? During that time you must easily get 10 adverts. I’ve never bothered counting, I just don’t think I could sit through an entire ad break. I find myself wanting to do a Led Zeppelin and hurl the TV out the window mid-way through the first commercial.

After every commercial the inevitable question comes; “Can I have one please?” No no no and no again. Absolutely not. Most of it is over priced rubbish.

I have no particular point to make. That was more of a rant. What do you think ‘though? Do you dislike TV advertisements aimed at kids as much as I do?

Photo credit: Aaron Escobar. Reproduced under Creative Commons agreement. For links to the various Creative Commons agreements, see my Disclosure page.

13 thoughts on “Children’s television without the commercials please”

  1. Completely agree, I’ve grown to realise just how clever marketers are at exploiting pester power. Kinder have got my goat by putting an advert on TV that says mummy has said it’s ok to have a chocolate bar straight after school. You what?!! We’ll decide thank you very much!

    1. p.s. the chocolate bar is a kinder chocolate with sugar puffs in it. Who decides to put sugar puffs in chocolate, complete waste of chocolate, mmm chocolate.

      1. Sugar puffs in chocolate? Sounds grim! Anyway, I shall look out for this advert. Sounds very patronising. If it’s approved by mum then clearly I can’t possibly buy it or give it to my kids.

  2. ToInfinityAndIVF

    Yes!!! Arrgh they drive me bonkers. Z will sit there saying “I need that one, and that one and that one and….”. I used to try reasoning and now I just say “yes yes that fine” 🙂 luckily he forgets within 30 seconds. For now.

  3. Although I try to limit our toddler to breakfast and dinner time CBeebies, some NickJr does slip in with its appalling adverts. Whereas I can feel programming generally has some educational value, ads on the other hand are designed solely to subvert the child towards desiring some horrendous tat. One particularly foul ad recently involved a doll pooping charms. Out of choice I would never have my child witness this wretchedness but they’re placed strategically between some of her favourite programmes. I have every intention of continuing to limit exposure to commercial channels but the sheer volume of it means that it feels like a losing battle for every parent.

    1. I try and limit all exposure to the TV, but I find it very difficult and to keep the TV off during the weekend would spell disaster! I am, however, increasingly trying to play the kids music. They love it and love to dance.

  4. The secret to this is TV where you can fast forward the adverts. Problem solved!
    Luckily my kids are too young for the “I want one!” Thing but I’m sure that delight will arrive soon enough.

    1. Yes, Lewis, I have started doing the fast forward the adverts thing. Only thing is, you have to remember to pause the TV in the first place!

  5. My kids aren’t yet old enough to understand but I can already predict the future and it looks expensive. That’s not to say that I’m problem free now mind. My wife is a shopaholic and she gets sucked into these TV adverts easier than any toddler would!

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