Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Commercial Free Kids - Why It's Important to Find a Balance

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 109

My five year old likes to read books about Japanese history. Yes. Really. So when my husband introduced to him to star wars movies and he took a keen interest in everything star wars related, I decided I was comfortable with that. Afterall, I want to encourage some normal childhood interests.

I believe passionately in providing a commercial free childhood for my kids but I also believe in finding a balance.

Many of us have homes filled with toys, DVD's, books and even food covered in wiggles or elmo paraphernalia. Most of us aren't concerned and many believe people like myself are over-reacting.

So, what's the big deal about commercialism? It's not just about toys. Our marketing-driven media culture doesn't just sell products - it sells ideas, behaviors and values that often contradict the values that we as parents, are trying to instill in our children.

In order to sell a product the ad needs to influence the way a child thinks and feels so that the child is convinced that they 'need' the product, they 'want' the product and worst of all that the product will 'transform' them and make them 'better'

We have to battle against commercialism if we truly believe that WE should be the one's raising our children and NOT the corporations who drive popular culture. We also need to learn how to recognize that what seems harmless on the surface may be deceptively harmful long term.

What values do we want our children to have?

The values I'm trying to instill in my children are love, compassion, generosity, integrity, authenticity and to teach them to celebrate their own creativity. My desire is to see them grow to be sensitive to the needs of others, learning to be mindful of how their own choices impact others and the wider community. I want to see them grow to live selfless, generous lives for the benefit of their families and ultimately the world they live in. I want them to grow up excited about what they can contribute to the world - not what they can get from the world if they happen to make lots of money.

These values are easily contradicted by a few hours of commercial TV, a trip the shopping mall, a drive through the city or even a walk through the airport. What a horribly confusing message our kids receive about what they should value and most importantly, how they should value themselves.

"When children adopt the values that dominate commercial culture-dependence on the things we buy for life satisfaction, a "me first" attitude, conformity, impulse buying, and unthinking brand loyalty-the health of democracy and sustainability of our planet are threatened." - Campaign for commercial free childhood

How do we find balance?

I always felt strongly that I didn't want my kids playing with electronic gadgets or video games despite the temptation to use them for sedation when out and about!

So we made the decision that we would use colouring books and pencils when out at a restaurant as it allows them to be creative as well as still be 'present' enough to engage in conversation.

Having said that, my kids do use our computer daily. Both older boys use it to play educational games or Google their interests (under supervision). However, there are certain sites that they are allowed to visit as we avoid the one's promoted for kids that are really just full of advertising. The Wii is only to be used on weekends.

We put our foot down on commercial TV. Some of the new free to air channels are crazy with the amount of child-directed advertising and this includes the marketing of junk food as well as toys. Our kids watch very little TV during the week (if any) and on the weekend they can watch DVDs or commercial free kids programming. If there's something on commercial TV that interests them (e.g a documentary) then we just make sure we watch together.

I still have a long way to go and I'm mindful that there are times when it gets out of control and times when I need to make some tough decisions in order to do what I feel is best for my kids.

There are plenty of simple things we can do to limit the negative impact of commercialism on our kids but we must remember that we are competing against a 20 billion dollar industry! In our growing consumer culture this is something we need to be constantly aware of.We also need to be prepared to make necessary changes to find the right balance for our families.

For more information on how the media and advertising influence children visit

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Commercial Free Kids


Commercial Free Childhood






Popular Culture





Since time immemorial unscrupulous folk have existed. The world continues to see them and they would continue to exist to the end of the world. The best you could do is sensitizing yourself to detect

By: Zuneaoy l Home & Family > Crafts Supplies l December 11, 2012 lViews: 582

What does it take to find the best prices and greatest selection when searching for jewelry supplies? Because jewelry making has become such a popular hobby, there is no shortage of locations where

By: Zuneaoy l Home & Family > Crafts Hobbies l December 11, 2012 lViews: 250

You can purchase the same thing online for a much cheaper price. Now, granted, you may find that some beads and snake bracelets are just as expensive as at the store, but you will find that online

By: Zuneaoy l Home & Family > Crafts Supplies l December 07, 2012 lViews: 331

Arborist is simply called as the nature maker in the words of a poet. They really make your garden clean, healthy and tidy. When you are having tress at your place it is necessary to check them up or

By: noragwilt l Home & Family > Gardening l November 20, 2012 lViews: 311

To make sure you gain true protection, it is of paramount importance that these covers ought to be durable and strong. To make sure you gain true protection, it is of paramount importance that these

By: Simon Liva l Home & Family > Entertaining l November 16, 2012 lViews: 269

If you wish to throw a birthday celebration party, you should have a lot of money. A number of people think that if perhaps they cannot dedicate such a lot money for the celebration, it won’t

By: jhoel mojokuvic l Home & Family > Entertaining l November 12, 2012 lViews: 286

I recently wrote about what we know from research about the negative effects of too much media exposure for children. That leaves families with the question of what to do about it in their own homes.

By: Dr Carolyn Stonel Home & Family > Parentingl June 15, 2012 lViews: 209

Doctors may advise parents that bedwetting up to the age of five or six may still be considered as normal. However, there are a few cases when some kids do not simply outgrow their bedwetting

By: David Hearnsl Home & Family > Parentingl June 14, 2012 lViews: 164

Have you ever thought of making an everlasting difference in the life of a child who is in need? Becoming a foster carer is one way to accomplish exactly that. It goes without saying that the job is

By: Steve Hilll Home & Family > Parentingl June 14, 2012 lViews: 169

We mentioned six components which must be evident in our family relationships in order to promote family unity. These components are the keys to correcting failures, and instituting a powerful

By: Ezechiel Bambolo, Jrl Home & Family > Parentingl June 13, 2012 lViews: 157

It is common for parents of teenagers to become frustrated and embarrassed by their teenager's appearance. This article offers some tips for parents who are concerned, frustrated or just unsure what

By: Karen Vincentl Home & Family > Parentingl June 12, 2012 lViews: 189

Listening seems like a very basic skill but following these tips can make a difference with teenagers and can significatnly improve your relationship with your teen. This article provides specific

By: Karen Vincentl Home & Family > Parentingl June 12, 2012 lViews: 221

Motherhood is challenging in today's society. We are under more pressure than ever to get it right. But where does the pressure come from? Is it from popular culture or is it simply that we have

By: Tara N Forcel Home & Family > Motherhoodl May 07, 2012 lViews: 150

I admit to enjoying (?) the odd episode of "Toddlers and Tiara's." It was fascinating and despite the fact it made me uncomfortable and occasionally disturbed, I couldn't look away!

By: Tara N Forcel Home & Family > Parentingl April 19, 2012 lViews: 142

Why would you choose to homeschool? What was once a choice full of judgement and stereotypes is now something I find strangely appealing. Read about some reasons why homeschooling may work for you

By: Tara N Forcel Home & Family > Parentingl April 19, 2012 lViews: 105

What is wrong with my child? What do we do when our children are just, different? I detail the challenges of raising a spirited child and how I found peace with my son's uniqueness. I discovered that

By: Tara N Forcel Home & Family > Parentingl April 19, 2012 lViews: 116

The yummy mummy idea has become idolised. It's made new mothers even more paranoid and self-conscious about the way they look. It also takes the focus off what is actually important - being a good

By: Tara N Forcel Home & Family > Motherhoodl April 19, 2012 lViews: 115

Over the years, I've discovered so many of the perceptions and beliefs we have about motherhood and parenting are influenced by the media and advertising. We are often fooled by the message that we

By: Tara N Forcel Home & Family > Babies Toddlerl April 18, 2012 lViews: 121

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus