3889183435_7abf17f3d3_m Q:
Recently, my children started singing the jingle from a commercial for an erectile dysfunction drug. I was shocked. Then I remembered that we had seen the ad during a sports game on TV, and that I had thought it had gone over their heads. What should I do?
Shocked About the Singing in New York, NY

A: Dear Shocked About the Singing,

Yes, I suspect that that particular advertising jingle has a different effect than “My baloney has a first name.” Especially if you are not the only one listening! And even if it’s only you who hears your kids singing about such topics, the question is really what effect these ads have on them.

As your experience and our research both demonstrate, kids absorb a lot more from advertising than we think they do. And unfortunately, there are many commercials that are inappropriate for children aired during televised sports and other live broadcast events, which makes them more difficult to avoid. So, we as parents need to be prepared.

I would recommend a few different approaches, depending on the ages of your children. First, if you are able to watch an event at a later time, use a VCR, TiVo or DVR and skip over the ads. If your kids are young, mute the commercials and, if possible, give them something else to do during that time. With older children, discuss the ads. Ask them questions about what they think the ad is for, the methods it uses to sell a product to them, and what other messages the ad may contain that you may or may not want your children to absorb. Such questions and conversation can help teach your kids to be critical users of media.

Remember that all media are educational, and this is another opportunity for you to help guide your children’s learning.

Enjoy your media and use them wisely,
The Mediatrician

2 Responses to “How do I deal with inappropriate commercials during sports television?”

  1. Peggy

    Have noticed this problem myself. My husband and I watch almost no TV aside from sports and I think being a sports fan is a healthy thing and can teach kids a lot. However, I am concerned about the commercials during the broadcasts – mostly ones that are violent, though – movie commercials seem to be the worst. While this may be “educational” I do not think desensitizing my child to violence is the education I want her to receive. Are there any good organizations fighting this trend?

  2. Lydia

    It is so sad that we even have to worry about this. I have no children but I do have values and morals and it is horrible that these people cannot accommodate to the everyone. If someone wants to see something inappropriate they can do that on their own time in their own privacy instead of asking those to work their way around commercials as we cannot control what the tv airs. I should not feel uncomfortable watching regular tv or a sports game with friends, family and significant others. America is spiraling down for many reasons like this, we are the melting pot and you can’t even keep naked people off the tv for those who have serious values. It is even a statistical fact that media is a huge part of the numbers in divorce so you airing these is you supporting that. I am going to start canceling my business with providers that are airing these, you wont be getting my money that is for sure.


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