Mark Dolliver’s Takes: A Parental Dim View

When a study examines parents’ feelings about kids’ exposure to unwelcome content in the media, the headlines typically focus on sex and violence. There’s another kind of content, though, that parents look askance at: advertising. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found more than two-thirds of parents at least somewhat concerned about the amount of advertising to which their kids are exposed while watching TV (see chart at right). Parents who voiced such concern were asked to cite the categories whose overdose of ads is most worrisome to them. Toys topped the list (cited by 18 percent of these parents), followed by video games (17 percent), clothing (13 percent), alcohol/beer (11 percent), food (10 percent) and movies (7 percent). Six percent mentioned advertising for erectile-dysfunction products. It’s not that they think Junior is going to rush out and buy a supply of Viagra. Rather, parents who worry about the amount of advertising their kids see are more apt to be concerned about “inappropriate content” (cited by 47 percent) than about the possibility their offspring will want to buy too many things (39 percent).