Monday, February 23, 2009

DVR: One of Many Mom Superpowers

Could DVR prevent the ‘gimmies’ evoked by commercials?

The older Hawklet has only recently learned what a commercial is. Watching a show he was particularly in to recently (God only knows what that was if not on PBS), a commercial appeared and he promptly commanded me to put his show back on. Sorry, bud, but if this mom was truly that powerful, I’d be doing a lot more than just skipping over commercials. I explained that I had no control over this interruption, and by the way, it is called a commercial. “A com-MERCIAL?” he asked, volume crescendoing as he elongated his pronunciation of this new word.

Hmmm…did I want him to be more aware of commercials? Not particularly. Had I just encouraged him to tune in to this newfound phenomenon? Ugh. I suddenly sort of regretted drawing his attention to them.

I also realized two things in the brief course of this exchange: 1) being a conscious consumer is definitely a learned behavior, 2) DVR might be one of the most mom-friendly inventions of the last several years.

We sheltered our Hawklet from too much TV-watching in the beginning stages of our parenthood, fearful of ‘those’ studies that ‘those’ third-party research institutes that I now can’t name offhand said would give him ADD. And, I am that nerd who took on a two-year independent research study as an undergrad focused on the impact that advertisements during children’s programming have on perpetuating gender and racial stereotypes. Gender and racial stereotypes and my Hawklets don’t mix. And ADD scares me.

And besides cautions around greed, ADD, gender stereotypes and racial profiling (as if that isn’t enough!), a recent report from the Center for Media Research pointed to the fact that even commercials embedded within sports programming are unsafe for kids. They are violent and sex-crazed. More characteristics with which my Hawklets don’t mix!

Did you notice the number of times someone was flung from a window, hit by a bus, trampled by an animal, or generally knocked unconscious in commercials that aired during this year’s Super Bowl? Ever considered whether those 30 seconds could be causing your little one stress? Me neither.

But this recent study showed that one in six ads aired during a football game is inappropriate for kids. This is Sunday afternoon television, folks, not after-the-kids-should-be-in-bed-anyway kind of stuff.

DVR can save us from fretting over such issues. So now it has received a spot on my favorites list. (And if you’ve been following along, that means it falls in line right after drive-thrus and VapoRub.)

Will those seemingly harmless interruptions during the quickly approaching March Madness spill over into your little ones’ psyches? Perhaps DVR could make your household’s March a little less Mad. You go, Supermom.

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