The most dangerous words your charges will ever hear broad-casted on the television are, "We will return after these messages." The "messages" are not benign sources of information intended to benefit your life or the life of your charges. Advertisements, marketing companies, and sales pitches take up one-fifth of most television shows and their sole purpose to to make money for businesses and television networks.
Commercials are often brilliantly produced telling a complete story in as little as 10 to 30 seconds. Sometimes the commercials are more entertaining than the program being watched. Advertisements are the life-blood of the media. Broadcasters exist for the purpose of making money; the commercials are the way they make money. The programs are timed to be made so ads can be sold, not the other way around.
Commercials are misleading by glorifying and exaggerating products that are not good for children. Children tend to gain weight as they sit on the sofa watching promotions of starchy and greasy foods that are unhealthy for them. Many commercials disrespect women by providing sexual and unrealistic images of women. These images attribute to low self esteem in girls and may influence disorders such as anorexia.
For example, some children may derive some entertainment from the cartoon "Sponge Bob Squarepants", but cannot get any redeeming value from a Burger King ad displaying dancing sex symbols with square tushies. Children are getting confusing and nonsensical messages from the commercials and develop a curiosity for unhealthy and unneeded foods and products. No one benefits from advertisements. They are a lose-lose proposition.
Nannies and au pairs are as susceptible to marketing as any other consumer. Tempted by sales to buy stuff that does not improve their quality of life in any way. Forget the "money saving" marketing tricks. The only real way to save money is not to spend it.
Ignore the beauty product advertisements. Shopping and buying cannot validate your existence. Stuff get in the way of what makes you special.
Activity to Do with Children:
Have the children use a chart to count how many commercials they view during a television show. How many commercials do they watch every day? Explain that many advertisements exaggerate products to make them seem much better then they actually are. Was there a time when the kids bought an item that looked really good on television and didn’t seem so great once they got it home? Which commercials are really making toys, foods, movies, and stores seem much better then they really are? List products that are exaggerated and which are advertised honestly. Also count the number of public service announcements. Look through magazines and newspapers to find advertisements that exaggerate products too.
Do you think television commercials effect children? How have television advertisements effected those under your care?