In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Posts Tagged ‘media’

If McDonalds retires Ronald, perhaps it shouldn’t stop there…

Posted by Dr. Susan on May 19, 2011

A group of medical professionals is calling for McDonald’s to get rid of Ronald, citing the childhood character’s link to the the childhood obesity epidemic. 

There is something wrong with this on two levels. To begin, if we were to get rid of Ronald, why stop there? It doesn’t seem fair to single out one marketing character. Should we also tell Disney, Nickelodeon and every single cereal company that they’re not allowed to use mascots to sell their products? No–this is not the way a democracy works! I’m all for protecting kids against inappropriate marketing, but this goes too far.

Of course we need to protect our kids, and make sure that big business act in the best interest of the public, BUT we also need to place real responsibility on parents to educate their kids about marketing and product placement. Most importantly, parents need to say NO to their children when they don’t believe eating a particular food isn’t healthy or necessary at that moment.

It is always easy to blame someone else; it’s much more difficult to take responsibility. Ronald has been around for many years prior to the obesity epidemic. It’s only in the past twenty years or so that parents have started to be afraid to say NO to their kids–worried that they may have a tantrum, or their child might feel alienated won’t be their friend anymore.  Parenting is not always easy, in fact sometimes it’s downright difficult, but in the end, your child will be a stronger person if you role-model and teach taking responsiblity for one’s own behavior.

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If your kids already complain that you’re too bossy…

Posted by Dr. Susan on May 18, 2011

A CA bill, if passed by the senate,would give parents FULL access to their kid’s social networking account with the ability to request removal of any and all information/pictures etc, that they don’t like, whenever they want. In fact, this bill states that if Facebook–or any other social networking site–were to ignore a parent’s request, they could be fined thousands of dollars, per account.

So, what do you think of this?

My first response was YEAH! finally someone is advocating for kids’ safety online. But the more I think about it, the more I’m not sure. I think it’s a great idea for parents of kids under 18-years to have access to their kid’s Facebook. However, I’m not sure that this parents should be able to leverage such power over their child that the access is forced upon the child. This will ultimately cause such a breakdown of trust between parent and child that no good will come of it–kids will simply go underground with fake accounts. 

Your child needs to know that you are paying attention to their Facebook and that you are concerned about their ‘social media health’. If you are involved, paying attention and discussing your concerns with them, they are much likely to be more wary about what they post online. If you force it on them, you risk losing relationship with them all together, online and off!

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Online gaming is good for families…really?

Posted by Dr. Susan on May 9, 2011

This new study suggests that when families ‘game’ together, their relationships improve. Ok, I suppose that could be true. If you play online games with your kids, it’s definitely better than NOT playing online with them, and rather just leaving them to online game with total strangers.

But do you really think that parents are playing online games with their kids?? The answer is NO! Either the parents are gaming alone (I see this all the time) and the kids are nagging them to get off the computer to come and throw a ball outside, or the kids/teens are online and would be mortified if their mom or (more likely) dad joined in. And of course, this doesn’t even include all the time kids are online while parents are working, running the home or dealing with the other kids. So the chance that kids and parents are bonding online is…well…let’s just politely say…unlikely!

So, while this study is interesting in theory, it truly holds no really life application. So, instead of making it your goal to game online with your child, the better goal is found in the old and boring traditions…eat a meal together, chat while you’re driving somewhere, clean the car together (pay them if you have to!), or drag out a board game. You’d be surprised how many BIG kids love Apples to Apples!

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TV contributes to toddler violence

Posted by Dr. Susan on November 2, 2009

A new study finds that toddlers who watch TV are more likely to be violent! This study controlled for MANY other factors, such as mom’s depression, spanking, and living in an unsafe neighborhood. As a parent it is critical that you be aware that the TV and other media (movies, internet, video games) are not benign influences on your child–especially at young ages.

Limit exposure, and most of all pay attention to ratings. However, even during otherwise appropriate shows, the commercials may not be wholesome enough for younger viewers. For example, on Nick, during the most wholeome ‘Full House’, tantalizing ads for the super-racy ‘Degrassi’ are being shown to young kids who shouldn’t yet know about sex, sexting, drugs and other teen topics, let alone be having them role-modeled on TV. They’re already being primed to watch these shows as young as they can nag you into letting them, so be ready!

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Is Miley selling out? Nope, her parents are doing it for her!

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 30, 2008

Today, Annie Leibovitz’s famous Vanity Fair photos of Miley Cyrus, inferred naked, wrapped in a sheet, hit the newstands. The debates are raging. Is she selling out? Shouldn’t she have known better? Is it Annie Leibovitz’s fault–she’s the photographer after all, shouldn’t she have been more responsible. What about Miley’s parents? Shouldn’t they have had better judgment about letting their 15-year old pose for such seductive shots? Actually, I don’t blame the photographer at all, despite reading many opinions that do. Miley’s not her kid! She’s looking for the most artistic shot, the most sensational shot. Her responsibility is to the magazine that’s hired her. Miley herself is a kid. Her brain–lots of research shows–is not yet developed enough to make good judgments. Therefore it is her parents who are to blame. YES! They are the ones who could have and should have looked at those pictures and vetoed them because they are incredibly sexualized for starters. Is that what they want for their daughter? Not to mention that they fly in the face of her Hannah Montana image–just poor judgment for sure. Haven’t they seen what has happened with all the other corrupt teen celebs. Don’t they want more for their girl? Who knows I guess?

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Too much info about politicians

Posted by Dr. Susan on March 27, 2008

Following the latest Spitzer then Paterson scandals, a tongue in cheek article in New York Magazine asks how much sordid info on our politicians is too much? It’s a question that I’m asked all the time. Not withstanding the ha-ha value of the New York Magazine piece, this is actually an important issue.

The media has incredibly sophisticated abilities to not only pry into the minutiae of politicians’ lives with intensity and drive and then broadcast within seconds across the globe in a way that can legitimately wipe out a politician’s career. In some cases they should be wiped out…Spitzer I think is a good example of this. 

But, I wonder…are there talented, competent individuals who refuse to even run for office at high levels because they are afraid that issues in their background–having nothing to do with their current morality or competence–will be dragged out and thrown in their faces? Take Paterson. Do we care that he used drugs as a teen or young adult? Or even about his marital problems? Will it impact on his ability to do his job now. Not that teens should use drugs of course! And guess what a huge percentage of married people have affairs.

But perhaps the Republicans are stuck with a 71-year old McCain (not that he’s a bad choice, just that he’s really old!) because so few others had the guts to open up their private lives to the media that needs to be constantly fed. It’s unlikely that politicians 20 years ago were anymore moral or ethical than they are now. We just didn’t know what was going on. Maybe it was better that way. It’s possible to be good at some parts of your life–say running a country, but not as good at others–like running your own life. I see this with the people who come to me for help every day. I’m not sure that we should be narrowing our pool of competent politicians based on the media’s need to dig for dirt.

Your life is private, why shouldn’t theirs be too?

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Are teens flawed or the research?

Posted by Dr. Susan on March 14, 2008

A study,  released this week by the CDC is sending panic through the nation–it proclaims that 26% of teenage girls have sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), most of them black black girls. I have two serious problems with this research.

It is basing these findings on 838 girls. The CDC extrapolated findings of an ENTIRE nation from a sample of fewer than nine hundred!! They’ve got to be kidding, right?! This is a “nationally representative sample”? Shame on them–a waste of time and money.

To make matters worse is my second problem. The study is based on data that was collected FIVE YEARS AGO. Teens are like technology. Five years ago is irrelevant. Why didn’t the CDC team up with MTV now–they would have collected 10, 000 interviews in five minutes and had real, current data to analyze. Instead they’re relying on a pathetically small sample size that’s completely outdated.

But what amazes me is that doctors and the media are buying it, accepting it, panicking about it…but not questioning it. I’m not saying that girls don’t have STD’s or that we shouldn’t be concerned. Of course we should! I speak to hundreds of girls every year about practicing safe sex. I believe in the new HPV vaccine–although I don’t think we should be giving it to 9-year olds because we don’t know how long it lasts. But the truth STD’s may or may not be a huge problem for teenage girls. Are they? Based on this study, I have no idea and neither do you!!!

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