Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nickelodean shapes the minds of our children

How our children perceive images and society is not so much controlled by parents anymore as it is by the number of images they see on TV. I will use Nickelodeon as an example.

I love Nickelodeon. Despite how some parents complain that Sponge Bog Square Pants is a bad role model for children, I love that cartoon and watch it with my kids. Sometimes I simply like to watch something for mere entertainment, and I think that's fine for my kids too.

Some programs on Nick are pure entertainment and no educational value whatsoever, like Sponge Bob. Some programs are informative and educational, like most Nick Jr. programs such as Blues Clues. A good mix is just fine.

But I've read somewhere recently that Nick has the opportunity to shape the minds of our children something like 100 to 3 or 4. Our children are exposed to hundreds of images that shape their minds on Nick, as opposed to parents having only a few such opportunities each day. Which means we are competing with programs like Nick in the battle to shape the minds of our children.

I know from my marketing/advertising experience that for some products and services there is no better way to grow your target audience than by inculcating your image into the minds of youngsters, so as they grow up your product is tops on their mind, and other similar products are more likely to be shunned away as impostors.

The best marketing technique of all is to be the first to make something. A good example of products that are #1 in their markets are Coke and McDonalds, not necessarily because they have the best product, but because they were first to shape the minds of potential buyers.

Pepsi and Burger King have made major gains in their respective markets, but they are still both

#2s. However, the way they try to gain an even larger market share is by targeting kids who weren't around when Coke and McDonalds were first created. Slowly but surely both Pepsi and Burger King have been eating away at the market share by using this technique, however they are both still #2s.

As I'm watching Nickelodeon with my pre-schooler this morning, I learn right quickly that it is

Earth Day (something I think is cool by the way), and soon I see that they are teaching my child how to conserve energy by turning off the lights and water and shutting doors and keeping the air conditioner off, and how to conserve gas by driving slowly and carefully. I think these are all good for my child to learn.

However, the next thing I see on the TV is a line of cars and the announcer saying that these cars are emitting CO2 which is going into the atmosphere and causing global warming. If this were a fact I would have no problem with them telling my kids that, but it's not a fact -- it is a theory. It is called the theory of global warming.

Again, keep in mind that I am not anti-global warming theory, I just believe it is not a good idea to teach only one theory to our kids, lest they become a bunch of mind numbed robots incapable of thinking for themselves. I think they should say, "Hey, this is one theory. Let's respect it lest it be true. Because if it is true, and we ignore it, then we are in trouble."

I know there are many people I talk to (that are my age or older), who believe what they have been fed that there is absolutely no evidence that we humans are the cause of global warming, let alone that we Americans are the cause of most of it. And they get fed up with big companies with so much control over the minds of our children accepting the idea of global warming, and that we are the cause.

Which brings in mind a theory I've read about lately regarding all the business executives who have conformed and adapted the idea of global warming. Perhaps, this new theory suggests, these business executives, such as the ones who run Nickelodeon, have decided that the theory of global warming is so popular, that it would be a good business move to conform and join the majority on global warming.

The idea is that executives of companies like Nickelodeon have decided to go green because they think their parents have bought into it. So, what a better way to get parents to let their children tune into Nickelodeon than to preach green. After all, it's not the kids they are trying to sell products to, it's the parents.

And what harm would it be if we teach these kids to believe they are the cause of global warming, the executives think. What harm would it do?

In the end, however, it's not the parents who are being brainwashed into believing some theory about the environment is a fact, it is the kids who are vulnerable to this brainwashing technique.

But what do Nick executives care? They have made their millions.

Recent polls show that a majority of people in this country between the ages of 18 and 35 believe in global warming, which is a sure sign this marketing technique by the global warming crowd is working. It's to the fact now that marketers now believe a majority people in this age group automatically believe in global warming, and that we humans are the cause of it.

As I ask around in the course of a day, I find these statistics to be relatively true. One of my best friends and fellow conservatives is 29, and she firmly believes the theory to be true; she even debates me on it. I've interviewed children who talk about global warming as though it were fact, and they mock people who don't believe as "idiots" and "fools."

I'm not joking. I am believed to be a fool in my own home.

I am absolutely not going to tell my children not to watch Nickelodeon, any more than I'm going to force my child to be a conservative. In fact, I won't even tell my children who I'm going to vote for in the coming elections because I want them to think for themselves rather than to conform to my way of thinking.

I have complete and total control over what my children watch on TV at this point in their lives, but I know that some day I will not. That in mind, I think it would be stupid of me to never let them watch entertaining programs on Nick.

However, Nick would be respected a lot more by this dad if they would help me shape my child's mind by entertaining, teaching appropriate values, and not by trying to force my child to think of theories as though they are facts.


Nikki said...

Great post! AGAIN! I love sponge bob btw...our family watches the episode "band geeks" like it's a seinfeld episode, haha. I get aggrivated with all the corporate pushing of this "green" stuff. It does resonate in the minds of our children and sway them in one direction. Capitializing on scientific theory...it all seems silly to me. :)N

Righty64 said...

I think you ought to read my take on Earth Day. It is a bit harsh, but the ecowackos have hijacked it and I am afraid that we are careening at breakneck speed to socialism in the name of saving the planet. What a disaster!

Freadom said...

I will definitely check it out.

Khaki Elephant said...

Eek! My kids love Nik, but there is an agenda there.