RxTV: Kids and Cartoons and Candy, too

Your child is sitting with cartoons, joyfully laughing at the characters antics and silly plots, or teaching social interaction skills so necessary for growing up strong. It may give you a sense of security that all is well with your child, and often it is so.  But if you have children from six to fourteen years of age, you may want to watch the types of cartoon characters they are viewing. Students who viewed overweight characters who were then offered candy, ate more than those who watched normal-weight characters.

A Journal of Consumer Psychology study. Even children who saw both over-weight and normal-weight characters ate more candy than those who saw only normal weight characters or control groups who viewed only neutral objects such as a coffee mug.

It has long been known that children adopt the behaviors of those that they view through social learning. But this study provides us with even more striking information. Consider whether the study’s results suggest that children even adopt the implied behaviors of characters they view; while they did not see the characters eating more, their physical images may have subliminally suggested that they did.  It seems to be an eye-opening look at just how much we are influenced by TV viewing, and how that could be a powerful tool when used for good.

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