“Mommy, I know it’s a girl on TV when she has big eyelashes,” my four-year-old said confidently during a reluctant potty break from her favorite show.
She’s totally right—though men and women actually have the same eyelashes when they wake up in the morning. Girls, both cartoons and real, are portrayed on television with a signature trait: eye makeup. Even our beloved baby Margaret on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has enhanced eyelashes when compared to her brother. And don’t even get me started on Elsa.
It hit me that my daughter’s first identifier of femininity was, in reality, fake.
I started thinking about all the other steps a typical woman takes, beyond what a typical man would do, just to get ready for the day. The list goes something like this: Continue reading →
I primarily breastfeed my son, but occasionally use formula. We have only used half a container after nine months. It’s not expired, so I assumed it was fine to keep using it.
That is, until the other day, when I actually read all the instructions and noticed that it says use within one month of opening! Whoops! I wondered, “will formula hurt my baby if I’ve used it after being opened for more than one month?” I mean, obviously he appears fine, but I wanted to be sure. The skeptic inside also wondered if the formula companies just want us to buy more.
As a New York Times bestselling author and developmental molecular biologist, John Medina gives extensive research based information on the controversial topic TV as it relates to health and happy children. In his book “Brain Rules for Baby” he says “The fact is, the amount of TV a child should watch before the age of 2 is zero.”
He goes on to say, “For decades we have known of the connection between hostile peer interactions and the amount of kids’ exposure to television. The linkage used to be controversial (maybe aggressive people watch more TV than others?), but we now see that it’s an issue of our deferred imitation abilities coupled with a loss of impulse control.”
Deferred imitation is the ability to reproduce a behavior, after only witnessing it once. For example a 13 month old girl can remember an event a week after it happened. At a year and a half, she can imitate an event for months after a single exposure. “This is something the advertising industry has known for decades”, says Medina.
He says that TV can lead to hostility and trouble focusing. “For each hour of TV watched daily by children under age 4, the risk increased 9 percent that they would engage in bullying behavior by the time they started school. This is poor emotional regulation at work.” He says that “American Association of Pediatrics estimates that 10 percent to 20 percent of real-life violence can be attributed to exposure to media violence.” Wow.
The American Association of Pediatrics issued a recommendation that says: Although certain television may be promoted to kids under the age of 2, studies show that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with caregivers for healthy brain development.