Parent trap

Who are you going to listen to – parents who have your long-term health and well-being in mind, or unhealthy and self-serving messages beamed at you electronically, encouraging pleasure and impulsiveness? Not surprisingly, a new study of children by Texas A&M International University has found that the unhealthy electronic messages can win out.

In the study, children aged 3-8 were exposed to healthy or unhealthy commercials during a cartoon, and then to health-encouraging or health-neutral input from their parents. Researchers found the commercials were more powerful than parental input in determining a subsequent food choice, and that the combination of unhealthy commercials and neutral parent input reliably led to poorer quality choices.

Though the new study is inconclusive on its own, owing to its small sample size and limited scope, it is sure to be repeated on a larger scale and should be seen in the context of widespread research demonstrating the strong and often counter-intuitive impact of electronic messages on the quality of our choices and health. Read about the new study at Gimme My Fries and learn more about the impact of media exposure on child behavior at Television and Children.

Photo courtesy of Television Set.

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