HBO targets baby audience? Puh-lease!

Children’s Coalition to Parents: HBO’s Classical Baby is a Classic Hoax

WASHINGTON — May 10 — The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is warning parents to keep their infants and toddlers away from the upcoming HBO television special Classical Baby which will air on Saturday, May 14. According to HBO, the program is beneficial for infants and young children.

Psychiatrist Alvin F. Poussaint of the Judge Baker Children’s Center challenged HBO’s claims about the show’s benefits for babies: “There is no scientific evidence that demonstrates watching television is beneficial to infants. In fact, because of possible risks, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two shouldn’t watch any television at all.”

Read the entire article here.

First Baby Einstein, now this HBO special. Oy! Why is it that the AAP says no tv for kids under 2 and yet there are more and more tv shows and dvds coming out that are supposed to be “good” for children’s development?

Because of all the advertising and hype, some parents may feel guilty if they can’t afford dvds (or HBO) to “stimulate” their children’s brains, when all they really need to do is interact and play with them (and that doesn’t cost a cent!).

I especially like this quote at the end of that article:

CCFC’s Susan Linn, psychologist and author of Consuming Kids, countered, “Babies do not need HBO or any television to bond with their parents or enjoy music. Turn the TV off, put on your favorite music, and spend some time rocking, singing, or dancing around the room with your baby. Now that’s bonding.”

If you disagree with HBO’s targeting our children, please consider
taking one or all of the following actions:
(The following actions were taken from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.)

–Go to HBO’s website and let them know your concerns about Classical Baby. You might write something like this:
“Why is HBO showing Classical Baby when the American Academy of
Pediatrics recommends that children under two not watch any
television? There is no evidence indicating that television is
beneficial to infants. Stop exploiting parents’ desire to be good
parents and stop putting our most vulnerable children at risk. It’s
time to put Classical Baby to bed.”

–You can also voice your concerns by calling HBO at (212) 512-1208.
Tell them that you are concerned that Classical Baby is being
marketed as beneficial to babies when the American Academy of
Pediatrics recommends no television for children under two. Ask
them if they have any research that supports their claims about the
show’s benefits for infants. They may tell you to do an Internet
search; you can let them know we’ve already done that search – and
there’s no evidence that television is beneficial for babies.

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14 thoughts on “HBO targets baby audience? Puh-lease!

  1. In a perfect world, moms would never need 10-15 minutes to clean up the kitchen after dinner. In a perfect world, moms would never need 10-15 minutes of her own time to collect her thoughts and just sit in silence. In a perfect world, moms would never need even 5 minutes to go to the bathroom without a little one hanging on their leg.

    I do not agree that kids should be put in front of the TV every chance a parent gets, but for those few minutes needed for some time out, or quick cleaning or even to give a little one something colorful or musical to look at to stimulate his or her senses in a totally differnt way other than books…I really don’t see the harm.

  2. I hear what you are saying and I understand what you mean. All parents needs some time to themselves every now and then.
    This isn’t directed at the parents who set their kids in front of the TV for a few minutes once in a while while they cook dinner, etc.
    My beef is with the company (in this case HBO) marketing a program to babies as such: “Stimulating, soothing, and full of heart, Classical Baby fulfills the potential for TV to inspire and engage a baby’s imagination and sense of wonder, while serving as a wonderful tool for early learning – and family bonding.”
    I guess I don’t see how plopping the family down in front of the TV facilitates family bonding. Maybe that works if you are watching an educational show with an older child and then discussing it afterwards, but with a baby? I don’t get it. I feel time is better spent playing with and engaging a baby rather than watching a TV program.

  3. In case anyone is interested, I found this (and other info about positive actions for parents re: television) on the American Academy of Pediatrics website.:

    “For older children, high-quality TV programs can have benefits. However, for younger children it’s a very different story. The first two years of life are especially important in the growth and development of your child’s brain. During this time, children need good, positive interaction with other children and adults to develop good language and social skills. Learning to talk and play with others is far more important than watching television.

    Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children younger than two years of age. For older children, the AAP recommends no more than one to two hours per day of quality screen time.”

  4. I have to agree with JMS and I have to say that I let my 10 month old watch Baby Einstein or Seasame Street on a daily basis, not for hours on end but 20-30 minutes here or there while I do things around the house, get ready for work, need some downtime etc. To be honest if we did have HBO I would probably let my child watch the new HBO Baby Special. Of course it would not replace “bonding” time or play time with my child and I have to say my child gets plenty of that everyday. This is marketing ploy, do we really take everything that’s put in front of our faces literally?? Come on… give people a bit more credit.

    Amy, you look to the AAP for guidance and reccomendations on child tv watching but ignore the recommendations for vaccinations?

  5. Thanks for your comments, Tracy.

    You said: “This is marketing ploy, do we really take everything that’s put in front of our faces literally?? Come on… give people a bit more credit.”

    I guess I don’t know what you are referring to that we are taking “literally.” If you clarify what you mean by that I’d be happy to address it. :)

    You also said:
    “Amy, you look to the AAP for guidance and reccomendations on child tv watching but ignore the recommendations for vaccinations?”

    I’m soooo glad you brought that up. It’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately and I love that you challenged me on it because it’s made me have to figure out exactly where I stand.

    Rather than answer that question here though, I’m going to devote another blog entry to it. I hope to get to do it tonight, but I have company coming in from out of town and am not sure how much I’ll be around. It is something I will address though as soon as I can.

  6. JMS and Tracy,

    I am happy you both feel welcome to visit my blog and I love that you comment on it, however something has been upsetting me for a while now and since it has to do with the blog I figure I’d mention it here.

    It’s upsetting to me that I haven’t seen any encouraging comments from either of you (except for something from JMS about our trip to KS) since I started the blog.

    I enjoy discussing our differences, but I’d also love to see some support every now and then, especially when I write about things that are important to me and that I’m excited about.

    I know you don’t agree with a lot of things I believe in or say, but I have to think that there’s something out there I’ve written that you don’t disagree with. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Anyway, I wanted to bring it up since it’s been eating at me for a while.

    Thanks,
    Amy

  7. It is very hard to make positive comments on your blog because most of what you write is negative towards what we believe and how we are raising our kids. You said that your blog was open for comments and that you appreciate not being attacked when people post to it, but that you like to be “challenged.” That is exactly what we are doing…challenging you. We don’t understand why you say and do some of the things you do. Do you really think HBO is putting out things that are forever damaging to our kids, that you feel the need to write the company regarding a show that sounded wonderful for kids under two? We just don’t understand. We’ve had these conversations before, and we are just going to have to agree to disagree, but does that mean we have to keep our mouths shut because we are afraid to offend you because we have different opinions? I would like to comment on your blog whenever I want whether it be positive or negative. You want us to see your points of view, but you don’t ever want to look at the other side. It seems that it is your way, or no way. The other side of this too is that you are home with Ava and not working like most of the rest of us. Reading some of the interests you have taken up, just aren’t important in my life. I work all day and spend every moment I can interacting with my kids the second I pick them up from school to the time I put them to bed at night. All of this other stuff you post about is just way to petty. Sorry to use such a bad word, but to me, writing and exhausting time writing to a company whose channel I don’t even pay for, is senseless. If you don’t want your kids to watch it, don’t turn it on. If you don’t agree with a company’s choice of verbage on a t-shirt, don’t buy it. You are a wonderful parent and only want what is best for Ava and I truly believe you are making her world better, but you have to be honest with yourself…you aren’t going to change the world.

  8. Amy, I think you are very inspiring. We all have hobbies, or at least we should have hobbies. Writing and standing up for what you believe in is an exceptional hobby. I think your blog is great and could and maybe already has, inspired people to try to make the world a better place. Don’t ever think that your writing about “petty” things is not a worthy hobby. The things you have written about here are noty petty. Those who have opposite views as you may think it is petty to them, but to you, you have strong feelings which definitely makes it not petty.

    We, personally don’t get HBO so even if I wanted to see what they were directing towards our young audience I couldn’t. Honestly, I don’t think my 10 month old would sit down to watch a show. She is much too busy playing. The TV sparks her interest maybe a few times a week and she will watch for a max of 2-3 minutes. So, even I wanted her to stay occupied while I finished making lunch, etc. it wouldn’t happen with her watching TV cause she just doesn’t have any interest there. Maybe I’m lucky in that her and Adri both had no interest at this young age, I guess some see it as a disadvantage? Either way, I agree with you Amy…a bit of TV to get some work done and to have a bit of downtime is fine, but TV babysitters are not beneficial.

  9. Amy~
    You CAN change the world! Or at least make Ava’s ‘world’ a better place. I get this from my friends and my DH’s family all the time: “It’s your way or the highway!” or “You can’t protect/save your children from everything!” Well, guess what…with MY children, it IS my way or the highway and, when they are little, not only CAN I protect my children, it’s my JOB!” Every mother sees her job as a parent a little differently from the next. That’s how I see mine. We all have different views and some of us choose to spend our time advocating more than others. That is our choice and great things can come out of advocacy. The world could not change/grow if it weren’t for passioate people like you, Amy! I admire you.

  10. I think that a *bit* of TV watching is ok…only due to dh talking to me abt it. If I had my way I wouldn’t turn it on for our son. However, his papa and I were given a few Fisher Price baby shows and they talk abt nature, music, and babies. While we watch them w/ our son, we sign the different objects they have on. There are things in the video that we don’t have around our house (like the ocean or a trumpet) that we can sign to him (no, he’s not deaf but we sign w/ him regardless) and he learns that way.

    HOWEVER, I think that part of Amy’s passion might lie in the fact that there are people that do take things “literally” and will plop their kids down to watch what they are told will “stimulate and help your child grow developementally”. Tracy you may be smarter than the average parent but let’s face it, there are plenty of parents out there that plop their kid down and leave them to watch TV or play video games all day. You might not but some do. Those little people’s parents need more guidance and information given to them so that they can use better judgement.

    While we make our son’s 20-30 min every other day (at most) baby video time educational, there are other parents that don’t. I agree that parents need some down time and don’t look down on those parents that occasionally let their kid watch something educational while they clean up a bit (I’ve done it myself) but do look down on the ones that use it as a babysitter each day for hours. I mean come on, are we really going to disagree that it’s ok for parents to do that??

    It seems to me that Amy is targeting HBO for a larger purpose. Like the t-shirts, it’s about a greater message. Amy doesn’t only worry about her child but she worries abt other children whose parents don’t seem to care as much abt their children, their kids health, etc. She has a bigger view of the world than what happens within her own walls. If you don’t nip something in the beginning it grows to be a mammoth and then what??

    I think it’s a shame JMS that you say that Amy will never chg the world bc it’s just that type of thinking that keeps people from trying. It’s that type of thinking that has let corporations get away w/ chging *our* world to a world that alot of people are afraid to let their children grow up in. If you are worried abt it, you try to chg it…if you aren’t you do nothing. Some of you are happy in one camp and other’s are happy in the second one. I think it’s sad that you aren’t more encouraging when it comes to your friend trying to take a stand against something that she feels passionately about. She is right that it does appear that you never support anything she does. Even if you don’t agree w/ her purpose, does that mean you can’t support her as a person?

    Frankly, I’m glad that Amy is a stay at home mother bc she uses her time for a greater cause than just cleaning the house and chging diaps. I wish there were more moms out there standing up for what they believe in ….better yet, I wish there were more of us defining what we believe in instead of going with the flow. I am sure that you will say that you don’t have the time bc you are a working mother and that’s fine but that is your choice. Amy and her dh cut out a lot of “extras” so Amy can stay home w/ Ava bc she feels it’s important for Ava. I’m glad that she is able to do that bc she *wants* to and bc she is able to make the most out of being a SAHM.

    Thank you Amy for your passion, dedication to making the world a better place for our kids and your willingness and ability to put it out there. I appreciate that you take the time to do the research to share, to find the ways to take a stand bc I can’t devote that time to do that particular research. I’m busy trying to change the birthing world. :) One baby and one family at a time. In a way JMS is right, you won’t change everyone (that’s clear from your blog) but you can sure make a huge dent (and that’s also clear from your blog)!! I admire you also and am glad that I know you. :) Keep on trying to change the world…I use the following quote for my doula services and think it also applies here…now…. “A great flame follows a little spark” -Dante….you are the little spark and a flame will surely grow. :) Love ya!

  11. I DO support Amy to an extent. I HAVE told her in the past that I think she is doing a fantastic job raising Ava and protecting her from the “bad” things in the world.

    I truly don’t think that the world will change. That may be close-minded of me, but I am being REALISTIC here. I’m not saying she should abandon what she believes in. The point of Amy’s blog is to help people see things in a different light, which she does very well. But it just seems to me that the people with different views than Amy, also get attacked for putting their opinions out there. We are all entitled to a voice and I do not believe I was being intentionally mean. If there is something I don’t agree with or see differently, I’m going to say something. I’m just trying to play the devils advocate and put another point of view out there.

    I am proud to say that I am a full-time working mom. If you think raising kids in today’s society is hard when you are a stay at home mom, try working full-time. It is 500x harder. I admire moms who can stay home, I’m not one of those people though. We need two incomes and believe me…we do sacrifice a lot to try to make ends meet. Of course everyone “wants” to be a stay at home mom, but a majority of the time, it just isn’t feasible for most families. Especially where the cost of living is higher. If we lived in South Carolina, or some place else, we could get a lot more for our money and staying home or working part-time could be an option.

    Anyway, I could go on for days about issues, but I will reiterate again…I believe that Amy is doing what is right for AVA and I know she is doing the best she can for her and she does an awesome job, but the way she writes her blog, and I KNOW THIS IS HER BLOG AND IT IS HER RIGHT TO WRITE WHATEVER SHE WANTS WITHOUT ANY REGARD FOR WHO READS IT, I GET THAT, but for someone like me and some others who read who are on the complete other side of the fence on most of her issues, some of these things are hard to swallow. That’s all I’m saying. I would like to think that the people “on the other side” can voice their opinions too, without all of this slamming. That is truly not my intention, I’m just trying to understand the thought behind all of this.

    For the record, I would like to apologize to anyone I have offended. It is not my intent. But I am very opinionated and I like being able to voice my thoughts too.

  12. JMS, I’m glad that you aren’t being mean and aren’t trying to “slam” Amy. I guess it’s just hard to see where your support comes in bc it appears that you only post when you have a negative comment on something she says. There have been plenty of good topics on her blog that aren’t “controversial” but I never read anything from you or the “others” that says “way to go!”. I guess I just feel bad for Amy because it seems like she is really passionate abt certain things and would just like some encouragement once in a while. I think we can all be encouraging to people even though we don’t neccessarily believe the cause they have. I personally think a mom should be home w/ her kids but I wouldn’t slam you or try to convince you that you are wrong bc it’s something you feel you need to do for your family. I have a friend that is getting married next year and I’m sure she will work when she has kids bc she receives fulfilliment from her job. I would never make her feel bad but I would leave it up to her not to feel like I’m slamming her just bc I take the stance I do abt it.

    Anyway, now I’m rambling. Again, I appreciate that you aren’t trying to slam Amy but maybe you could just show some encourgement on topics that you don’t disagree with so much. :)

  13. Tanya, Chrissy and Brandy,

    Thank you all for your support and for understanding that there is a larger picture here. Sure, I want to make Ava’s world the best I can, but I believe her world goes beyond the walls of our home, the limits of our city, the borders of our country, etc. I also believe in standing up for children in the world who don’t have a voice or who no longer have parents to protect them.

    I will keep on writing my letters to the HBOs and Targets of the world when I disagree with the product they are selling. I will keep on writing my letters to “The View” when I disagree with Barbara Walters’ negative statements about women breastfeeding in public. I will keep sending letters to Secretary Condoleezza Rice to reduce U.S. military spending and increase funding for child survival programs. I will keep on writing my letters and signing petitions to make our world a safer place for our children.

    My one letter might not make a difference, but I know there are many people out there who feel the same way I do, and it is our collective effort that will bring about change. :)

    ——-
    “We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.” — Sonia Johnson

  14. Well if everyone thought ‘My voice won’t change anything, I should say nothing’ then the 10,000 signature petition for change would be empty (any ol’ petition, not one in particular.) I’m proud of you for standing up for what you believe in, regardless of any voice of dissent that says you’re wasting your time. If you change one life, isn’t that a victory?

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