Two television commercials of late promote that it is better for our youth to stay glued to their video games, TV programs and toys, all of which encourage them to stay indoors and shun the outside.
First is an ad for the national toy retail giant Toys R Us. It features kids on a bus with what looks like a park ranger at the front. He is telling them they are about to go into the woods to explore the wilderness, learn about nature and spend time in the great outdoors.
The children seem uninterested. In fact, some are rolling their eyes while others are dozing off to sleep.
Then, the guy said he was really taking them to the toy store. At that revelation, the kids are ecstatic and cheering.
Message – outdoors boring. Toys exciting.
Second is a commercial for a television service that allows viewers to watch TV anywhere. A boy says he can watch his favorite shows “here” and “here” while being shown camping and doing other outdoor activities.
Message – it takes the boob tube to make going outside entertaining.
These are both unfortunate. At time when this nation is battling childhood obesity and a generation that would rather give up their sense of hearing than their electronic devices, we as a society should be urging our young people to get off the phone and off the couch.
Just like the fast food and beverage industries that blast us with messages about the convenience and joys of eating junk food, these messages are harmful to the effort to foster healthier lifestyles.