Tag Archives: kids movies

Does media grow healthy kids?

The first annual Kids and Media conference Beyond Primetime kicks off today in New York. Sponsored by the excellent web resource CommonSenseMedia.org, I hope to see a lot of discussion floating around the media and the blogsphere about kids and the media as a result of this conference.

Unlike other events of this type, this one seems a tad different in that the discussion of kids and media use is framed by the context of media use being a public health issue, rather than a social or moral issue. That’s not to say that health is not a social or moral issue, but it’s refreshing to see the context of healthy kids being used to frame the issue of media consumption by kids.

It’s not hard to see the correlation between increased media consumption and health problems in kids. In Canada, rates of childhood obesity have almost tripled over the past 20 years.

The correlation goes beyond speculation that there might be links between media consumption and health. There are direct links. Children who watch more than five hours of TV per day are four-and-a-half times more likely to become overweight than those who watch two hours or less, and kids who watch more than two hours of television a day are more likely to smoke and have high cholesterol.

Which is why conferences like this one are important.

The speaker list is an impressive who’s who list of academics, CEO’s and NGO’s covering all aspects of the media landscape. If you happen to live in New York, you might be interested in checking this conference out.

I Thought I Was A Dedicated Dad…

I thought I was a pretty dedicated Dad – that is, until I watched March of the Penguins (Widescreen Edition) last night. Emperor Penguin Dad’s are the true definition of dedication, delicately balancing their precious eggs on their feet to keep them off the ice covered ground (a penguin egg will freeze in seconds if it touches the ground) while covering them to protect them from the cold. They endure temperatures approaching -62 °C (-80 °F), and their only source of water is snow that falls around them. By the time the females return from feeding, male penguins have lost half their weight and have not eaten for four months. Man, I go 4 hours without eating and I’m a wreck.

This is the first full length feature we have watched with The Girl (now 2 1/2) and I was surprised how well it held her interest, considering it is not animated and it is quite slow (yet beautifully filmed). She didn’t make it through the whole film – her attention waning after 45 minutes or so – but it was still nice to see that something like a nature film can capture her attention.

The only thing that marred the viewing was the previews on the DVD, which (thank goodness) we were able to fast forward through relatively quickly. I mean, I know studios need to promote their upcoming movies, but the decision to include previews for Nouvelle-France that consisted of numerous battle & suggestive sex scenes, and some movie about capital punishment that consisted of a man being forcibly strapped to a table in preparation for lethal injection seems like a bad idea. Certainly the studio must realize that this is a film that families will be watching – it’s too bad the previews didn’t reflect this.

Speling is Kule!

Is it just me, or has spelling become cool? Our local newspaper has been following the progress of a local girl competing in the Canadian national spelling bee. The journey of the girl has been front page news, competing side by side for newspaper space with our local junior hockey team’s playoff run.

Perhaps it all started with Spellbound, a fabulous documentary that followed the journey of 8 kids to the U.S. national Spelling Bee. And it looks like the spelling bee may be getting another mass media shot in the arm with the upcoming release of Akeelah and the Bee, a big budget feature starring Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishbourne .

Whatever the reason for the spelling bees rise to pop culture prominence, I can’t help but think it’s a great thing when brainiacs get a chance to be cool and have movies made about them. Certainly beats some of the dreck role models (like, oh say Bratz, who used to have a tagline which said “Don’t theorize, accessorize”?) that kids seem to have.