Parents often consider Disney movies safe for their young children and many of these films are, compared to many other films targeted to kids. But research has found that Disney princess movies might have some negative effects. The study looked at almost 200 preschoolers and found “96 percent of girls and 87 percent of boys had viewed Disney Princess media.” 61% of girls and only 4% of boys played with princess toys at least once a week.
“For both boys and girls, more interactions with the princesses predicted more female gender-stereotypical behavior a year later.” Girls who adhere to female gender stereotypes are “not as confident that they can do well in math and science” and they experiment less because they don’t want to get dirty. For boys it was found that those who watched Disney princess movies were more helpful to others and had better body esteem. It seemed to “provide a needed counterbalance to the hyper-masculine superhero media that’s traditionally presented to boys.”
Disney princesses are usually the first exposure 3 and 4 year olds get to the idea of thin being beautiful. It was found that girls with poorer body esteem engaged with more Disney Princesses throughout the years, because they seemed to be “seeking out role models of what they consider to be beautiful.”
Parents can’t completely avoid the Disney princess culture, so what can they do?
- Parents can foster children’s interests in a variety of activities. “Moderation in all things” is usually best.
- Parents can also take the time to talk to their children about the movies they watch. They can discuss the positives and negatives of Disney princess media at an age appropriate level.
For more information see: https://news.byu.edu/news/disney-princesses-not-brave-enough
Image from: https://rosebfischer.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/disney-princess-kida-disney-princess-30168400-2560-1117.jpg
Television, videos, computer games, and tablets can offer all sorts of stimulating activities for our children. When these products first hit the market, I was thrilled. The activities were fun and educational. It wasn’t like I was plopping my toddler in front of the television to watch some mindless drivel. But I quickly realized that every child I saw watching and playing with educational programs or software seemed to be addicted, to easily have tantrums when pried away from the videos and games, and to have really short attention spans. I began to wonder if it really is a great idea for my children to use these electronic devices.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one concerned. Multiple studies have been done examining this issue and according to Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, watching television “rewires” an infant’s brain. He says, “In contrast to the way real life unfolds and is experienced by young children, the pace of TV is greatly sped up. Quick scene shifts of video images become ‘normal,’ to a baby when in fact, it’s decidedly not normal or natural…Exposing a baby’s developing brain to videos may overstimulate it, causing permanent changes in developing neural pathways.” The result appears to be an increase in children with ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In the study of more than 2,000 children, Christakis found that a toddler watching three hours of infant television daily had nearly a 30 percent higher chance of having attention problems in school.
The solution? Go back to basics. Turn off the electronics, or at least limit them. If you really need a break, find a friend with children and trade off some babysitting time. Read to your children. And let them play with traditional non-electronic toys – like pot lids and spoons!
Christakis, D. A. (2009). The effects of infant media usage: what do we know and what should we learn?. Acta Paediatrica, 98(1), 8-16.
Marriage is important for more reasons than you may think. “Why Marriage Matters” is a book that highlights 30 conclusions from social sciences that proclaim the importance of marriage. They have compiled the 30 reasons into 5 domains. Here is a list of the 30 findings.
- Marriage increases the likelihood that fathers and mothers have good relationships with their children.
- Children are most likely to enjoy family stability when they are born into a married family.
- Children are less likely to thrive in complex households.
- Cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage.
- Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children will themselves divorce or become unwed parents.
- Marriage is a virtually universal human institution.
- Marriage, and a normative commitment to marriage, foster high-quality relationships between adults, as well as between parents and children.
- Marriage has important biosocial consequences for adults and children.
- Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase poverty for both children and mothers, and cohabitation is less likely to alleviate poverty than is marriage.
- Married couples seem to build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples.
- Marriage reduces poverty and material hardship for disadvantaged women and their children.
- Minorities also benefit economically from marriage.
- Married men earn more money than do single men with similar education and job histories.
- Parental divorce (or failure to marry) appears to increase children’s risk of school failure.
- Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college and achieve high-status jobs.
Physical Health and Longevity
- Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms.
- Parental marriage is associated with a sharply lower risk of infant mortality.
- Marriage is associated with reduced rates of alcohol and substance abuse for both adults and teens.
- Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than do otherwise similar singles.
- Marriage is associated with better health and lower rates of injury, illness, and disability for both men and women.
- Marriage seems to be associated with better health among minorities and the poor.
Mental Health and Emotional Well-being
- Children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological distress and mental illness.
- Cohabitation is associated with higher levels of psychological problems among children.
- Family breakdown appears to increase significantly the risk of suicide.
- Married mothers have lower rates of depression than do single or cohabiting mothers.
Crime and Domestic Violence
- Boys raised in non-intact families are more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior.
- Marriage appears to reduce the risk that adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime.
- Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women.
- A child who is not living with his or her own two married parents is at greater risk of child abuse.
- There is a growing marriage gap between college-educated Americans and less educated Americans.
For more information see these websites.