Hacker News

bargl said 10 days ago:

Worth. Every. Penny.

I went to my parents house with my son. He was 4. They turned on cartoons. Then he said, "Dad why'd you change the show? I don't want to watch this." It was a commercial. I had to explain commercials to my son. It was at that moment I realized how much of my tv watching as a kid was commercials.

anoncow said 10 days ago:

After subscribing to YouTube Premium, I had a similar revelation. Now if only we could have a google ad-free subscription which would turn off all google search and display network ads, our lives would be so much better! What if we could have cities outlaw advertising on billboards and instead collect a small tax to make up for the lost revenue, how much would our quality of life increase? That makes me wonder, if we could ever get to such an utopia, what avenues would advertisers have left to sell products to us?

vincnetas said 10 days ago:

São Paulo is the city without outdoor advertisements.

Random link: https://99percentinvisible.org/article/clean-city-law-secret...

jakecopp said 10 days ago:

Canberra, Australia has a ban on billboards, with the exception of the airport.


warent said 10 days ago:

That link is awesome and could be its own HN submission altogether

richjdsmith said 10 days ago:

Submit it. I wholeheartedly agree!

DavidSJ said 10 days ago:

It looks almost like a bunch of trash was cleaned up off the streets.

HNLurker2 said 10 days ago:

Advertising just works. Don't doubt it on consumers: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays

cwkoss said 10 days ago:

Inoculate yourself and others from the effects of advertising by saying something negative about the brand whenever you see the ad.

Ex. I saw a Mazda ad. "Mazdas are the perfect car for when you want to look like a complete idiot while burning to death in your poorly manufactured deathtrap."

collyw said 10 days ago:

Or live in a country where you don't speak the language well.

On a side note whenever I am in an airport in the states its amazing how much NLP (neuro linguistic programming) you guys are bombarded by.

scottlocklin said 10 days ago:

Could you use a concrete example? US airports are creepy as hell, especially places like Atlanta that have constant CNN blaring like the telescreen in 1984, and of course there is much disgusting advertising, but I never noticed any overt "NLP."

collyw said 9 days ago:

Shit loads of advertising and "serving those who serve you" - referring to mil arty veterans in one airport. But i guess that's the point in NLP, you arebn't supposed to notice it. It was only after reading some books on it that I noticed it as often.

scottlocklin said 8 days ago:

Thanks, I suppose now that you mention it that is a bit creepy and Orwellian. Generally speaking, American airports are the most totalitarian and creepy and uncomfortable in the world. The telescreen blaring, the insane security line, the ads ... stuff like the insane murals in the Denver airport -I'll add that to my list of bloody awful things American flyers put up with.

effingwewt said 10 days ago:

I find I do this automatically now. Whenever I see an ad the only thing I remember is not to buy whatever they are selling. For shows, I won't watch them. I even cancelled Netflix over their automatic trailers playing. Hulu is next with their unskippable commercials even on the 'ad free' plan

HNLurker2 said 10 days ago:

Off topic: >. I even cancelled Netflix over their automatic trailers playing.

But what shows do you enjoy on Netflix if you still cling to them (bad experience)?

said 10 days ago:
DavidSJ said 10 days ago:

Does anyone doubt it?

baddox said 10 days ago:

Seems odd to also remove what appear to be signs for retail businesses on the walls of the business itself, but maybe I’m interpreting the before and after images incorrectly.

emp_ said 10 days ago:

Those are allowed but have limited dimensions, doesn't matter the size of your storefront you can only have a logo of a certain size, lots of loopholes like the McDonald's M or putting huge logos inside a glass wall but in general it is followed.

a-saleh said 10 days ago:

I think those were regulated to be smaller? You can see a "SUPER OASIS" (?) sign shrunk from door-size to half-a-window size :)

overthemoon said 10 days ago:

These photos are unreal, thanks for sharing.

anoncow said 10 days ago:

The article has a line about how local art got a boost. Did many artists never get a chance just because our collective minds were preoccupied with product advertising? Is the presence of advertising an important distinguishing factor when we compare the current age to the Renaissance period?

HeavyStorm said 10 days ago:

Beat me to it.

Just a thing - São Paulo was the city without ads. Now, state owned boards abound in the city. But it's still much better than any other city I've ever seen in the world.

mc32 said 10 days ago:

Imagine what Tokyo would look like if they instituted this law. In some ways, it would cease to be Tokyo and become an “Edo”

PunchTornado said 10 days ago:

nice, but it would be better to remove the poles too

dimensi0nal said 10 days ago:
eswat said 10 days ago:

I actually forgot YouTube had ads until someone showed me a video on their laptop this past weekend. Was painful to watch them try to dismiss it.

sbr464 said 10 days ago:

In addition to blocking ads, I used Adblock to remove the html for the recommended videos panel that shows up to the right or underneath a playing video. I’ve definitely noticed a personal reduction in wormhole clicking YouTube usage.

vonseel said 10 days ago:

I find uBlock works well at blocking YouTube ads but occasionally I get a static screen in the video player that says something like “Service not available at the moment.”. YT seems to be intermittently blocking UBO users.

gorhill said 9 days ago:

This also affects other blockers.[1][2]

I never reproduced such issue on my side, so unfortunately there is no way for me to investigate -- given that this affects different blockers with different code base, I suspect a filter issue.

* * *

[1] https://venturebeat.com/2016/03/13/youtube-shows-adblock-plu...

[2] https://help.getadblock.com/support/solutions/articles/60001...

baud147258 said 10 days ago:

I've seen such errors, on Chrome with UBlock, but I don't know if it's coming from Ublock or from my network connection.

yzssi said 10 days ago:

I use ubo and I've never, ever had that happen to me. My two cents.

vonseel said 10 days ago:

Disabling it temporarily always fixes the problem, so I have assumed it is due to UBO blocking something which if YT sees has been blocked enough times for a specific visitor, they will prevent video from loading, but maybe my hypothesis is incorrect. This only happens when I’m watching a lot of YouTube videos one after the other.

Shank said 10 days ago:

I seem to recall that if you disable uBlock on a site, you have to reload for the change to take effect. Is it possible that the page reload and not disabling uBlock is doing it?

said 10 days ago:
lostmsu said 10 days ago:

Anything for FireTV? I tried DNS blocking, but that did not affect YouTube there (it runs on FF, which does not support add-ons on Fire OS).

switchbak said 10 days ago:

This reminded me of Elysium: but instead of the rich being the only ones able to receive quality health care, here they are the only ones able to afford a reprieve from these mind numbing ads.

I would love to be able to eliminate all ads in my life. At the same time, doesn't this feel a little like the advertisers are extorting us for some $$? Lest they jam more ads down your throat.

luma said 10 days ago:

This Banksy quote feels apropos:

> People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you're not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It's yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don't owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don't even start asking for theirs.

Fnoord said 10 days ago:

AFAIK here in NL they did ask for permission, from the government. The government happily gives these even though they make our roads less safe. Meanwhile, people who use a (smart)phone whilst driving get a fine. Why do the billboards remain on the road? Why are there electronic billboards in the bus? Why can't I enjoy the scenery, or read my book instead?

ReidZB said 10 days ago:

I've eliminated all virtual ads in my life, at least, and I typically ignore in-person ads subconsciously. I don't have a cable subscription, I pay for every platform/tool I use, etc. I also run an ad blocker, though I try to be careful about making sure I'm paying for something that's valuable to me.

I don't really feel extorted. These things are usually services provided to me, services that probably would not exist without revenue, whether by ads or subscriptions.

I will say this: there are times where I feel somewhat disconnected as a result, especially when it comes to entertainment. Like, I saw Avengers: Endgame without having seen Captain Marvel first... because I didn't know Captain Marvel was being released. It didn't show up on any of my social media, I guess, or I missed it if it did.

Similarly, I've missed new seasons of shows I cared about. No political ads - sometimes people refer to local ads in casual conversation and I'm mostly lost. Stuff like that.

It's sort of eye-opening to realize how much information is disseminated via ads/media. I mean, it's obvious in retrospect, right? But to experience it, well, it's something.

namanyayg said 10 days ago:

I quit most social media a few months ago and have always blocked ads the best I could, and I completely agree. A sense of alienation is felt.

What's more, is that I "realize" that none of the things I was missing really matter. I do not care, at all, that I missed Captain marvel. Nor that I missed my favourite TV show -- I can always watch it later, if I really want to.

Seeing other people then care about such trivialities is a novel experience too.

Nowadays, the source of most of my pop culture current events is my SO. She applies her own hereustics, and (mostly) genuinelyy interesting pieces of info are what pass through her to me. She's getting it via top Instagram/Facebook/YouTube posts anyway. I find this system much better than the earlier one.

jedrek said 10 days ago:

Ah, yes, nothing like a woman doing unpaid labor so her man doesn't have to be inconvenienced in any way.

dang said 10 days ago:

That's a personal attack and also breaks this guideline: "Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."

Could you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and take the spirit of this site more to heart? This comment and the two or three previous ones you posted have been breaking it.

jedrek said 7 days ago:


la_barba said 10 days ago:

> At the same time, doesn't this feel a little like the advertisers are extorting us for some $$? Lest they jam more ads down your throat.

They wouldn't have succeeded in this extortion (online) if it wasn't for companies with billions of dollars hiring the smartest people in the world to enable advertisers to spy on people en-masse.

dorgo said 10 days ago:

Rest assured that advertisement works with and without spying. Spying just improves efficiency somewhat.

treypitt said 10 days ago:

To supply a supporting anecdote: as a cis male, I'm consistently served ads for female-products like tampons on Instagram, presumably one of the "smartest" spies out there

ahje said 10 days ago:

Same here, except it's for women's clothes...

germinalphrase said 10 days ago:

If AR becomes a reality, this will become all the more acute. Public advertising is currently limited by physical boundaries. Hyperreality [0] sets a clear vision for one possible future.

[0] https://vimeo.com/166807261?ref=em-share

eswat said 10 days ago:

When the GP mentioned Elysium I was also reminded of the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie with the AR ads similar to this video.

michaelchisari said 10 days ago:

Someone has to pay for these services. Either we pay for them or advertisers do.

jeena said 10 days ago:

It's not like advertisers pay for the services from their own money. They 'basically' force you to buy the stuff which they advertise and take that money to pay the service.

antepodius said 10 days ago:

Get an adblocker!

eswat said 10 days ago:

Works for your devices. Doesn’t work for the outside world.

dorgo said 10 days ago:

It took me years to train my brain to not read outdoor advertisement. I can't stop it from seeing/interpreting images, but I can successfully ignore text/letters which are less than a meter in size.

HNLurker2 said 10 days ago:

Can't get one on chrome mobile. I know know...

ulucs said 10 days ago:

Mobile Firefox has (almost?) full add-on parity with the desktop version. I don't know what I'd do without uBlock0 everywhere

Fnoord said 10 days ago:

Yes, you can. You can use a different browser such as Mozilla Firefox, or use DNS-based blocking such as Pi-Hole. I use both of these, and use WireGuard to reach my Pi-Hole. If I have a network connection, I have an adblocker.

HNLurker2 said 10 days ago:

>You can use a different browser such as Mozilla

I just really like Google fast search by selecting. Can't live without it.

Fnoord said 10 days ago:

Sounds like a horrible feature. Selecting data makes you Google it? What if you copy/paste a password. Vimium does it right for me, but requires physical keyboard.

HNLurker2 said 10 days ago:

It's that thing on mobile that we have: instant search.

Fnoord said 10 days ago:

Selecting text in my world is either copying text, or selecting text. Not searching for that text on a search engine. That shouldn't be the default (most common) keybind.

Anyway, you can still use DNS-based (with or without VPN) filtering.

Hermandw said 10 days ago:

You can get ad free mobile browsers like Ghostery browser.

yogenpro said 10 days ago:

There is "Google Contributor" [1].

The idea is basically that you pay the publisher out of your own pocket for their ad space, to buy your own impression. This might be a great product if it covers the majority of ad inventories...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Contributor

captn3m0 said 10 days ago:

Bangalore blocked all billboards recently. Different reasons, but similar effect.

It is like the whole city is on Adblock.

Scottopherson said 10 days ago:

I've been enjoying YouTube Red/Premium for about a year and a half but I'm kind of considering cancelling it to go back to using an adblocker for YouTube's embedded ads and supporting specific creators via Patreon or something. The majority of the channels I watch embed their own ad-reads into their videos now so the ad-free value proposition for Premium is getting much weaker for me.

jeena said 10 days ago:

I was considering it too and I don't understand why Google doesn't force the creators to mark up when the ads start and end so it could just jump over them for people who pay YouTube Premium to specifically get rid of ads. People like us will stop paying go with a adblocker.

mguerville said 10 days ago:

I just cancelled mine and let me tell you, the added 10 to 30 seconds of ads before the video starts are already bugging me a lot.

antepodius said 10 days ago:

Is there any particular reason you're not using an adblocker?

jeromegv said 10 days ago:

If you watch lots of Youtube with the iPad/iPhone apps, there wouldn't be any adblocker for that.

SHAKEDECADE said 9 days ago:

adblock for IOS can block all types of stuff. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adblock/id691121579 They also make an app called webblock which nice but less powerful.

noir_lord said 10 days ago:

Adguard works if you watch in Safari.

reificator said 10 days ago:

I cancelled my Google Play Music family subscription (of which I was the only user at that point) and then signed up for a normal subscription. Didn't realize doing so lost my bundled Youtube Red subscription in the process. Started getting midroll ads on YouTube on my phone and couldn't figure out why...

greyfox said 10 days ago:

you might look into using youtube vanced

noir_lord said 10 days ago:

NewPipe is awesome as well (and you can download) and since it pretends to be a browser its got some neat features, it's in the FDroid store.

Kiro said 10 days ago:

As someone who only uses YouTube for music I'm glad that embedded ads are not a thing for music channels. YouTube Premium is worth a thousand times more than any Spotify subscription.

pickdenis said 10 days ago:

> what avenues would advertisers have left to sell products to us?

My serious guess would be even more paid shills. It's amazing how much more weight a message can have when it comes from someone that's not obviously tied to the company.

switchbak said 10 days ago:

My skepticism level is now of epic proportions when I see someone recommending products online. Louis Rossmann is one notable exception, but far too rare.

These days I usually just type "reviews for XXX reddit", but even that isn't a sure thing anymore.

pault said 10 days ago:

Just one of the many things SEO has ruined. Searching "x reviews" for any x is completely worthless at best, actively hostile at worst.

layoutIfNeeded said 10 days ago:

The trick is to look for negative reviews first.

rchaud said 10 days ago:

Yup, I do the "[search query] + reddit" in my searches as well. Just including the phrase on its own brings up a ton of garbage sites with reviews written by content marketing people for SEO purposes as opposed a 3-4 line Reddit comment.

crazypyro said 10 days ago:

I use reddit for all kinds of suggestions. It's definitely getting harder and it also helps to be in the target demographic of reddit.

aiilnns said 9 days ago:

> What if we could have cities outlaw advertising on billboards and instead collect a small tax to make up for the lost revenue

To me there is something seriously wrong with this way of thought. Why would we collect a small tax to make up for businesses' lost profit? It sounds, to me, downright bizarre, like saying forcing factories to be more environmentally friendly would cost money to the business and cut profits so we should take that money from the taxpayers. Wow.

thomasahle said 10 days ago:

> if we could have cities outlaw advertising on billboards and instead collect a small tax to make up for the lost revenue, how much would our quality of life increase?

Ideally decisions would instead be made based on unbiased reviews and rational decision making.

Hopefully the lack of advertising would relieve us from unconscious decision fatigue and free up our energy for other parts of life.

dwiel said 10 days ago:

We have a ban on billboards in our town in Indiana of all places, its definitely possible. It is nice as well, I always forget how annoying they are until I travel to other cities.

btbuildem said 10 days ago:

I think it would create a sort of a monopoly -- the municipal taxes paying the ad-free tithe. I imagine corruption and backroom deals would result in that cost going up and up over time.

A better solution would be to outlaw ads / billboards, and ticket the offenders to offset the lost income from billboards etc. Municipalities love new revenue streams.

FiatLuxDave said 10 days ago:

Instead of banning a particular avenue of advertising, which moves the advertising spend to somewhere else, why not have a broad-based tax on advertising spending?

We've seen how ineffective things like banning advertising to children were on reducing smoking, while raising taxes on cigarettes was quite effective at reducing smoking levels. And some advertising is useful. I don't need no advertising in my life, I just need less of it. Taxes would reduce the "arm's race" effect where companies need to advertise because their competitors are advertising. I suspect that the quality of advertising would go up if it were more expensive, as well.

Perhaps at some point in the future, we will have too little advertising and there will need to be a debate on how we should reduce the advertising tax. I long for this day.

ACow_Adonis said 10 days ago:

But smoking rates have been dropping, and the tobacco companies certainly put up a huge fight here in Aus when we tried to enforce plain packaging on cigarettes, so they're spending an awful lot of resources on fighting something that 'doesn't work'...(hint: it does)

ducttape12 said 10 days ago:

If you're not a fan of blocking ads, DuckDuckGo let's you disable ads in their search results.

dorgo said 10 days ago:

what is the difference between blocking and disabling? The result is the same, right?

ducttape12 said 8 days ago:

Yes, just without the guilt (since this means DDG is clearly okay with not making ad revenue off me)

heavymark said 10 days ago:

That world exists with ad blockers. Was viewing a friend's computer who didn't have an ad blocker installed and almost forgot what it had been like to see ads plastered everywhere online.

dorgo said 10 days ago:

> what avenues would advertisers have left to sell products to us?

Maybe pay me some money for my attention? In exchange you get all the data from me: how much money I spend on X. How often I do Y. Whatever helps you sell your product to me. If you succeed and I like your ad or buy your product, the ad is for free. Otherwise you pay me some €/$/coins.

scarface74 said 10 days ago:

Ad blockers effectively block Google ads on desktops and iOS - including third party apps like Feedly that use the SafariViewController.

dnc204 said 10 days ago:

Tax for making up not getting ads pushed down our throats? That is silly :) I shall not feel any sort of pity towards the companies whose ads I refuse to consume on a constant basis. If they go bankrupt because I have uBlock of something similar set up (if such thing was possible), then good riddance.

tibyat said 10 days ago:

why be a tool who pays google for what we had for free just a few years ago? use an adblocker.

lmkg said 10 days ago:

To be fair, my favorite show growing up was Transformers. So technically even the show itself was a commercial.

TallGuyShort said 10 days ago:

Transformers is great advertising - it delivered good entertainment value, it made the toys more fun to play with because your imagination had already seen a bunch of Transformers stories play out.

Contrast this with cable TV ads if you haven't watched cable TV in a while. Annoying, gimmicky, manipulative.

I don't have a problem with commercials on principle - I have a problem with how they're implemented. Banner ads on website that give me good content for free? Great! Informing me there are hot MILFs in my area while I'm pair-programming with my boss? No thanks.

mgkimsal said 10 days ago:

I'm always reminded of the Mattel and Mars Bar quick Energy Chocobot Hour whenever I think of Transformers...



bargl said 10 days ago:

I don't know how many PJ Masks toys and shirts I've bought based on that show.

The thing that got me as a kid was seeing all the cool food everyone else got that my parents wouldn't give me. I just wanted hot pockets in my house like they had. Kids will always want toys like the shows they like. But the other stuff isn't necessary.

cortesoft said 10 days ago:

Yeah, all my favorite shows from my childhood in the 80's were created to sell a toy.

said 10 days ago:
Insanity said 10 days ago:

That probably goes for a lot of shows for kids :)

smhenderson said 10 days ago:

I'd say if a kids show is not on public television it most likely is a commercial for a toy or a vehicle for a number of other ads for unrelated toys.

And even for me and my five year old, there is plenty of Danial Tiger gear out there to buy! The difference is they make and sell the toys but they don't advertise them during the show. It's not much but that subtle difference is what allows me to sit down and watch 30 - 60 minutes of these shows a few times a week with her.

As others have mentioned, even NetFlix "sells toys", just not overtly like network TV does. But just watching PJ Max, Trolls, etc. makes my five year old grand daughter want everything she sees when we go to any store that has these shows' stuff for sale.

Both of them are still better than numbing their minds with 8-12 minutes of intense, flashy commercials for every 30 minute show they watch though.

Fnoord said 10 days ago:

One of the reasons I got Netflix, and one of the reasons why I want to get rid of cable TV (I can't get internet without cable TV). However I am getting tired of the autoplay functions in Netflix. They. Are. Annoying.

Commercials for children are a cancer to society. They're a distraction and a waste of our precious time. Parents don't want it (they got enough on their hands as it is), children don't want it (it isn't content, they get manipulated).

While I will protect my children (and myself) from any commercials, its also good to teach them that not everything they notice is truth or can be achieved/bought.

Raphmedia said 10 days ago:

In Québec, the Consumer Protection Act prohibits commercial advertising directed at children under 13 years of age. One negative effect is that this has made it very hard for genuine educational companies to grow. It is hard to market a product that teach kids to code if you cannot show the product to kids.

chrisseaton said 10 days ago:

> It is hard to market a product that teach kids to code if you cannot show the product to kids.

You show it to their parents, don't you?

Raphmedia said 10 days ago:

You can but even then you risk not following the rules correctly.

> The Consumer Protection Act prohibits advertising that targets children. To determine whether advertising is directed at them, the Act stipulates that it is necessary to take into account the context of the advertisement’s presentation and the impression it gives.

> The Act also provides three criteria that correspond to the following questions:

> • For whom are the advertised goods or services intended? Do they appeal to children?

> • Is the advertisement designed to attract the attention of children?

> • Are children targeted by the advertisement or exposed to it? Are they present at the time and place it appears or is broadcast?


> Goods or services essentially intended for children and that therefore appeal to them. Ex.: certain video games, toys or candy primarily consumed by children.

> The ad must not:

> • be designed in a way that appeals to children;

> • be broadcast or distributed in a place where or at a time when children are normally reached.


> The fact that an advertisement or advertising method appears to target adults does not mean that the advertisement is intended exclusively for them. Following an analysis of the two other criteria, an advertisement that attracts the attention of children can still be considered as advertising directed at children even though it seems to target adults because of its verbal or written content. That may be the case if the product advertised appeals to children.

- https://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/fileadmin/media/documents/consomm...

bunderbunder said 10 days ago:

Sounds like, ironically enough, this might be about the only ad that's safe to run:


chrisseaton said 10 days ago:

So you could advertise a coding educational product during commercials of a late-night talk show, that talk about the educational benefits of the product?

rchaud said 10 days ago:

"Educational companies" is a narrow enough industry where advertising to the appropriate market segments while excluding children is entirely possible. If you sell educational products, you wouldn't be advertising on a kid's cartoon show, you'd be doing it on channels where adults with wallets would convene.

Teacher's unions publications/newsletters would be a no-brainer, as would popular blogs or Youtube channels focused on child-rearing.

sitkack said 10 days ago:

I came to say something similar. My child gets irate when she sees an ad, esp when she plays a free to play game on the iphone and I forget to put the phone in airplane mode.

her: "Dad, what is this? I want to play my game"

me: "Oh sorry, that is an ad, let me fix this."

her: "I hate ads!"

She is basically the same with trailers.

brixon said 10 days ago:

Granted, my son now wants toys based on this "new" show he was watching and is sad to find out that toys for this are no longer made and the only ones that exist are collectibles.

legohead said 10 days ago:

Brand marketing towards children is a real and effective thing. There was a study done on wrapping basic food (carrots/apples) in McDonalds branding and kids said it tasted better [1]. Always seemed scary to me.

Glad my kids don't have the same amount of brainwashing as I did. However, we have our own generational problems to deal with, like YouTube "merch" begging, clickbaiting, etc. Now that I think about it, maybe I'd rather they'd see TV adverts...

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/news/kids-think-food-in-mcdonald-s-wrappe...

saluki said 10 days ago:

Same my son grew up on Netflix, we were watching the Super Bowl on OTA tv when he was 5 and he asked the same thing, what's this? Oh that's a commercial.

He also picked up that when we search a toy on amazon, afterward there would be an ad on the side of YouTube for the same toy, he pointed and asked how they did that. This was around the same time, he was 5 or 6.

mcv said 10 days ago:

When I was a kid, our evening TV was always Sesame Street -> Klokhuis (a pop-sci-ish program for kids) -> Jeugdjournaal (news presented in an accessible way for kids), and after that it's my dad's turn to watch the real news at 8.

All those shows still exist, and recently we did that again, and we were all baffled by how much commercials we had to watch. Dutch public TV has commercials, and that's looking increasingly odd now that we're all so used to Netflix. My son was calling to skip it, but we couldn't.

sdegutis said 10 days ago:

Why not go further and get rid of TV? The problems it creates seem to greatly outweigh any little benefits. And most of the benefits can be gotten with books anyway, which also has more benefits.

stlark said 10 days ago:

What about documentaries like Planet Earth? Would find it hard to believe that a book could replace that.

TV is fine in moderation.

sdegutis said 10 days ago:

I've never seen or heard of that documentary and probably neither have my kids, but we seem to get along just fine without it.

Also we don't have TV and less than a year ago got rid of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, our home internet connection, our mobile internet connections, and our landline telephone.

I find that now we read a lot more books and talk a lot more and explore the world around us more often and more actively. And we all like to share the exciting new things we learn about, them from school and us from reading at home. So there's no shortage of learning from lack of TV.

filoleg said 10 days ago:

Genuinely curious, how are you planning to handle the future in which your kids go to college and move out of your house? Do you feel like they will be adequately prepared to deal with the world that has internet, Netflix, smartphones, etc.? To me, this situation reminds of all those sheltered kids with overprotective parents, who went off the rails once they got to college, because they were not prepared to handle well all those new options they were "protected" from by their parents.

sdegutis said 10 days ago:

Right now is the time for us to teach them self-control and self-restraint, and we do that in little ways that get bigger over time. As all virtues, if you sharpen it against one thing, it'll be sharper for the next thing. Those devices will probably be one of those ways they can practice as they get old enough, but with supervision of course.

The idea is, if you give a kid a solid foundation for a happy life by the time they're a young adult, so that they have a formula and a recipe for a life that they feel completely satisfied with, they won't feel unfulfilled and like life is missing something when they become adults, which is the biggest motivator for people adopting bad habits, especially the bad habits of their peers. So that's my job. Give them a good, full life now, and teach them how to navigate life while making it good and full in wholesome and rewarding ways. Then trust them to make these decisions as adults. And guide them through it the whole time. My job won't end when they're 18 or 81. I'm always their father and role model and guide, til the day I die.

m463 said 10 days ago:

I think a lot of "shared experience" stuff in the network tv era included the ads. I still remember advertising songs and things like the big mac ingredients.

SiVal said 10 days ago:

"Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!" I hadn't thought of that one for decades. I could feel bad about not memorizing Shakespeare instead, but I also have MANY numerical constants in permastore from the same era, so I can't complain too much.

mcphage said 10 days ago:

I had that same experience with my daughter—it was Thanksgiving, so we put on the Macy's Day Parade 'cause hey, giant balloons. And then a commercial came on and she asked me to put the balloons back.

anpmat said 10 days ago:

Couldn't agree more, and when a lot of kids are doing that you can imagine how much of an effect it has on peer pressure and what is considered a cool toy to have.

mysterydip said 10 days ago:

Same thing with mine. Not being able to choose an episode or show, and being stuck with whatever the channel wanted to provide, was a foreign concept.

83457 said 10 days ago:

Did you tell this story years ago on hn? Someone did and I've mentioned it to a few people since. (although I guess it is a common situation)

jerf said 10 days ago:

Even just in my own personal life, I've heard similar stories from more than one person. I've also both heard and personally witnessed with my own kids them trying to manipulate the primary TV of the house like it's a touchscreen, so I'm sure that's a story that's independently happened many hundreds of thousands of times by now, if not millions.

(I don't have a cute story, though. They just tried it once, I told them it didn't work that way, please stop smearing the TV with your hands, and they stopped. No cute questions or comments about the TV being "broken".)

Angostura said 10 days ago:

I remember my kids similar confusion/annoyance when they first strayed from the BBC children's channels - CBeebies and CBBC

Circuits said 10 days ago:

Funny that they say it's saving kids all this time.. as if adults aren't the main consumers of Netflix media.

not_a_cop75 said 10 days ago:

Until it's not and they advertise anyway. Netflix has adopted the pay and advertise anyway model. The advertising in this case is the product you've already paid for, which is still annoying and bothersome. Apparently, they are trying to work off the success of AOL.

turk73 said 10 days ago:

I have had the same experience.

Also, some relative gave us some kids' VHS tapes and I still had a player so I figured why not? Well, let me tell you why not: Nobody has time for rewinding to take place and the low-quality video and audio is quaint, but it's dead tech. The VCR and all the tapes got recycled shortly thereafter.

lostlogin said 10 days ago:

> Nobody has time for rewinding

VHS could be stopped where you wanted to stop. Who hasn’t played the frustrating dance where streamed video buffers, plays some other part or jumps back to where you were. VHS rwd and ffw buttons just worked.

silversconfused said 10 days ago:

Really? We love our VCR. How else are you going to watch beauty and the beast without suffering through human again?

amelius said 10 days ago:

On the flip side, commercials can teach a kid to be patient, and that it can not always have instant/continuous gratification.

PascLeRasc said 10 days ago:

I agree with you, but I downvoted to build your character. You're welcome!

EpicEng said 10 days ago:

There are much better ways to teach that.

aqme28 said 10 days ago:

You could apply that same logic to pretty much any hardship that builds character. It's not a good argument.

MichaelDickens said 10 days ago:

If that's your goal, wouldn't it be better to just pause the TV every 10 minutes or so for a few minutes at a time? That would have the same effect in terms of delaying gratification, and it's strictly better because you're not exposing your child to commercials.

mobjack said 10 days ago:

Pausing the TV every 10 minutes is much harder as a parent on many different levels.

Commercials can teach kids about long term instant gratification when it comes to toys. If they want something they see on TV, then they can wait until their birthday/Christmas to get it and decide which ones they want most.

They can also learn that often toys on TV seem more fun than they are in real life. They can learn to be more skeptical when it comes to advertising through experience.

Commercials are not really the problem. It is spoiling kids and buying them something every time they demand it that causes issues.

ACow_Adonis said 10 days ago:

Can't the same be achieved just by limiting/ scheduling screen time?

(And a while host of other parental techniques incidentally)

pastor_elm said 10 days ago:

were the ads really all that bad though? I don't remember asking for much more than video games, board games, hungry hungry hippos, McDonalds, Sunny D, etc.

Kids today get crazy ads on Instagram and are asking for Supreme shirts, Yeezus shoes, Kylie Jenner makeup kits.

standardUser said 10 days ago:

Yes, they were that bad and were getting worse. By the late 90's, most ads directed at young children were reminiscent of a bad acid trip. Flashing lights and colors, non-stop quick-cuts and people literally screaming over and over for you, a child of 6 or 7 years, to BUY THE THING! YOU GOTTA HAVE IT! COLLECT THEM ALL!

It was absolutely terrifying and we should all be collectively ashamed for allowing it to persist and to happen in the first place.

Here's a random example I just found on YouTube (first 30 seconds): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXzR3-w3vEQ

whamlastxmas said 10 days ago:

Those don't look like ads from the 90s.

ssully said 10 days ago:

Ads like that suck, but I think you are pearl clutching a bit.

owlninja said 10 days ago:

My kids have literally zero disposable income. I'm not saying I enjoy ads or that we need more, but HN goes really over the top against advertising.

ceejayoz said 10 days ago:

> My kids have literally zero disposable income.

They can ask to use yours, though, which is what most kid-targeted advertising looks to cause.

owlninja said 10 days ago:

And you just say no?

ceejayoz said 10 days ago:

Sure, you can, but most parents don't say no every time, and that means sometimes asking's going to pay off.

Some of the "kidfluencer" content out there is clearly aimed at giving kids talking points to bring to their parents. Before we banned YouTube from the house a few years back, I had a couple experiences where my kids would come and give me canned marketing copy - "it's fun and educational for the whole family!" sort of nonsense - they'd clearly cribbed off a video.

One specific example of this I can remember: "EvanTube". Started off cute and relatively non-commercial, but turned into very clearly paid marketing. https://www.fastcompany.com/3045807/meet-the-father-son-team...

rpedela said 10 days ago:

Do you want them to constantly ask for useless junk or unhealthy junk (e.g. sugary cereal)? Throwing a tantrum when they don't get their way?

jolux said 10 days ago:

How are those ads worse? This feels completely arbitrary.

saghm said 10 days ago:

I think GP is saying that what they asked for as a kid was much more affordable

jolux said 10 days ago:

Sure? It’s still consumer capitalism?

pastor_elm said 10 days ago:

they are explicit ads for fun things, not some ambiguous influencer ad that makes your kid feel bad about themselves.

jolux said 10 days ago:

…sure, the ads make them seem fun. Maybe kids these days want special clothes instead of McDonald’s and Sunny D? (those things are good for what they are but not great in any objective sense. Neither are clothes, but that’s kind of my point.) Also from experience of my younger sibling and my cousins, those ads (and things) are mostly seen and desired by teenagers, which is morally questionable in different ways.

DanFeldman said 10 days ago:

Good riddance. The last time I watched TV with ads was for the superbowl, and even those nicely produced ads I found absolutely grating. There's no way I can go back to ads between tense moments in TV shows. It's like seeing the internet with an adblocker for the first time.

mrec said 10 days ago:

Similar thing here - the only time I now encounter video-ads-making-noise is at the cinema before a film, and it's becoming unpleasant enough there that I've largely stopped going to the cinema.

It's not (or not just) that they're getting worse, it's that once the familiarity wears off you can't help but see how psychologically damaging and hostile they are.

lone_haxx0r said 10 days ago:

> once the familiarity wears off you can't help but see how psychologically damaging and hostile they are.

Same thing happens to me with TV news. I used to watch them, but now, everytime someone else is watching, I can't help but see how much they manipulate the content to their convenience, and how much they blatantly lie.

airstrike said 10 days ago:

> Same thing happens to me with TV news. I used to watch them, but now, everytime someone else is watching, I can't help but see how much they manipulate the content to their convenience, and how much they blatantly lie.

This, one billion times. I don't care which network or show you watch, or which newspaper you read, they are all lying. They are all pushing an agenda very clearly.

I mostly make do with Bloomberg, WSJ and NPR. I can't even read the NY Times these days.

peatmoss said 9 days ago:

PBS Newshour.

Clarification: PBS Newshour is as much (national / international) news as you need in a day, and doesn’t sensationalize.

jon-wood said 10 days ago:

My brother works in a cinema so he can look up how long the ads and trailers before the film are for me, meaning I tend to turn up at the scheduled start time, buy some popcorn, and then walk in just as the trailers are wrapping up. It’s an excellent experience.

rkuykendall-com said 9 days ago:

See if you're near an Alamo Drafthouse. Their pre-roll is so good I'll try to show up early. For Endgame it was a summary of the MCU so far interspersed with old cartoons and stuff.

mrec said 9 days ago:

I'm in London, England, so probably not.

lotsofpulp said 10 days ago:

One solution is to stand outside the theater and go in after the movie starts. You can have someone message you when it’s starting or listen to when the advertisements finish.

Djvacto said 10 days ago:

I do this just because I don't like watching trailers for movies I know I'll watch already (especially since trailers spoil more of the movie than the internet does sometimes), but taking in some in-ear earbuds (esp if they have noise cancelling) and just not looking at the screen is great if you wanna be more covert in your oddities.

blobbers said 10 days ago:

"The average 2-5 year old is spending over 1,600 hours a year watching television."

This seems nuts to me. That is 4.5 hours a day! For a 2 year old? Who are these parents...

aczerepinski said 10 days ago:

Childcare is super expensive. I think there are a ton of people who can’t afford it and use screen time to supplement. It keeps the kid safe in one spot while you can get stuff done. Keep in mind that letting a child play outside by themselves is essentially illegal.

jak92 said 10 days ago:

> child play outside by themselves is essentially illegal.

No it's not.

ramy_d said 10 days ago:
quickthrower2 said 15 hours ago:

First one, not treated as a crime. But there is a record, so that sucks.

Second one, leaving your 9 year old at a park all day while you are not there. I can see why that is a problem.

The third one is maybe where the is controversy. It would be nice if a 6 year old could play on the street by themselves. I think there is some discretion here and it depends what your street and suburb is like to some extent.

The last one is tragic and totally unfair to the family. Looks like another nail in the coffin for people without a lot of money in the US (who can't call a babysitter on short notice) and who use common sense. Then they get a criminal record, lose their jobs etc, can't get a new one etc. F'd.

said 15 hours ago:
apexalpha said 10 days ago:

Aren't these stories newsworthy because it is ridiculous to not let kids play outside?

ramy_d said 9 days ago:

have a kid and find out for us

Consultant32452 said 10 days ago:

You're right, it's not illegal, but there's been a MASSIVE chilling effect on outside play. Of my daughter's friend group, she has by far the most freedom. She's got free reign over our neighborhood which has two parks, a school, a couple lakes, and even a small wooded area kids can venture off into. But none of her friends are allowed to play outside. One friend of hers, 12 years old, is not allowed to ride her bike in her own driveway without a parent outside with her. Another friend of hers, 13, has never been allowed to spend the night at a friend's house. All of these other parents think I'm the crazy one for letting my kid play outside. She usually chooses not to, because it's hardly any fun to play alone.

I know, anecdata and all that, but it's really crazy out there.

nojvek said 10 days ago:

Wow. Why can’t the kid spent a night out at her friends place ?

orthecreedence said 10 days ago:

Because after 7pm the streets are swarming with velociraptors and hoardes of drooling pedophiles and her little friend's parents don't have the latest in automated turret technology yet.

aczerepinski said 10 days ago:

I encourage you to google it. People get arrested all around the country for letting their kids play in the park across the street, ride their bike around the block, sit in the car alone at the bank, etc.

kilo_bravo_3 said 10 days ago:

The fact that "a handful of people" in "several places" over "the last 20 years" becomes "People get arrested all around the country" like it's an epidemic or something is one of many negative, and one of the worst, things about the internet.

That and the fact that "oh and then the charges were dropped and in some cases local laws changed" is inevitably (I think purposefully) left out.

Reason.com went on a year-long bender of self-promotion and half-truthing about 3 years ago when three women were arrested in three states, claiming that "jack-booted big gubmint was comin to take yer kerdz" and plastered people's pictures and stories on fundraising materials and tried to get people to buy their "free range kids" books, as though three incidents in a country of 300 million was an epidemic.

Of course, the most confusing thing about all of this is that a Venn diagram of "people who think that the government is rounding up mothers all over the country" and "people who immediately, vocally, and vociferously criticize the government for NOT protecting the welfare of children" is a perfect circle.

fyz said 10 days ago:

This seems true, and also I think there's some nuance lost in the stats as well.

My personal experience as a parent is that my kids don't get nearly the amount of independence that I did at their age. A reasonable part of this is that I am afraid that my kids will get taken away. My preference is towards the free(r)-range style of parenting, so the ex-post stats don't convey the full effect that the small sample size of reported "big gubmint takeaways" has.

mehrdadn said 10 days ago:

Probably depends on the area and other factors... in my area it was totally normal for kids to walk some half a mile to a mile home in middle school just over a decade ago and I don't think it's changed. I think even elementary school was normal with possibly a smaller distance (not sure how far kids went, but a couple blocks was fine).

rayiner said 10 days ago:

Twenty five years ago in my area, a mile to half a mile was routine for elementary school students. By middle school, I would come home to an empty house and go pick up my brother who was in kindergarten. Nowadays, my daughter is in elementary school and I see parents drive their cars up to the bus stop and hover until the bus comes.

MattSayar said 10 days ago:

The majority of me thinks that parents today need to relax because the chance of your kid being kidnapped or whatever are about the lowest they've ever been. And then another part of me wonders if that's BECAUSE today's parents are paranoid.

chrisweekly said 10 days ago:

Huge exaggeration. Also, free-range parenting is a thing, but even in relatively "helicopter-y" families, the ability to send kids off somewhere w/ a phone to reconnect makes it easy to let kids of a certain age explore and exercise some freedom.

WhompingWindows said 10 days ago:

What are the rates of arrest? I've seen a couple reports, but n=2 is not a data set.

blobbers said 10 days ago:

I would encourage you not to google it. Google is full of worst case scenarios.


IloveHN84 said 10 days ago:

But that was my typical afternoon as kid. Making it illegal forces kids to be dumb watching only TV

ceejayoz said 10 days ago:

Depends on the area a bit (by state, and how grumpy the particular cops involved are). My kids walk to school/playground/neighbors, but...


> In December, the couple was accused of neglect for allowing the children to walk around their suburban Washington neighborhood together unaccompanied by an adult. In one instance, Rafi and Dvora were walking from a playground two blocks from home; in another, the park was about a mile away.

mixmastamyk said 10 days ago:

Even worse when you don’t know if it will be arbitrarily enforced.

vkou said 10 days ago:

> Who are these parents

They are two people, each of whom works at a job (Which is necessary for most families), who don't live with their retired parents (Who would watch, and play with grandkids for free), and can't afford a nanny. (Or, as rich engineers call them, an aupair.)

In short - normal 21st century people.

(And if they are single parents, this equation becomes even more screwed up. The problem with being a single parent, is that you have to live with whatever life decisions lead you up to that point, for the next 18 years.)

blobbers said 10 days ago:

I definitely sympathize with what you're saying, but 4.5 hrs (on avg!) still seems like a lot. But there are alternatives.

That said, I see working involved parents that hand their kids an iPad the minute they get home from daycare so I suppose it isn't out of the realm of possibility.

I'm still a bit shocked that the distribution would result in 4.5 hrs on average. The bullet points from the referred page were actually more interesting:

"TV viewing among kids is at an eight-year high. On average, children ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console." [http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv]

I think this implies that kids playing video games (which at that age is mostly shape matching, colors, words, vocabulary) is included in television.

throwaway55554 said 10 days ago:

I wanna know what 2 year old can stare at a screen for 4.5 hours. All the 2's we've had have been all over the place and won't sit in front of a tv.

Not that I'm complaining... Honest, I'm not.

> Who are these parents...

Remember "It takes a village"? Well, in all honesty, it does. And if you don't have a support system in place, you'll have a hard go of it.

3131s said 10 days ago:

They compulsively flick through videos and later vent their pent up energy through temper tantrums. I tutor a 3 year old boy for an ultra rich family, he's essentially raised by his nannies who let him do whatever he wants. Observing him using a tablet is pretty shocking, it's total zombie mode watching Elsa and Spiderman videos 15 seconds at a time before skipping to the next.

colordrops said 10 days ago:

Yeah that was my first thought. Maybe kids are being saved from commercials but not from the screen.

chapium said 10 days ago:

Yeah, I'm going to call bs on this one. Perhaps they are including kids who have to have an ipad in front of them at every meal and every walk in their stroller?

luckylion said 10 days ago:

I don't know, but here's a very similar stat from 2009 that makes it sound like this is only for TV: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2009/tv-viewing-...

New findings from The Nielsen Company show kids aged 2-5 now spend more than 32 hours a week on average in front of a TV screen.

said 10 days ago:
said 10 days ago:
legitster said 10 days ago:

In a related note, I have come to realize the different levels of quality in children's television:

- Public television shows (PBS) stuff is so lovingly created and charming. You can really tell they had experts and creatives work side by side to craft positive stories. Even if it's not particularly exciting.

- Super-smart and creative shows (like the first couple seasons of Spongebob, or Gravity Falls). Great shows on their own merit, super funny and creative. But they are an art first and not necessarily focused on development. Good at clueing kids in on structuring jokes or references, not much else.

- Bland and harmless. Shows that drive a story or characters, but not necessarily lovingly made or particularly funny. I have found most of the Netflix/Amazon/Hulu stuff falls in here.

- Colorful garbage. It's a lights and noise show, with huge focus on licensing. Cartoons of my era are particularly susceptible to this (Dragonball Z, Yu Gi Oh, Transformers, etc).

zanny said 10 days ago:

YuGiOh and Transformers were largely toy commercials, but you lump Dragonball Z into the same class? It practically indoctrinated half a generation into fitness and physical self improvement, I still sometimes hear Bruce Falconers score at the gym.

I feel there is a substantial divide between a narrative adventure story by a Japanese manga artist crafted as a parody retelling of Journey to the West and followed by his eccentricities (Frieza was an alien and power ranger parody, Cell was a bishonen parody, there was tons of messaging in the core narrative about passing the torch, etc) and a product like Transformers designed by a corporate committee of Hasbro from day one meant to sell toys. Sure, the further into Dragonball you got the more commoditized and derivative it became, but at least the original Dragonball show is a worthy classic.

There absolutely is a class below all those shows, where there is absolutely no narrative development and every episode is designed and manufactured for self contained entertainment with no greater depth. A lot of Hanna Barbara cartoons fall into that class, Scooby Doo absolutely - where every episode is designed to be disposable and ultimately meaningless, just meant to distract.

mehrdadn said 10 days ago:

> - Public television shows (PBS) stuff is so lovingly created and charming. You can really tell they had experts and creatives work side by side to craft positive stories. Even if it's not particularly exciting.

> - Colorful garbage. It's a lights and noise show, with huge focus on licensing. Cartoons of my era are particularly susceptible to this (Dragonball Z, Yu Gi Oh, Transformers, etc).

What PBS shows are you imagining? Clifford? Sesame Street? I never thought they were targeting the same demographics as the 'colorful garbage' like Yu-Gi-Oh (early elementary vs. late elementary/middle school). Also a lot of other popular shows (like Spongebob) seemed more like colorful garbage to me than things like Yu-Gi-Oh that you lumped in there.

And what about classics like Tom & Jerry, Roadrunner, etc.? There wasn't much particularly educational or colorful or really anything about them but man now I'm tempted to go watch them again.

legitster said 10 days ago:

Our kid has watched Thomas, Arthur, The new Fred Rogers Company shows, etc.

Tom & Jerry and Roadrunner would squarely go into the "super-smart and creative shows". All of Chuck Jones' work really is supremely well made and exists for its own merit (as opposed to an educational one).

I lump in Spongebob because they at least picked a unique topic, had unique characters, and had some very unique jokes and comedic structures. At least in the beginning.

mehrdadn said 10 days ago:

Oh I see. Man, Arthur was soooo cheesy! I cringed whenever I saw it. Don't know the others unfortunately haha.

chrisweekly said 10 days ago:

Gravity Falls -- yeah! I can't stand Spongebob, but are there other shows like GF?

diminoten said 10 days ago:

Haha, saying "I can't stand Spongebob" makes me think of someone trying to critically review episodes of Spongebob Squarepants for its literary merit.

chrisweekly said 10 days ago:


for me, it's like dora the explorer -- just lots of noise, triggering some visceral response in me of "turn it off now, mute it, make it go away" akin to many people's aversion to certain forms of advertising, or nails on a chalkboard.

rkuykendall-com said 9 days ago:

Steven Universe.

You will get the impression in the first 20-30 10-minute episodes that the show is really fun but nothing special. It builds so slowly you don't even notice, then it really takes off.

daned said 10 days ago:

Adventure Time

newsgremlin said 9 days ago:

Regular Show

burntoutcase said 10 days ago:

While I'm glad that kids in Netflix-only households aren't getting bombarded with advertisements targeted at children the way kids my age were in the 1980s, I can't help but suspect that these ad-free kids need to be exposed to some advertising in an educational context so that they learn to recognize when somebody is trying to con them into buying shit they don't need and probably didn't want in the first place.

bluetidepro said 10 days ago:

> I can't help but suspect that these ad-free kids need to be exposed to some advertising in an educational context so that they learn to recognize when somebody is trying to con them into buying shit they don't need and probably didn't want in the first place.

It's not like they spend 24/7 on Netflix, they are probably getting bombed with ads more so than ever in history out in the real world. And even more so, probably even more aggressively than the commercials they are missing by using Netflix.

balls187 said 10 days ago:

I grew up on a military base in a foreign country, and all the television was from the Armed Forces network. There were no commercials, just random PSA.

Occasionally teachers would get VHS tapes with recorded TV from the US, and we were more enthralled with the commercials than the programs themselves.

michaelt said 10 days ago:

Then you'll be pleased to learn adverts are also available online :)

nordsieck said 10 days ago:

> I can't help but suspect that these ad-free kids need to be exposed to some advertising in an educational context so that they learn to recognize when somebody is trying to con them into buying shit they don't need and probably didn't want in the first place.

Do you mean something like, the Internet?

Advertising is so pervasive, you'd probably have to do something drastic like Amish style technology banning to avoid it; even that may not be enough.

As a side note, even though Netflix doesn't have separate advertising, I'm sure there's at least product placement and other forms of advertising in their content.

gibspaulding said 10 days ago:

Ublock origin, Netflix, Spotify, and ditching mobile apps for social media will cut out a huge percentage of adds for most people.

Admittedly I haven't found a way around billboards, adds playing on gas pumps (though I try to avoid those gas stations), playing in stores, or the occasional sponsored link on some sites I visit, but compared to old TV or radio these are fairly painless.

acheron said 10 days ago:

Press (probably) the second button on the right at the gas station pump, it will mute the ad. Still plays the video but much easier to ignore.

For awhile this was apparently just a hidden feature, recently I saw one where the button was labeled.

not_a_cop75 said 10 days ago:

Honestly, if you haven't seen the advertising now rampant in the new Netflix interface, then you haven't been paying attention. Everyday I'm bombarded with "ads" on Netflix for shows that my family wants no part of. Things that seem either offense at worst, or at best misguided as "positive" offerings are frequently shown.

brundolf said 10 days ago:

As obnoxious as this is, it's still only promoting other shows on the same service you're already paying for. It isn't convincing your kid that they need you to buy them a hundred other products, or - more importantly - seeding them with the idea of constant consumerism as a lifestyle.

That said, I've made Hulu my default now specifically because of Netflix's pushy dark patterns.

not_a_cop75 said 10 days ago:

I humbly disagree. I would state that the product being sold is the lifestyle being marketed. I don't have enough in common with the Baizuo to want to watch them, copy them or imitate them.

brundolf said 10 days ago:

I can barely even parse what you're trying to express here. It seems far-removed from the topic at hand.

not_a_cop75 said 10 days ago:

When you aren't being charged for something you are the product. And when you've being fed ads even when you're being charged, guess what?

You're still the product.

Pay for ads in product has come a long way since AOL.

brundolf said 10 days ago:

But... Netflix... costs money?

burntoutcase said 10 days ago:

I've made secondhand optical media my fault because I'm sick of paying rent.

awinder said 10 days ago:

They learn / don't learn that skill from kidfluencers on YouTube. From what I've seen with my daughter that's a super-weaponized form of advertising compared to what I grew up in, anyone who survives Ryan and turns out halfway adjusted will have made it through a real crucible.

r00fus said 10 days ago:

Yeah, my kids crave youtube, but I won't let them watch it.

burntoutcase said 10 days ago:

> They learn / don't learn that skill from kidfluencers on YouTube.

Thanks for giving me a new excuse for being a misanthrope.

awinder said 10 days ago:

LOL! It really is something to behold, this article is a pretty good rundown in what’s going on (I would think I was making this up as some fringe thing, if I had not watched it first hand)


bzbarsky said 10 days ago:

For what it's worth, I distinctly remember that sometime in middle school we had a unit where exactly that happened: we were shown some ads, and there was various discussion about the way ads are created, the tricks they use, etc, etc. The "elmer's glue for milk in cereal ads" bit definitely stuck with me. ;)

newsoul2019 said 10 days ago:

Indeed. Whenever a commercial is on, I like to ask the kids "What is this ad trying to sell you?"

nickreese said 10 days ago:

What a terribly thin affiliate site? How'd this get front-paged? Why aren't we linking to the study instead of the summary of the study?


dang said 10 days ago:

The article is a thin layer, I agree, but it adds the bit that people are mostly responding to.

throwaway66666 said 10 days ago:

Netflix puts the ads directly inside the shows they control themselves. This way no adblock can censor them, and Netflix can prance around pretending they are saints for not showing ads.

Example "Hey let's call an uber" says character A.

"I watched X on netflix yesterday" says character B.

robbiemitchell said 10 days ago:

I'm guessing you don't have kids and haven't actually experienced the difference.

- Netflix has gobs of kids shows (i.e., cartoons) that have zero product placement, at least as far as I can tell. This includes both Netflix originals and the rest.

- TV has 6-minute ad breaks every few minutes that are non-stop pitches for toys and other shows. It's unbearable.

Even shows on premium networks with some product placement and mentions are 1000x better than regular cable. There's simply no comparison.

mrguyorama said 10 days ago:

I literally cannot watch television anymore. Advertising is such a huge annoyance. What's worse is that it's the same five adverts played every six minutes all damn day! Meanwhile nothing actually can happen in the shows themselves since there's so little time actually devoted to it instead of revenue generating ads

gibspaulding said 10 days ago:

Same, I'm completely spoiled by ublock origin, Netflix, and Spotify Premium. Last time I killed my phone, I drove around in silence rather than listening to the radio and when Mozilla broke the extensions in Firefox a couple of weeks ago, I almost stopped using the internet altogether for a couple of days.

lostlogin said 10 days ago:

You need a Pihole in your network. It is excellent. It’s also handy for sorting out pet peeves (though does impose them on others in your network).

jerf said 10 days ago:

What really gets me about advertising is how much they annoy me, how much they wreck my leisure time, and how little money they make for it. For 4 minutes of annoying the heck out of me, they can expect to make single-digit pennies. What a freaking waste. If you're going to annoy me that much, at least make a couple bucks.

isostatic said 10 days ago:

I cancelled sky a few years ago. They charge £30 a month and then put adverts on. Adverts are 1% of their revenue, so £3 a month.

If I watch 2 hours a day that’s 20 hours of ads a month, or 15p/hour.

I’m currently subscribed to nowtv to watch GoT. There’s an unskippavle advert at the start for other shows. That’s just about acceptable for the 6 times i’ll use it before cancellation.

DVDs used to be as bad, and I almost entirely stopped buying them because of it. they don’t seem to come with adverts now though.

swombat said 10 days ago:

Sounds like the TV version of what happened to most news sites, with ads everywhere.

mrguyorama said 10 days ago:

My understanding is that, at least in the UK, advertising on television is way way way better, as in, a few minutes an hour of much more gentle advertisements.

jon-wood said 10 days ago:

A typical show on a commercial channel here will have three ad breaks in a one hour slot, of about five minutes each, and then there’ll be a longer ad break between programs. It drives me mad now I’m used to video on demand, but not nearly as much as US TV would.

mrguyorama said 10 days ago:

Hmm, I thought it was less than that. I still consider that to be unacceptable

swombat said 8 days ago:

I haven’t watched TV in years... when I’ve caught some movie on TV at my parents’ or my in-laws’, I’ve found the ad breaks to be a great opportunity to... leave and do something better with my time than watch this movie with stupid ad breaks.

morsmodr said 9 days ago:

The only time I prefer watching TV is when I want to have breaks in between while doing my chores. So I would watch 'The Office' and go about doing by work by mentally disconnecting myself when ads are running. New stuff is always Prime or Netflix. Though I get how annoying it can be for kids shows, with toy ads and disney ads (each spring time I swear it is annoying), not that I wouldn't take my kids to disney

a_imho said 9 days ago:

I go out if my way as far as possible to avoid advertised products/services. Especially drugs, like 2 out of 3 ads are from pharmas. I opt for generics whenever it is possible.

r00fus said 10 days ago:

I absolutely hate radio ads as well to the point where my next car is a Tesla because its one of the few vehicles that simply has no radio.

My current vehicle has a MS Sync/Carplay/AndroidAuto that reverts to radio when disconnected. The radio invariable has an ad on.

ex3ndr said 10 days ago:

Tesla has radio

cameronbrown said 10 days ago:

Why don't you just not use the radio?

WhompingWindows said 10 days ago:

If you've seen my nephew's toy hoard with hundreds of small plastic figurines from Thomas, Paw Patrol, and Daniel Tiger, you wouldn't say there are zero product placements in kids' shows.

bargl said 10 days ago:

This is ALL over so many shows on cable TV. It hit me one day when watching bones. Two characters had a conversation about the features of their "awesome" car.

I also recently saw this on "A million little things" there was an absolutely useless shot of a main character opening the trunk of the car with a foot wave. It was so over done and out of place.

dx87 said 10 days ago:

I think I know the exact scene you're talking about in Bones, it was a super obvious advertisement. Car starts making beeping noises "Why's the car beeping?", "Oh, it's the new lane assist feature in my Toyota Prius. It lets me know if I'm starting to drift across the lane because I'm distracted." Then they get to the destination and they show off the automatic parallell parking.

throwaway66666 said 10 days ago:

Everything in the new Jurassic Park movies is mercedes. Even the weird sphere-car thing is made by mercedes. There is also a prominently featured starbucks in the dinosaur park.

The movie is aware of how ridiculous is getting and a character says "Verizon Wireless presents The Indominus T-Rex!!!". I guess the writers took a jab at the producers and their deals.


But the worst was in the recent Jim Jarmusch film, where Adam Driver says "You can order it and it will arrive with free 2 day shipping". In a Jim Jarmusch film, one of the most respected "underground" movie directors of our generation!!! But his movie was funded by amazon studios so.. no surprises there.

Someone should really make a "product placement in movies" hall of shame and get internet famous.

newman8r said 10 days ago:

Not exactly a hall of shame, but you might have a good time looking through https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ProductPlacement/Live...

ksdale said 10 days ago:

Those were quite entertaining to read through!

It really made me think that not all product placement is created equal. Sometimes there are products that don't serve a purpose just sitting somewhere really conspicuously, but something like the Snack Packs in Billy Madison never once struck me as a product placement, they just seemed like a goofy thing that a kid would get really worked up over, and it ended up being one of the most quotable lines of the movie.

And that got me thinking about product placement in general, and how much stuff on that list is just products being on screen, period. I'm sure none of that ever happens on accident, but at least for me personally, it can contribute to the art to have a certain brand be present (like the Wayne's World example).

In my own life, there are brands that evoke specific feelings like road trips, or sporting events, or drunkenness, or LAN parties, or childhood in general and seeing a generic bag of burgers on screen doesn't have the same effect as seeing a bag of McDonalds... I mean, it doesn't really matter and this is all silly conjecture, but people's reactions to seeing real life brands on screen are quite interesting!

jerf said 10 days ago:

I actually find it a bit weird to watch something nominally set in the real world where everything is conspicuously covered up, and they get coffee from Generic Grey Cup, their computers from NoBrand Aluminum Cases, their fizzy sodas from Vaguely Red Can Corp., their cell phones from The Unbranded Glass Slabs Conglomerate, etc. In real life, there are some brands around. But in real life, nobody spontaneously rhapsodizes about how awesome their monitor is, or at least, not very often.

SmellyGeekBoy said 10 days ago:

My monitor is pretty awesome, though.

ksdale said 10 days ago:

Good point!

Rebelgecko said 10 days ago:

There's some pretty egregious examples of product placement in that list, but some of them aren't so bad. For example, Bruce Wayne driving a Lamborghini Murciélago in Batman. On top of showing everyone what a rich playboy he is, murciélago is Spanish for "bat".

gibspaulding said 10 days ago:

I kind of liked how Amazon's Alexa device was used in Mr Robot. It actually got to provide plot driving insight into Dom's psychological state.

r00fus said 10 days ago:

Well there was that (product placement) scene in Weeds where they talk about the Prius being a great "dealer" car because the silent mode is great for drive-by shootings.

IIRC, Weeds was on Netflix.

OJFord said 10 days ago:

Oh.. I just took that as a joke. And where's the line, if the writers come up with some (non-defamatory) joke (or whatever) about some real product, that relies on real-world context about that product, is there pressure to get a product placement deal, or else drop it from the script?

Seems silly.

bargl said 10 days ago:

YES. Oh man it was terrible.

koboll said 10 days ago:

It's everywhere. Avengers Endgame made sure the Audi logo was filling a nice portion of the screen the two or three times Audis (the only cars in the whole movie) rolled up somewhere.

mixmastamyk said 10 days ago:

Remember the Oracle cloud in iron man? Cringe

c0vfefe said 10 days ago:

Right! After too much time watching CinemaSins I automatically think "This movie brought to you by ____" when I see a prominent logo.

Like the Microsoft Surface in Marvel's Netflix series.

asdff said 10 days ago:

The breaking bad Chrysler/dodge revving scenes were egregious.

Symbiote said 10 days ago:

It's called product placement [1].

There are rules restricting it in the UK, which must complicate broadcasting some American TV shows.

There are also companies using software to replace the branded product according to different markets — so they can rebrand that cereal box for the rerun if necessary.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_placement

pavel_lishin said 10 days ago:

You choose the shows your kids watch; you don't get to choose what commercials a cable/airwave channel shows you.

aczerepinski said 10 days ago:

On a related note I let my young kid watch Wheel of Fortune and then we get hit with “tune in to news at 11 to find out how this girl got horrifically abducted and abused 10 times.”

I’m so accustomed to Netflix and it’s child controls that I totally forgot what legacy tv is like.

martin-adams said 10 days ago:

This! My dad likes to put the news on during the day when we visit and this type of thing happens all the time.

throwaway66666 said 10 days ago:

I am not saying cable is better. I am saying that netflix has a lot of hidden marketing in their shows (for adults, I don't have kids and I don' watch kids shows) that praising them for being ad-free is kinda disgenious.

In the end of the day I 'd rather get a big blinking "this is an ad" banner on my ads, rather than the characters smirking on camera while drinking from a nescafe cup while waiting for an uber to arrive. Maybe those are not actual ads and the show writers just added uber and nescafe for narrative purposes, I don't know, because it doesn't tell us.

jimcsharp said 10 days ago:

>netflix has a lot of hidden marketing in their shows

I really believe there's hidden cigarette marketing. Maybe directors are just taking artistic license that they can't on cable, but it just really feels like there's a noticeable increase of on-screen smoking in a lot of their originals.

filoleg said 10 days ago:

Maybe, but I honestly feel like it just coincides with the whole neo-noir and lazy-noir genre coming back, where smoking/drinking at very regular intervals throughout the day is a staple. Part of the reason I feel this way is the fact that I was never able to tell or even notice the brand of cigarettes the characters were smoking.

tanshef22 said 10 days ago:

For the last two decades "TV boxes" have been almost as common as TVs in households in my country. They let you record multiple things at the same time, automatically record a TV series, pause and rewind what you're watching etc. So instead of sitting through commercials people might hit record on a bunch of things they are interested in and watch them later (skipping over the commercials) or maybe even pause the TV for a short break in order to streamline the show. Personally I've never has a Smart TV so I might be behind the times using this method.

kevin_thibedeau said 10 days ago:

Many Smart TVs have buffers that allow pausing and rewind of the current channel. You can pause a show for a bit and then skip over the commercials like with a DVR.

tyingq said 10 days ago:

Good point, but subtle product placement is a TON better than explicitly pushing sugary cereal as a "part of a wholesome breakfast" for 2 minutes straight.

willio58 said 10 days ago:

Regular tv does this equally if not more.

ihuman said 10 days ago:

"Is that a PS Vita? I have a console at home; I play sometimes to relax. I oughta get one of these for the car" - House of Cards

lotsofpulp said 10 days ago:

Yes, ruining the content itself is not better than pausing for ads.

mbrameld said 10 days ago:

Isn't that just realistic, though? That's how dialogue in real life sounds, too. I and most people I know use "uber" as a generic term for a ride share service. We also distinguish which streaming service the show we're talking about is on if it's not already known by everybody in the conversation.

throwaway66666 said 10 days ago:

I see two big issues.

The first one is about how well it is integrated in the show, or how "respectfully" it is done.

Let's say for example... Car brands are very welcome and a must in the Fast and Furious movies. It would be pretty silly if they had fake car brands in such a movie, and the presence of real car models can excite and make the enthousiasts nerd out more about them. Overall a victory for everyone involved.

But hearing how great of a family car a Volvo can be, in a movie about aliens... not so much.


The second is about transparency. Assuming you do not like let's say Monsanto, or Scientology and you would like to avoid works that are funded by them. Product placement is a form of guerilla marketing, noone says who they took money from. So it lacks transparency and is disgenius to the consumers.

It's a bit like influencer marketing, when influencers "forget" to include the #sponsored hashtag.

User ksdale has left a very nice comment on the subject.

aqme28 said 10 days ago:

That's product placement and it's everywhere. Netflix might still be saving kids from 400 hours of commercials even if they have some commercials themselves.

c0vfefe said 10 days ago:

I'll take two instances of product placement in an hour's programming vs. 42 min of TV with 18 min advertising.

scarface74 said 10 days ago:

I would much rather a TV show say “Let’s call an Uber” than “Let’s call a peer to peer ride sharing service”.

Just like everyone says “I am going to Google that” not “I’m going to search for that”. One sounds stilted. The other sounds natural.

Synaesthesia said 10 days ago:

There’s also just the ideological content of the shows.

hef19898 said 10 days ago:

Walulis, a German Youtube channel (imagine a German John Oliver for social media with a pretty solid Hitler joke per video ratio and high quality content) had a video about this. Apparently Bill Gates is a majority stakeholder in one of the companies make billions matching companies with productions. Sometimes years before the production takes place. Another example is Stranger Things and some cereal brand.

madMapper said 10 days ago:

"Another example is Stranger Things and some cereal brand."

Obviously a less than successful product placement. /s

Pretty sure it was the Eggo waffle thing you are referring to. IMO they did a pretty decent job integrating that plot-wise.

Like it or not productions cost money and the people who pay those bills will always look for a way to share the load. If you don't like it prepare for $40/month Netflix.

itronitron said 10 days ago:
hef19898 said 10 days ago:

The one!

danielfoster said 10 days ago:

This is great but if your child is watching so much Netflix that 400 hours worth of commercials are avoided, maybe your child is watching too much? Go play with Legos or do something interactive...

nickelcitymario said 10 days ago:

Well, are we assuming they're spending those 4 hours watching TV passively? Maybe they are. Or maybe they just like to have it on while they do other things.

I know my own kids tend to have Netflix on all the time, but are also playing games, making art, talking to each other, doing chores, etc.

I myself have it on for many hours a night, but I spend almost no time sitting in front of the screen. (Sundays have been an exception for GoT.) It just makes doing dishes, cleaning, and laundry so much more bearable.

That's what these studies always seem to fail to address. The assumption is if the TV is on, you must be staring at it. And that's simply not the case.

danielfoster said 10 days ago:

I didn't think about this, and what you stated describes me as a child-- I had some access to TV but preferred to do other things (namely Legos) while it was turned on.

But I have a very active mind. My fear is that many children will actively consume media rather than passively consume. A major part of the issue probably depends on how parents teach their children to watch TV. This issue needs more investigation because not all TV watching is the same. My fear is that not all parents are as mindful as you or mine.

dpark said 10 days ago:

> The average 2-5 year old is spending over 1,600 hours a year watching television. > The average 6-11 year old is spending over 1,450 hours a year watching television.

Jesus. 4 hours of TV every day. That's nuts.

a_imho said 9 days ago:

Imagine sitting 8 hours in front of a screen.

crazygringo said 10 days ago:

Given how educational TV can be in teaching language skills, interpersonal skills, and basic facts, I don't think this is necessarily too much at all, if it's 2-3 hrs/day.

When I was a young child before I could read books, I learned tons about the world from watching Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and similar high-quality shows. I still spent plenty of time with my Legos, but my childhood would definitely have been worse without the programming on PBS.

dpark said 10 days ago:

Your assumption of 1/3 is wrong and the article gives specific amounts per week and per year. It's over 4 hours a day, which is insane. 2.2 hours a day is also a lot.

I think you're also overestimating the amount of meaningful education kids get from TV. Language skills are learned via use. You don't actually converse with the TV. Interpersonal skills are best learned by practice. Basic facts? Maybe the TV can help here, although most kids shows don't cover anything except pretty basic stuff. Kids shows are primarily entertainment, same as adult shows.

NeccoNeko said 10 days ago:

It isn't wrong.

> The average 2-5 year old is spending over 1,600 hours a year watching television. > Ratings tracking company Nielsen reported in 2014 that the average hour of television has close to 15 minutes and 30 seconds of commercials.

By their count 1/4th of each hour is commercials.

1600 * .75 / 365 == 3.3 hours per day

dpark said 10 days ago:

> It isn't wrong.

In what was is it not wrong?

He estimated 1/3 commercials which was wrong. He estimated 2.2 hours of TV, which is wrong regardless of whether that includes commercials and regardless of whether the commercial ratio is 1/3 or 1/4. He also went back and edited it[1] to say 2-3 hours which is still wrong, because 3.3 is not between 2 and 3.

And for the record, commercials are still TV so scaling down to 3.3 is a really bizarre choice on your part.

[1] Actually rewrote essentially the entire comment removing almost everything I responded to.

SmellyGeekBoy said 10 days ago:

> Go play with Legos or do something interactive...

Maybe they're watching Bandersnatch? ;)

diminoten said 10 days ago:

I dunno, I'm not convinced TV time is as detrimental to children as we're being told. It sounds a lot like the "kids these days" trope.

abootstrapper said 10 days ago:

I agree. As a society, when it comes to "the children" we tend to overreact and overprotect. We also tend to compete and judge other parents about it too.

"What!? Bobby Sue watches cartoons before school instead of practicing mindfulness and studying the periodic table, what terrible parents!"

blobbers said 10 days ago:

The average 2-5 year old is spending over 1,600 hours a year watching television.

This seems nuts to me. That is 4.5 hours a day! For a 2 year old? Who are these parents...

moate said 10 days ago:

Average parents?

apetresc said 10 days ago:

That just can't be the average. That must be the very top of the curve. For it to be the average, with the very bi-modal distribution coming from parents who have no-screens policies, the average in that other cluster would have to be like 8 hours a day. I just don't believe that's possible with any frequency.

moate said 10 days ago:

I mean "mean" parents, not median parents. Sure, there's no-screen policy parents, but those feel (citation needed!) like a less common occurrence than "some" or "unrestricted" screen parents.

If no-screen parents only represent 10% of the total population, they're not going to do as much pulling the number down as you might think. There's no way there's an equal distribution on this stuff among between "none" and "some" so they won't weight as heavily towards lowering the curve. Also, it's a pretty wide age range. What people allow a 2 year old vs a 5 year old to do/consume is a world apart.

There's all sorts of things that go into it. I agree, without deep diving into methodology, these numbers are a whole lot of "but what does this actually MEAN"?

sampleinajar said 10 days ago:

What's the methodology? If the tv is on is that counted regardless of whether kids are actively watching or not? I could see a tv on all day skewing numbers easily.

silversconfused said 10 days ago:

Top of the curve is closer to 16-20 hours a day. As in, if they didn't fall asleep, it'd literally be 24 hours. Lots of parents let their kids eat and sleep in front of the tv, and that's nothing new to this generation.

acd said 10 days ago:

So the average 2-5 year old spends 1600 hours a year watching tv, the WHO World health recommendation of TV for small children is one hour less TV is better.

Here is the WHO guidelines https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/24-04-2019-to-grow-up-h...

IloveHN84 said 10 days ago:

For all the people living frugally here: You can also use alternative YouTube clients (e.g. NewPipe) to skip all the commercials while saving money and doing it legally.

Nice #ad for Netflix, I would never spend a cent on it knowing that they do geoblocking and limiting shows to specific countries because of agreements with other platforms, such as Sky. Instead, I would go for some third party Kodi Plugin and skipping the need of having 2-3 accounts to watch all the shows I want, freely.

Y_Y said 10 days ago:

I've found SkyTube and MusicPiped (a cousin of Newpipe just for music) to both excellent YouTube clients, and both are naturally available on F-Droid.

uBlock Origin with all the extra filters makes youtube.com tolerable on desktop.

kailuowang said 10 days ago:

400 hrs of commercials a year? How much TV are these kids watching a day?

michaelt said 10 days ago:

According to [1] the average US adult watches 4 hours 10 minutes of live TV per day. Personally that comes as a surprise to me - but I would expect Nielsen to know a thing or two about surveying TV viewership.

[1] https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2018/time-flies-...

ilikehurdles said 10 days ago:

Wow. I thought the amount of time I spend with The Office reruns in the background on Netflix was bad, but it's nowhere near 4 hours bad.

komali2 said 10 days ago:

I mean, is it bad? This is everyone I know back home. They go to work, come home, eat, and watch TV. It's a life. It's not for me, but like, what else are they going to do with their time? I could make a bunch of value-judgement statements like "they should read a book!" or "they should learn python!" but like, why? Who cares? They don't have ambitions beyond a comfortable life.

Just as my life is not for them, their life is not for me. At least they have some way to entertain themselves, whereas every second I spend relaxing comes with anxiety over whether I'm spending my time "usefully."

TimTheTinker said 10 days ago:

> I mean, is it bad? This is everyone I know back home. They go to work, come home, eat, and watch TV. It's a life.

If you believe your origin and your destiny are agent-less and meaningless, then it makes the most sense to call everything in the middle meaningless also. Thus - eat, drink, watch TV, have fun till it's over. I can see that making sense.

But if life and its pursuits have any shred of meaning, then I think it's OK to say they could be doing better things with their time.

komali2 said 10 days ago:

You and I agree, for our own lives. I derive meaning from my agency.

For some reason, though, there are a shitload of people out there that don't have this ambition. I understand difficulty empathizing with it, because to people like you and me it does look like a "waste of time." But for some reason it really is just ideal for a lot of people to be able to switch their brain off and sit comfortably in front of a TV and be entertained.

For these people, you could argue "you should be doing something better with your time," but all you'd get back is "why? This is comfortable."

airstrike said 10 days ago:

+1. Very nicely said. Thank you for this

said 10 days ago:
gwtaylor said 10 days ago:

The article claims nearly 4.5 hours per day. I find that hard to believe... I don't know any children (in my admittedly biased sample) that watch more than an hour or two.

Pfhreak said 10 days ago:

I know families who literally leave a tv on for the kids 24/7. It's on during meals, it's on during the day, it's there as they are getting ready for bed. Just constantly on and droning away.

I cannot understand that behavior. Even an hour or two a day seems like a lot for a kid to me.

balls187 said 10 days ago:

Sometimes having an hour of time to yourself while your kids are watching TV is a huge boon.

eganist said 10 days ago:

3:30pm-7:00pm -- homework + tv (mostly tv) OR practice.

7:00pm-8:00pm -- dinner with the family (during tv, possibly)

8:00pm-11:00pm -- homework + tv (mostly tv)

11:00pm-1:00am -- tv


Even including sports practice, we've cracked over five hours, and that's from when I was in grade school.

mrguyorama said 10 days ago:

It's interesting to me that you would stay up until 1 am as a grade schooler. That is quite late

asdff said 10 days ago:

Not suprising to be honest. In middleschool and highschool I would stay up even later. Wake up for school at 7, get there by 8, class till 3, after school activity till 5 or 6, done with dinner by 7, two hours or so of half assed work (takes longer the more half assed), then 9 o clock would signal that the rest of the day belonged solely to me and my interests, and I would be on the laptop or play video games untill whenever I got tired. Usually I'd clock around 5-6 hours a night of sleep during the week, and make it up by sleeping close to 10 on the weekends.

College set me straight with sleeping, though. I was able to schedule classes no earlier than 10:30, and if I went out late into the night and got hammered I could sleep in on a whim without consequence. I was also able to have nap time again. Definitely struggled getting sleep with a full time job now, but its been getting better. Everyone where I work has their own schedules. Couple of us are here at 7, me and others don't get in till 10-10:30. Sometimes I work till 7, most of the time I leave by 5, and sometimes I leave at 3. Rigidity kills the soul.

eganist said 10 days ago:

I pulled all-nighters in grade school to maximize my media intake (in this case browsing message boards) while still getting homework done.

Guessing kids these days do the same to stay on top of snap, insta, tiktok, reddit, etc.

kuroguro said 10 days ago:

I probably watched more than that growing up so ymmv. I always wonder how they collect statistics like these. Questionnaires / self reporting by parents?

dudus said 10 days ago:

They install tracking boxes in the TV's of a sample of the population. This is done with the family authorization and often they get compensated for it. There's a lot of work that goes into choosing the sample so it's representative of the total population.

Source: a friend that worked in the field.

Amezarak said 10 days ago:

I was a Nielsen subject on multiple occasions and it depended entirely on self reporting via a paper questionnaire.

said 10 days ago:
mobjack said 10 days ago:

They probably aren't literally watching the TV the whole time.

Some parents have the TV on in the background but the children are distracted with other tasks.

For example, I will watch the news while my daughter plays in the same room doing her own thing.

freebear said 10 days ago:

"The average 2-5 year old is spending over 1,600 hours a year watching television."

"Saves kids", yeah right. Must be just great to spend all that time in front of the tellie eaten em tater chips and drinkin that mountain dew.

Idiocracy Now!

onemoresoop said 10 days ago:

Commercials are for the mind what spam e-mail is for your inbox, you can delete them but they'll annoy the hell of you. Of course it's not a good analogy as commercials are paying for the content but the problem is the quantity and quality.

In the US I normally turn off volume when there is a commercial or avoid commercial content at all costs. However, when I visit my friends in Europe I find that their (TV) commercial a lot more enjoyable. Anybody else experienced this as well?

3xblah said 10 days ago:

"We're also curious, as children of the 90s ourselves, does a child who grew up without a continual bombardment of ads end up more susceptible to advertising later in life? Did those early days of being shown ad after ad for LIFE Cereal end up turning us all into advertising cynics? No data yet on this, but something we'll definitely be paying close attention to in the future."

Meanwhile, Netflix and YouTube today are 24/7 tracking and saving a record of everything a child has watched every day of every year, with no limits on how that data can be used.

Not worry. This data could never be used in a way that makes them more susceptible to advertising.

There was an image with overlaid text going around on Facebook on Mother's Day that said, "Happy Mother's Day to the iPad that is raising your child."

neovive said 10 days ago:

The most jarring statement to me is that "kids 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours per week in front of a television set." That seems quite high for that age group. As a parent, I try to limit my kids to 2-3 hours of media per day on weekends and 0-1 hour on school nights--including TV and video games. Most of their screen time these days is a combination of Netflix and Xbox. I don't count Scratch programming or Khan Academy as screen time.

I try to find a balance, knowing that I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons and playing games on Apple II, Commodore 64 and NES.

jeffdavis said 10 days ago:

It's not all downside. Commercials are a literal break during which kids might get distracted or even do a few other small tasks.

I'm not convinced that binge-watching with no breaks is ideal for anyone; let alone kids.

luckydata said 10 days ago:

It's true but I don't like how I can't filter content for my son. He's 4yo and is a little prone to act in real life like the characters in the cartoons do and I would like to at least temporarily filter things that have fighting in it (like power rangers) because he tends to fight his classmates (they like it, the teachers give us endless grief about it).

No way to do that and it seems like a pretty basic form of control that should be table stakes for a kids oriented service.

silversconfused said 10 days ago:

We set up a PC with two mirrored video outputs for netflix. One goes to the TV in the living room, and another is VGA over CAT5 to a smaller monitor in the kitchen. Makes monitoring consumption easy.

nhumrich said 10 days ago:

Yes! This all day long. I want either a whitelist or blacklist for shows on netflix children accounts. Amazon prime kidtime lets you do this for their tablets (even though the feature is very hidden), and its awesome.

ceejayoz said 10 days ago:

Netflix permits blacklisting on kids' accounts. I've very happily used it to suppress the especially inane stuff.

(Account > Parental controls > Restrict specific titles)

luckydata said 10 days ago:

That's a sad mockery of what parental controls should look like. First of all the UI is buggy - lets you select the same content twice, so if you try removing power rangers you have to remember what you picked previously. Second it doesn't allow you to set limits by profile, I don't want to remove adult stuff from my profile or my wife's, just my kid's.

Hard fail in my book.

dqpb said 10 days ago:

Keep him away from YouTube then. They have an outbreak of "kids shows" designed to corrupt and traumatize the minds of children.

detaro said 10 days ago:

At least you can fill a hard disk with content downloaded from YouTube quite easily, and restrict selection that way.

jerf said 10 days ago:

YouTube with the "parent firewall" is an awesome resource. "Hey, Dad, what other kinds of carnivorous plants are there?" "Give me a sec here... no... no... no... ah, National Geographic, that'll work." "Hey Dad, what does the Earth look like from the space station?" "Hey Dad, what's a lemur?" Amazing tool.

YouTube with kids wandering around on their own is scary.

redindian75 said 10 days ago:

Took my 4yr old first time to Movies... he said "dont like this... can we change it?"

It was a Disney movie - but he wasnt ready to sit thro character buildup etc, and complained the cartoon was too "long". I thought he lacked patience due to watching Youtube fastcut episodes (GuavaJuice and such), then I saw him watching 45mins of a hand opening candy wrappers one by one, patiently folding it, then opening the next one. I dont know what to make of it :)

irrational said 10 days ago:

Recently we stayed at a vacation home that had cable. My 5 year old asked me why Paw Patrol kept turning off and then back on. I had no idea what she was talking about until I went and watched it with her and realized that she had no idea what commercials are. Though, we don't have Netflix (or any other streaming service), she just watched DVDs from the library to get her Paw Patrol fix.

OkGoDoIt said 9 days ago:

The last paragraph is intriguing: "We’re also curious, as children of the 90s ourselves, does a child who grew up without a continual bombardment of ads end up more susceptible to advertising later in life? Did those early days of being shown ad after ad for LIFE Cereal end up turning us all into advertising cynics? No data yet on this, but something we’ll definitely be paying close attention to in the future."

I'm really good at tuning out ads online after so long seeing ads everywhere, but if I was brand new to the medium and hadn't yet learned to tune them out, would I be more likely to be influenced by them? Is that a good/bad thing? And now that I use adblock everywhere, when I do see an ad it's more annoying. It will be interesting to see the long-term effects going forward.

makk said 10 days ago:

Or, turning off the screens saves kids from 100% of commercials a year. Something about articles like this make me want to vomit.

kikoreis said 10 days ago:

You beat me to it. A lot of the comments here underscore how much better it is (which I don't doubt) without seeming to acknowledge that ads are very likely to come -- in fact, didn't they test already last year? Yeah, https://thenextweb.com/contributors/2018/10/20/netflix-tests...

blobbers said 10 days ago:

Great root cause analysis. Wish more people would think like this.

davidy123 said 10 days ago:

This is a step in the right direction. Still, Netflix &c force a lot of content of their own choosing through suggestions and highlighted content, using ever invasive techniques, like auto play, to force that content on users. A service that only ever showed content that someone specifically requested would be an improvement.

jeffrallen said 10 days ago:

To turn off auto-play, login on a computer, not Apple TV. Go to Accounts, Profile, Playback settings. For kids accounts it is different. Get into the help pages, and from there the kids profile's playback options ate available. Very confusing, only found it by chance while chatting with the support people.

2T1Qka0rEiPr said 10 days ago:

Just reading the comments here, people seem to be relishing the thought of having an utterly ad-free world. As some have pointed out however, advertising can serve a useful purpose (see: signalling, market-for-lemons etc.).

From my perspective there are a number of issues with advertising which should be looked at - such as advertising to children, advertising of products with large negative externalities (e.g. cigarettes), and heavily targetted advertising (more because of the dystopian visions it brings, and with the potential complete erosion of privacy caused by the data-collection which it necessitates). But I believe a blanket "all adverts are bad" is probably a bit much. That said, giving users an alternative to receiving adverts seems like a great alternative to the pervasive data-capturing we have going on today.

safgasCVS said 10 days ago:

Hold up. Are we saying the average kid is watching over an hour of commercials per day. If that stat is true (which would be around 4 hours of tv per day give or take) the solution is not Netflix but pumping the brakes on tv. That’s an insane amount of tv

asdff said 10 days ago:

TV has been overconsumed since the 80s at least. When my parents grew up they only had a dozen or so stations, so if their show wasn't airing there wasn't a point to even turn on the TV.

makecheck said 10 days ago:

People applaud the lack of commercials because of the advertising industry’s self-inflicted wound of making obnoxious ads.

Ads didn’t have to try so hard to be WAY LOUDER THAN THE SHOW. They didn’t have to be trying to sell obviously-terrible things (“Get StupidDrugName! <happy music> Side effects may include: death”). They didn’t have to subject you to 12 identical copies of the same commercial in one broadcast. They didn’t have to greedily demand an increasing share, to the point of significantly reducing the length of a show. And that’s just TV...web ads have lots of avoidable crap too.

They got greedy, they made ads suck, now people have no use for them.

r00fus said 10 days ago:

> They got greedy, they made ads suck, now people have no use for them.

Many figured this was the logical conclusion, absent regulation.

Of course, the industry fought the concept of regulation or even self-regulation tooth and nail.

So here we are.

SpaceInvader said 10 days ago:

Year and a half ago[0] it was 230 hours. Are there more commercials in tv nowadays?

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15990559

jerf said 10 days ago:

My wife and I buy a couple of relatively popular TV series on Amazon to watch them without commercials. I've been watching the minute count on a "half-hour" TV series creep down over the years... 23 minutes... 22 minutes... current "best" record I've personally witnessed is 18 minutes, but stay tuned. If someone replied with a 16 or a 17 example I wouldn't be shocked. I'm wondering if the TV companies will experience some modicum of shame around the 15 minute mark.

SpaceInvader said 10 days ago:

Huh, I'm glad I don't watch tv at all. Such a waste of time and brainwash too.

pcmaffey said 10 days ago:

Shameless plug: I'm making an interactive kids' series: https://www.featherbubble.com

The idea is, like old-school picture books, to give space to the imagination, while introducing kids to a healthy relationship w/ technology. Hand-drawn illustrations, gentle interactivity, stories inspired by the natural world...

I'm currently beta testing the pilot episode online before distributing a fully-featured app. Feedback appreciated :)

stuart78 said 10 days ago:

I agree that this is good, and my older child has similarly little exposure to commercials as other commenters.

I found this quote, however, a bit shocking: "The average 2-5 year old is spending over 1,600 hours a year watching television"

That is over four hours each day watching TV. And in my opinion, the quality of most of the programming on Netflix, Prime, etc. is not substantially higher than commercials. Like broadcast TV, many are just long-form commercials in and of themselves.

14 said 10 days ago:

On the other hand my experience with YouTube and my kids is without an Adblock they get all sorts of commercials. Why does my 2 year old need to be exposed to a Toyota ad?

whitlock said 10 days ago:

The statistics cited by Local Babysitter are ten years old, collected in 2009 by Nielsen. This doesn't reflect how media has changed in the last ten years, along with how children consume it. It would be nice to have a more updated source explaining what has changed in the last ten years, since obviously Nielsen is collecting this data.

fuzzbuzz said 10 days ago:

Take this with a pinch of salt. Barbie™, Lego™, Paw Patrol™, Shop Kids™, and what not, have their own shows. Instead of watching a serie, with breaks of commercials, the kids watch 30 min commercials with some storie baked in it.

And then there is product placement in everything else.

Dont know if its better. It is deffinitly more "sneaky".

jdashg said 10 days ago:

This has been the case for decades. These days Transformers just has more lens flare.

hash872 said 10 days ago:

Next step- please, someone figure out how to block ads on the radio when I'm in Uber/Lyft. I find pure audio ads really obnoxious, and I really resent paying for the ride and also being subjected to some guy screaming about low low APR at his car dealership if you act now. If I'm paying for something- no ads, please

kyranjamie said 10 days ago:

A hugely positive statistic. Next, calculate the savings to parents, in advertised toys that haven't been bought.

jonstewart said 10 days ago:

It’s terrifying that kids watch so much TV that they could save hundreds of hours a year by not watching commercials.

fulafel said 10 days ago:

Many national public broadcasting companies also do this. It's good if you can have it without the disposable income for pay tv, it's often the low incone families that would otherwise end up exposing kids to a lot of ads because of single parent situatiob, lack of hobby opportunities etc.

2ion said 10 days ago:

Which then they spend watching 400 more hours entertainment with product placements. Infinite jest, this is.

kxter said 10 days ago:

I haven't had cable in over 15 years. I recently tried Pluto.TV on Firestick from my usual Netflix, CBS App watching routine. I quickly realized how many darn commercials regular cable viewers have to suffer through. The repetition is insanity. cringes in disgust

Balvarez said 10 days ago:

Give them time, They'll add commercials. At one time cable didn't have commercials.

xfitm3 said 10 days ago:

I think advertisements and overstimulation is going to lead to serious mental health issues.

It’s already presenting with people who lose their social media accounts or followers, and that’s arguably short term effects. We’ll need more time to see long term effects.

duxup said 10 days ago:

Even if just for my own sanity ... I like the lack of commercials and the resulting stable levels of volume.

My kids don't watch a lot of TV / screen time but when they do I want to be able to monitor it, and yet also maintain my own sanity.

moate said 10 days ago:

Oh my god this! Why is is so hard to balance the audio between commercials and shows?

duxup said 10 days ago:

It's not hard, they don't want to do it, they want loud commercials to get your attention.

LearnProg17 said 9 days ago:

I see a lot of shows have 20 mins content for 10 mins of commercials. Does this heading mean, that kids were watching 1200 hrs of TV a year? That is almost 3+ hours a day. Isn't that too high?

Note: I am not a parent.

sandwall said 10 days ago:

Yes, but this is offset by YouTube. My children are watching full length "unboxing" and (sponsored?) toy videos. -- Along with the worst "Disney" live action; bad music and they might be confused for NSFW.

avivo said 10 days ago:

I would love to see an experiment that randomly granted people Netflix or YouTube Premium, and explore health/wealth/etc. impacts going forward.

This could also be added as feature to existing large scale longitudinal studies.

philamonster said 10 days ago:

> found that kids 2-5 spend an average of 32 hours per week in front of a television set. Children 6-11 spend 28 hours in front of a television set

What?! Is this for real? Nowhere near these numbers in my house....

_raoulcousins said 10 days ago:

I don't have kids, but my sister's kids are watching Youtube, not Netflix. They're basically watching the same thing I am: product reviews, just different channels.

agentultra said 10 days ago:

And it also sails from one show to the next seamlessly so they have no pauses and have a hard time understanding what we mean when we say, "you can watch 1 episode."

nullwiz said 10 days ago:

Amazing for Netflix. But if we are talking about kids, lets just not forget how much garbage ideology exists in most Netflix series (or much of TV).

uhtred said 10 days ago:

How many hours do they spend mindlessly browsing Netflix though and not actually watching anything? And is that better?

lugg said 9 days ago:

Most of TV is one big commercial these days so I'm not sure you can really say this sort of thing.

mr_spothawk said 10 days ago:

Does the article address how many hours of television do you need to watch every day to see 400 hours per year?

anbop said 10 days ago:

If your kids are avoiding 400 hours of commercials a year, they are watching way too fucking much Netflix.

thorwasdfasdf said 10 days ago:

it's not just TV/shows you need to save your kids from. It's books too! Almost every kids book i open up (for my 4 year old) seems to have a Pizza, Ice cream and cookies as the 3 primary food groups that the kids or animals in that book eat. It's ridiculous.

jmpman said 10 days ago:

My kids made breakfast for Mother’s Day. During breakfast, I had them explain all the steps to my wife. One of them said they opened the “Ghost man roll”. Wait, what?? “You know daddy, the roll with the Ghost man on it”, thinking for a moment - oh, that’s the Pillsbury dough boy. A once classic American icon is now unnamed in the current generation. All thanks to NetFlix.

dboreham said 10 days ago:

It's like being back in my childhood in the UK (commercial TV was forbidden in our house).

OrgNet said 10 days ago:

PBS Kids is pretty good for that too.

throwaway55554 said 10 days ago:

That's over an hour of commercials per day? WTF? That's a LOT of screen time.

kouh said 10 days ago:

Unfortunately it also saves thousands of hours of life outdoors

meddlepal said 10 days ago:

Sub-headline: Kids waste those 400 hours playing Fortnite.

kxter said 10 days ago:

or Kingdom Hearts, or Mortal Combat... ;)

casper345 said 9 days ago:

Counter to this: Door to door salesman were the common occurrence. Now I do not know if the average person liked having people walk up there door, but how else would you sell something in competitive (arguable even un competitive) markets? Look at even ads in newspaper/magazines. One could argue ads took up wasted page space. What is the solution to advertisement alternatives in a capitalist society? (Genuine question)

I would also say this is different than restaurants who is able to sell locally or products that can be sold with media (i.e. cartoon shows that sell related toys).

meiraleal said 10 days ago:

As if their content wasn't also commercials.

QuackingJimbo said 10 days ago:

400 hours of commercial-watching is not being "saved"

If Netflix and other streaming services didn't exist, kids would not be watching 1600 hours of terrestrial TV with ads

jandrese said 10 days ago:

Citation needed.

There are plenty of studies showing how kids watch way too much TV or equivalents.


wil421 said 10 days ago:

They’ll save you from commercials but they’re not afraid of producing shows that are lower quality than some of the “good” commercials.

m463 said 10 days ago:

except for netflix autoplay previews screwing things up.

AnaniasAnanas said 10 days ago:

And so do torrents.

josh5555 said 10 days ago:

Now the commercials are hidden within the content of the show. Is that better? I'm not so sure.

afucher said 10 days ago:


jstewartmobile said 10 days ago:

It's nice to see that they've discovered a profitable way to make people retarded without resorting to ads.