Lying to children is good for them

7 03 2009

Somone often tells me:

Adults you know and trust will not only lie to you, but they’ll do it because its fun.

There’s stories about the bogeyman, Santa Claus giving presents, zombie Jesus, the Tooth Faerie trading scheme, and of course, what exactly really did happen to Rover when Mummy forgot to check her rearview mirrors.

Is fun the only reason why we befuddle the youth in this way?

Well, now scientific studies have given us another reason: It works!

When 186 four-year olds were given carrots called “X-ray Vision Carrots” ate nearly twice as much as they did on the lunch days when they were simply labeled as “carrots.”

Animal experiments on carrot-marketing were stopped by the ethics commitee
Early carrot-marketing studies conducted with standard animal models were halted by Cornell’s ethics commitee

…Oh… dear…

I think that might fall under “false and misleading claims” line found in in most advertising codes.

I don’t think this quite matches up with calls to improve schoolyard scientific literacy by not only promoting the concept of “X-ray vision” (that’s not how x-rays work!) but also that eating lots carrots is good for your eyes.

You can’t try to promote good nutrition and make children more aware of how the food choices they make affect them by just simply to get them to follow the whizz-bang empty marketing jargon that got us here in the first place.

Lying to children is NOT good for them.

Image: Carrots! by marmotto (CCbyA-NC)

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3 responses

10 03 2009
A Free Man

As a parent, I’d like to thank you for justifying lying to my kids.

12 03 2009
zayzayem

I don’t think that was quite my point….

I really don’t think lying to your kids is not healthy in the long run, no matter what the motivation.
Teach kids imagination, not self-delusion.

22 04 2009
A spoonful of sugar helps the sugar go down « It’s Alive!!

[…] marketers try this trick with adults all the time, this time it’s the sugar industry touting “healthier sugar” […]

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