As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 3


Notes: Marketing to Babies and Toddlers

Babies and infants are spending more and more time in front of screens which means less time playing, exploring, reading and interacting with others.

= In typical day, 68% of all children under two use screen media (59% watch TV, 42% watch a DVD or video, 5% use a computer, 3% play a video game) for an average of more than two hours a day.(1)

= Two-thirds of zero- to six-year-olds live in a home where the TV is on at least half the time, even if no one is watching, thus depriving them of a home environment where play thrives.(2) Children who play while a television is on nearby have more difficulty concentrating; this in turn may affect a child's cognitive development.(3) Children in households where the television is on most or all of the time are read to less by their parents.(4)

= The American Academy of Pediatrics “urges parents to avoid television for children under 2 years old.”(5)

= Teletubbies was marketed as educational for children as young as one even though there was no research to back up that assertion. Teletubby gift packs have been distributed in hospitals to newborns. Teletubbies has engaged in toy promotions with both Burger King and McDonald's.(6)

= Babies are also targets for computer software derived from television program or movies such as Sesame Street Baby & Winnie the Pooh Baby. Such computer play may actually be harmful to babies and toddlers because it takes them away from the active, multisensory exploration of the world essential to their healthy development.(7)

= Marketers now regularly target children before they can walk or talk. According to kids marketing guru, psychologist James McNeal, “At six months of age, the same age they are imitating simple sounds like “mama,” babies are forming mental images of corporate logos and mascots.”(8) According to marketing industry research, babies are requesting brands as soon as they can speak.(9)

= Clothes, mobiles, crib toys and even diapers featuring brand logos or licensed media characters such as Elmo or Spiderman are now commonplace. This type of marketing helps ensure that babies will recognize and request similarly adorned products ranging from cereal to stuffed toys as their verbal skills evolve.


1. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
2. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). Electronic Media in the lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers, Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Http://
3. Healy, M. (2004). Young TV watchers may be at risk for later attention problems. Los Angeles Times. May 24. Http://
4. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2003). Electronic Media in the Lives of Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
5. Http://
6. Linn, S. (2004). Consuming Kids: The hostile takeover of childhood. New York: Free Press, pp. 41-60
7. Alliance for Childhood. (2000). Fools Gold: A critical look at computers in our childhood. College Park, MD: Alliance for Childhood.
8. McNeal, J. & Yeh, C. (1993, June). Born to Shop. American Demographics, pp 34-39.
9. Hood, D. (2000). Is advertising to kids wrong? Marketers respond. Kidscreen, November 15

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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