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Modern Parenthood

Super Bowl ads blitz kids online (+video)

As the Super Bowl approaches, parents may have concerns over how much the advertising will affect young viewers. A new study by Common Sense Media reveals that marketing to kids is already immeasurably invasive in everyday activities, beyond what they see during the game.

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The website Armor Games sucks kids right into this process, via the Doritos "Crash The Super Bowl" contest, in which five fans have a shot at having their commercial play during the game.

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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The top item on the Armor Games site is an ad bearing the image of a little boy in a cowboy hat next to the words, “Help us win the Doritos contest. VOTE for Cowboy Kid!”

Of the five finalists’ videos, two have kids as the main characters 

I let my 10-year-old son Quin click on the videos, which were all pretty funny, until we got to the one in the series. Business Insider has announced the last video we clicked on, titled "Finger Cleaner," by Thomas Noakes of Sydney, Australia, as the projected winner.

I wish I’d seen the Business Insider story on this particular video before I ever allowed my son to click on it.

Business Insider declared this video “absolutely disgusting” adding “It's shockingly sexual. In the worst way possible.” That assessment is right on the money.

The premise is this: a man, his fingers covered in the orange Dorito powder – the result of wolfing down a bag of chips – sticks his finger into a hole in the wall to get it “cleaned.”

At the end of the video, viewers see it revealed that on the other side of the wall is a man who loves Dorito dust. Ick.

I was relieved when my son handled the gross factor by saying, “Oh that’s disgusting. Do you know how many germs that is? Plus the engine grease under the Dorito dust would make it taste bad. Next!”

You can be darn sure that you will not see a bag of Doritos in this house on Super Bowl Sunday, especially if that ad is selected. I don’t want that image rattling around the heads of my other sons, who might not dismiss it as quickly as my youngest. 

In an effort to change the discussion from Doritos to anything else I asked my son if he notices the ads online.

“It’s just too overflowing sometimes,” said Quin, who loves YouTube for its science and gaming videos, and often plays games online because it’s more affordable than buying a game system.

“On YouTube I usually choose the “skip ad” option and pass them,” he said. “Here’s the thing, sometimes they don’t have the SKIP option.”

That is “the thing” alright.

Thanks to this study parents have a lot to digest and much of it will not sit well.

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