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Mark Wahlberg not a kid-friendly host for Kids' Choice Awards 

Mark Wahlberg has been selected to host the Kids' Choice Awards – a show aimed at kids ages 2-11 – during the marketing campaign for the latest 'Transformers' film, rated PG-13. Is he the wrong choice as host? 

By Correspondent / January 31, 2014

Hollywood superstar Mark Wahlberg set to host Nickelodeon's 27th annual Kids' Choice Awards.

Nickelodeon/PRNewsFoto

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Mark Wahlberg has been named the host of the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, leaving parents to deal with the issues of his inappropriate filmography and the expected hype for his upcoming role in the fourth Transformers film.

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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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Seeing the news, I wondered which role landed Mr. Wahlberg the job hosting a show with a demographic of children ages 2 to 11. Was it the bloody action thriller "Lone Survivor" or the one with a teddy bear (in the film "Ted") that spews obscenities while acting like a porn star?

Last year, Nickelodeon was the top cable network with kids ages 2-11 (3.1/1.0 million; +24%) and total viewers (2.0 million; +27%). Nickelodeon’s 2013 Kids’ Choice Awards managed to garner 12 million total viewers, according to the ToonBarn website.

I like Wahlberg, but wonder what the folks over at Nickelodeon could have been thinking when they selected him to host a show for that age bracket.

Then, I read further into the news stories and found that Wahlberg will star in Michael Bay's "Transformers: Age of Extinction," in theaters June 27. The film is expected to be rated PG-13, like all the others in the franchise.

A recent study published by Common Sense Media about kids ad viewing, which I wrote about just a few days ago, takes a hard look at how advertisers are “exposing kids to product placement in popular TV shows.”

The study, released last week, points to Nielsen data estimating kids ages 2-11 see approximately 24,000 ads per year, which seems enormous even before you realize that it doesn't count all the product placement in shows (i.e. "American Idol" judges drinking Cokes), embedded plugs in scripts of TV and films, or online ads woven into gaming experiences. 

For me, what stands out here is that the age 2-11 demographic mentioned in the study is the exact same viewership age spread as Nickelodeon viewers.

I’m a mom, so I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe everything happens for a reason, and in this case, the reason seems to be to get kids to nag parents to go see the new Transformers film.

According to a video produced by Anna Lappé for the watchdog group Corporate Accountability International, when it comes to kids nagging their parents to buy them something – from a new toy to a Happy Meal at McDonald's – research shows, “It takes an average of nine nags for a typical parent to cave-in and buy a product.”

Funny, I always though of nagging as my job.

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