If you're one of the 5.5 million students in a school with Channel One News, you have to watch ads every day as part of your taxpayer-funded class time. And one thing you'll see is ads for websites operated by Channel One's parent company, Alloy Media and Marketing. One of those websites is Teen.com. Despite the name, Channel One advertises Teen.com to both its junior high and high school students. So I stopped by Teen.com today to see what was being promoted to a captive audience of children as young as 11. Here's what's on the homepage:
Glee bad girl Santana Lopez wasn't lying when she said "Everyone knows my role here is to look hot." But in a recent spread for men's mag, FHM, Naya Rivera trumps her gleeky character's sexy outfits (remember the nurse costume?) by wearing, well... basically nothing! The girl's 24 years-old, so we'd say it's fine. But, is anyone else reminded of the controversial GQ photoshoot with Lea Michele, Dianna Agron and Cory Monteith? If it wasn't okay for them, then these pics definitely are pushin' it, too. Are Naya's pics too sexy for a Glee star? [Warning: They're all hot, but you probs shouldn't look at them at school and/or work!].
Huh? I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm thinking if the pictures are not safe for school, then Channel One "probs" shouldn't be promoting Teen.com in schools, either.
And if pictures of Ms. Rivera posing in her skimpy underwear isn't enough, Teen.com tells kids where to head for more:
"Wanna see more scandalous Naya pics? Pick up the November issue of FHM today!"
Now some might argue that today's culture is so pornified that teenagers see images like these all the time, but that misses the point. Shouldn't the standard be higher for what is shown and promoted to children in classrooms? Remember, we're not talking about sex education designed by educators, but sex being used to sell kids to Teen.com's advertisers (in this case K-Mart). Research links this type of sexualization to some of the most pressing and common mental health problems for girls including eating disorders, low self-esteem, depression and poor sexual health.
There is simply no justification for school districts forcing their students to watch ads for Teen.com...or anything else on Channel One. Remember, schools with Channel One lose a full week of instructional time to the broadcasts and a day just to the ads! That's why so many schools are waking up to the fact that Channel One is a bad deal for students. Since 2005, the network's student audience has shrunk by more than 25%.
That's good news, but we shouldn't celebrate until every child's classroom is free of compulsory commercial viewing. So if you're the parent (or grandparent or sibling) of a middle or high school student, ask if his or her school has Channel One. If they do, share this post with that school's administrators and urge them to spend a few minutes on Teen.com. That alone should be enough to get the plug pulled on Channel One.