CALLING JOE CAMEL How can the tobacco industry undo the damage done to impressionable children by cartoon camels that smoke cigarettes? With antismoking cartoon characters. A study of kindergartners through 12th-graders reports that children are more likely to believe cigarette health warnings when they are accompanied by a cartoon critter. Which critters? The study tested walruses, penguins and bears.
VIRTUAL BABY SITTERS A new report suggests that as family playtime continues to shrink, parents who once used their televisions as baby sitters are now doing the same with their home computers. More than half the British parents polled in the study (commissioned by toymaker Hasbro) spend four hours or less each week playing with their children. Only a third of the adults restrict the time their kids spend on computers, and a third say they have no concern for their children's safety while they are online.
MOM, TELL HIM NOT TO STOP While most of us have suffered the mindless wrath of a schoolyard bully, a study to be released in the journal Psychological Bulletin indicates teasing can be constructive. According to Professor Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkeley, teasing is a form of playful provocation. Most kids do it to show affection and learn social rules. By middle school two-thirds of teasing is done to build friendships.
--By Daniel S. Levy