Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Son Is Not a Billboard, Nor Is He a Market!

Adweek has reported that by the time an American child is three years old, s/he will recognize, on average, 100 brands. This has to do with television and movies, of course, but also the burgeoning "digital device" toys that have now targeted the 0-3 "market".

This disturbs me greatly. As readers of my blog know, I am no fan of capitalism, particularly the imbalanced capitalism of the U.S. that has "socialized losses and privatized gains" (see left for full quote). Companies will do anything, it seems to suck us dry- even acting as parasites on our babies.

So I am firming up the rules surrounding my son starting here and now. Before moving to Ohio, there was no TV in our home. Now it is a focal point in the main living space. It will be either off or he will be in another space during waking hours. There is plenty of time for him to be exposed to what television offers- but all too often, he has witnessed glimpses of human cruelty, crass commercialism, or age inappropriate scenes before we manage to change the channel. And frankly, most of the problems I see are from commercials! What they are selling, this family is NOT buying.

We already have a firm rule that we do not want ANY licensed characters (be they Elmo or Spongebob- doesn't matter) in my son's life- no toys, no clothes, no books. We are not going to the children's parades that only serve to promote these characters and push more things for us to buy. No thank you. If he receives a toy, clothing item, or book with a Disney, Pixar, or any licensed character on it, we donate it to a homeless shelter or other charity. We have already offloaded 4-5 items he has been given, despite telling people of our preferences.

It irks me that often on the news, human beings are referred to as "consumers" as a matter of course- as though that is our sole purpose and activity. I certainly do not identify that way, and I want to keep my son in an ad-free zone as long as possible. I want him to learn actual human values first, before being exposed to exploitation and competition over cooperation all in the name of the all-mighty dollar.

Anyone else out there taking a stand like this? How do you navigate the outside world, which seems hellbent on indoctrinating our children?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a parent, but I do interact with kids a lot. This link is horrifying, but it's an interesting read.


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