I happened across this piece at Blogging Baby, yesterday, titled Collect them all! (or not), and of course I had to stop and read it, because I suffer from PTPD (Post- Traumatic Pokemon Disorder). I know that phrase, and so I wanted to see what it was all about.
Turns out, it wasn’t about Pokemon at all. No, it was an article about research on how children perceive advertising, and boy, was it ever informative. The Blogging Baby writer, for example, felt compelled to highlight this bit:
A task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) has recommended restrictions on advertising that targets children under the age of eight, based on research showing that children under this age are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased.
Children under the age of eight are unable to critically comprehend advertising? Really? I have a child under the age of eight. He’s still working on always putting his underwear on frontwards.
Point being, I seriously doubt that any parent of a child under the age of eight was astounded to discover that said child might not be up on all the latest deconstructive reasoning techniques when it comes to commercials.
Both articles go on to discuss what I suspect is also not news: Children will ask repeatedly for coveted items, and they do so because about half the kids report that their nagging results in the parents giving in eventually. Giving in gets the kids to stop begging, which puts an end to your bleeding eardrums. People advertise to children not because children have buying power, but because they have nagging power with those who do have the money.
I don’t know; call me crazy, but rather than complaining about the state of capitalism and its inherent trappings, we as parents can take charge: Exert some control over what our children are exposed to (in our house, for example, I often make the kids mute the television during commercials… and I hear some parents ban TV altogether, but let’s not get crazy); lay down some rules and enforce them (if I hear you ask for that toy one more time, I will make sure you never, ever receive it from me or anyone else); and only spend our hard-earned dollars on toys which foster creativity and important ideals, such as alien experimentation.