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Just thought I'd share this link to an insightful commentary by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, "

The Hostile Takeover of Childhood". I have read the Juliet Schor book he references, and it absolutely changed our view of TV, childhood, etc. Our biggest battle against commercialism has been centered around Disney Princesses. I think we have struck a balance, and so far it is working for us. We allow the movies, they can have coloring books with princesses, but no more clothing, food, toys, etc... (so what do I have as my avatar? a cartoon character...go figure) (Also, if you see my blog, you'll notice dd5 is wearing a princess shirt -- don't call me a hypocrite! it was a "pre" no Disney Princess clothing purchase...she's going to wear it until it is in shreds, I'm sure because she knows it is the last!)

 

And related to this subject, a while back there was a post about the organization Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood-- I'll give this group another plug :)

 

Additionally, all of you "gone-cable-free-ers", I think we're joining your ranks today! (If I can get the courage and the TIME set aside to call C*x and listen to their multi-leveled attempts at keeping us plugged in...)

 

 

Edited by BikeBookBread
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We are a cable free household. Although we have a television it can only be used to watch movies. Our kids aren't even allowed to do that. (Unless they are sick, at which point it seems like an okay time for a movie.)

 

Being television free ranks as one of our best parenting decisions. It also makes the whole no logo thing much easier, because our kids just aren't connected to that world.

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I could not agree more. My kids have never been allowed to watch TV. It is interesting now that they are older how few wants they really have.

 

I'm so thankful that I made that decision when they were born, and Dh has stuck by me the whole way.

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Interesting article. I think that the parents are to blame as well, IMHO. My kids watch tv although I am picky about what they watch and when they watch. We as parents don't need to give in to the commercialization. Just because our kids want to watch Disney princesses or buy the t-shirt doesn't mean WE have to buy it. We don't have to buy them thongs(yuck!) or two piece bathing suits. We can make choices for our kids, and make them follow our lead but unfortuately many parents give in to their children/outside influences.

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Additionally, all of you "gone-cable-free-ers", I think we're joining your ranks today!
Yay! Another convert! We didn't have cable or even an antenna when we moved in and we just never bothered to get one. We do watch DVDs occasionally. So we're not TV-free but we are commercial-free.

 

I REEEEEEEEALLY hate commercials. And I don't buy them anything with "free marketing" on it. Although my parents do occasionally and I allow that. I've also noticed that the clothes and bed sheets with marketing (cartoon characters, brand names, etc.) on them tend to be of lower quality. And the Disney books are mind-numbing twaddle, IMO.

 

And I don't allow my children to whine for things in the store. And they don't. After all, whining has NEVER worked with me.

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I think it is a parenting issue as much as anything. If parents/grandparents/etc didn't provide the money to buy all those things, those things wouldn't be sold. Just because my dd likes Tinkerbell doesn't mean I have to buy her everything with Tinkerbell. And then when she tires of Tinkerbell, it doesn't mean I have to buy all new everything with the new favorite like the moms of friends do. We allow some things in moderation. I don't mind a princess shirt once in a while (usually 1 per size) or a Thomas train sheet set for my son that he has now used for 6 years. But I refuse to turn her room into a pink monstrosity with everything Disney or my son's room into something similar for some boy character. Even when we were TV free my children were exposed to those things by family and friends. They received them as gifts at parties and Christmas.

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I think that the parents are to blame as well, IMHO.....We can make choices for our kids, and make them follow our lead but unfortuately many parents give in to their children/outside influences.

 

Absolutely! I was talking to the mother of one of my dd5's friends -- they met at church. We were talking about TV, movies, appropriateness, etc. She actually told me (and I think believed it), "I let her watch lots of stuff...the bad language, s*x (etc...) go right over her head anyway." I just love this sweet little girl, and her Mom is nice, but *wrong*. I would love to just sit her down and have a loooong talk with her. Parents so easily give into what their kids want -- to keep them "happy" and quiet.

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I am so happy that I am not the only one who thinks like this. We have a no character policy in our house as well.

 

DD watches very little tv, and what she does watch is limited to 3 shows (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, and Little Bear). She is getting old enough to let other people know if something is on the tv that she isn't allowed to watch. She told my mom the other day, "Nana, mommy doesn't let me watch Dora". I think it is very cute.

 

My initial crusade started when I was pregnant and let it widely be known that I preferred not to receive "character" clothing. This later filtered into toys and other things. Why spend $20 on a crappy toy just because it has Dora/Mickey/Wiggles on it?!?!?!

 

The hard part is choosing a birthday theme because 95% of them are based on a character/show. I just bought invitations (I'm not creative enough to make my own) and my choices were: under the sea, princess (generic) and butterflies/flowers/lady bugs. We went with the latter.

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My initial crusade started when I was pregnant and let it widely be known that I preferred not to receive "character" clothing. This later filtered into toys and other things. Why spend $20 on a crappy toy just because it has Dora/Mickey/Wiggles on it?!?!?!

 

 

:lol: I just couldn't see myself, a 38 year old woman, toting around a diaper bag with a cartoon character on it. It's my bag, not the infant's!

 

I've "brainwashed" my girls to believe that "character toys" are junkie (they really usually are) and break really easily, and if we save our money by not buying them, we can use our money for something different and really cool.

 

I think that my friends thought I was strange. One neighbor jokingly called me "the Ludite of 'Almost Canada, ND Air Force Base'" because I only wanted my girls to have wooden toys (no electronic ones), didn't want my girls to watch TV or even DVDs -- which they did watch in moderation but I wish they hadn't now due to scientific research -- (Grandma and Grandpa, bless their hearts, spent about $100 on the ENTIRE Baby Einstein DVD collection at Costco). One gal around the corner actually was scornful of me once because of my non-commercial toy policy...she really thought I was harming my then-ONE YEAR OLD b/c I had so few battery operated toys, and didn't want her to see Mickey, Pooh, and Disney Princesses...like I was destroying her childhood. Well, she had plenty of exposure outside of our home; our own home just isn't saturated with the junk.

Edited by BikeBookBread
TYPO! :(-
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So, have any of you faced this--a child who, somehow, despite the lack of cable or any relevant movie viewing experiences, absorbs a character or show, seemingly out of the ether? Ds is a Star Wars fanatic, despite the fact that he never saw the movies, tv shows or owned a single star wars toy. (His father, in typical burst of fatherly joy, encouraged this, and now he has seen all three original movies:glare: but I digress...)

DD is in the throes of a Disney Princess and Barbie obsession that makes me want to hurl, but had never owned a Barbie (still doesn't) or seen a Disney Princess Movie (darn Grandparents, they never listen to me...) previous to falling into the pink clutches of evil.

 

It seems around here anyways that the obsession somehow comes first and I can't figure out from where it comes. Of course, once it is expressed, every relative in a 400 mile radius rushes to fill the void. GRRRR!!:cursing: I really try, but all my grand theories fall flat before the joined forces of Grandparents ( and sometimes Dh).

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So, have any of you faced this--a child who, somehow, despite the lack of cable or any relevant movie viewing experiences, absorbs a character or show, seemingly out of the ether? Ds is a Star Wars fanatic, despite the fact that he never saw the movies, tv shows or owned a single star wars toy. (His father, in typical burst of fatherly joy, encouraged this, and now he has seen all three original movies:glare: but I digress...)

DD is in the throes of a Disney Princess and Barbie obsession that makes me want to hurl, but had never owned a Barbie (still doesn't) or seen a Disney Princess Movie (darn Grandparents, they never listen to me...) previous to falling into the pink clutches of evil.

 

It seems around here anyways that the obsession somehow comes first and I can't figure out from where it comes. Of course, once it is expressed, every relative in a 400 mile radius rushes to fill the void. GRRRR!!:cursing: I really try, but all my grand theories fall flat before the joined forces of Grandparents ( and sometimes Dh).

ONce upon a time I was the parent that requested no Disney at my baby shower and refused to allow any cartoon characters. Then, when my ds was somewhere between 2 and 3 it was like he was obsessed with Sponge Bob. He wasn't allowed to watch it but for some reason that big smiling yellow character just captivated him. The more I tried to turn him away from it, the worse it got until I gave in and let my mom buy him a pair of sponge bob house slippers. Then, he wasn't so interested. I don't know why that happened, but it did. Recently he went thru a Bakugan obsession after a friend showed him how to play the game with the little ball things. We didn't allow the TV show or anythign other than playing the game with friends, but he still was almost obsessed. He is 9 now. I dont' know why, or where it came from. I willsay though that my parents have been the worst about it. Yesterday my mom called wanting to know if he wanted the fleece blanket that has Bakugans on it as well. I said no without asking him.
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So, have any of you faced this--a child who, somehow, despite the lack of cable or any relevant movie viewing experiences, absorbs a character or show, seemingly out of the ether? Ds is a Star Wars fanatic, despite the fact that he never saw the movies, tv shows or owned a single star wars toy. (His father, in typical burst of fatherly joy, encouraged this, and now he has seen all three original movies:glare: but I digress...)

DD is in the throes of a Disney Princess and Barbie obsession that makes me want to hurl, but had never owned a Barbie (still doesn't) or seen a Disney Princess Movie (darn Grandparents, they never listen to me...) previous to falling into the pink clutches of evil.

 

It seems around here anyways that the obsession somehow comes first and I can't figure out from where it comes. Of course, once it is expressed, every relative in a 400 mile radius rushes to fill the void. GRRRR!!:cursing: I really try, but all my grand theories fall flat before the joined forces of Grandparents ( and sometimes Dh).

 

Yes. My boys were fascinated with Spiderman for awhile. They have never seen the movies, books, cartoons, etc. I figure it came from them seeing Spiderman stuff everywhere outside of our home.

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I think this is one of the points of Mr. Whitehead's article: that even though parents want to "protect" their kids from these influences, it is nearly impossible! We did our level best to keep our girls commercial free for as long as we could. But how does that work when even in the grocery store there are "Elmo" vegetables (yes, veggies in the PRODUCE section), "Nemo" oranges, Disney princess cereal, not to mention the junk at the mall, bookstores and "weekly reader" book flyers (in schools) with so many kids' books co-branded with a movie or TV show. AAACKKK!!!!

 

I've told so many people before, we're not into cloistering, but maybe we should be!

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......I've told so many people before, we're not into cloistering, but maybe we should be!

 

As long as you're joking. :D I've known some kids that were cloistered. These super nice girls were so cloistered they didn't even feel comfortable with others in their conservative church. The saddest thing I ever heard about them was that they never felt comfortable until their mid teens when they went to an ultra conservative summer camp. Both my dm and I have know individuals who went wild once they escaped their overly controlling parents.

 

That's why as my ds (now 15) gets older, I try to compromise on things that repulse me or I think is overpriced with what is in with the teens he runs with with. This isn't morals I compromise on, this is clothing like name brand shoes and decorated clothing or video games. Sometimes the compromise is no more than he has to pay the difference. Sometimes it's time limits. Right now he's working on getting a pair of orange plaid shorts. :tongue_smilie: I do have my limits. I may eventually let him buy them as long as I never have to see them.

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As long as you're joking. :D

 

Oh, I am... :) It's just sooooo DISCOURAGING ...when you see the little children (talking 5 and 6 yo) in your own good, Bible-believing church - the children of parents who are active in the leadership -- dressed like the latest fashion model right off the runway in Paris (nothing against style, just SO GROWN UP, or covered from head to toe in cartoon characters. Maybe I'm just raw from a recent VBS experience...teaching a song that I just CRINGED at, to little kiddoes that went like this: "Jesus you're my superhero....you're better than Spongebob....Barbie....Pokemon...." on and on and on. What are we doing to our kids!?! :confused: It's just so meaningless!

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I've been called a meanie for not allowing The Wiggles or any other nauseating baby band in the house. "They like it!" I've been told. Yeah, well I don't. Dd and I both agree on The Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain and Zorro as far as the electronic babysitter goes, so that's what we have. There are so many things that aren't going to drive me batso, so why would I want to "invest" in stuff that will!

Anyway, that's why children have grandparents. They can feed the kids coco pops and let them watch the horrible cartoons they aren't allowed to watch at home. If they ever stay over, and that won't be any time soon.

 

Rosie

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I have to say that I have a limited non-commercial policy in my house. Of course my version of limited and someone else's are two different things.;) There are things that I wish that I'd said no to, mostly on the purist side of me. I would have said no to all videos if I could have had my way. But, I don't want my kids to be too weird and in our culture that would be it.

 

I think having some video stuff in moderation is acceptable now that my girls are 6 and 8. They did have some interests like Strawberry shortcake, Ponies, Littlest Pet shop etc. I allow the toys but I don't allow the clothing and videos. The books are right out! (horrible offensively bad writing-offensive in mind-numbing content not objectionable)

 

I'm so thankful that their older cousins who give us hand-me-downs are not into that stuff either. They are into some name brand clothing but not the licensed products.

 

I personally think it's depressing when all the kids can pretend at the playground is a tv show. I've witnessed it and it's depressing. There are no original thoughts happening. It's like someone else is controlling their mind. It also makes it virtually impossible for other people to join in if they don't know the show.

 

As far as gifts go....if it doesn't meet my values then it goes. I don't feel obligated to have my child influenced by advertising or marketing just to be nice to someone else. I just tell my dds to say thank you for the present. If it had been grandparents (or family members who would 'offend' again) I would tell them the reasons why I don't like something and tell them that I don't want it in my house. I have to say that the things that their friends and grandparents choose are usually fine, but I have said no to barbies. :D

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Maybe I'm just raw from a recent VBS experience...teaching a song that I just CRINGED at, to little kiddoes that went like this: "Jesus you're my superhero....you're better than Spongebob....Barbie....Pokemon...." on and on and on.

 

EEEEEEEW! Yuck!

 

Was this a commercial VBS curriculum?!?! I wanna know what program to avoid like the plague.

 

...And, you know, in a lot of ways this has just never been an issue for us. My kids have never worn character clothing (though I did allow Disney pajamas -- our favorites were the cotton long-johns with Peter's armor printed on them from Narnia, so they doubled as costumes), and while there've been some character items here and there, we just don't have and have never been tempted by much licensed paraphernalia. We have cable, but the kids have never had free access to the television... They know who those characters above are, but they'd have gagged right along with you at that song.

 

So yeah, if that song and experiences like it had informed my opinion, I guess I'd be pretty vehement too! :) I'm really, really glad it *doesn't* reflect our experience...

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Yes. My boys were fascinated with Spiderman for awhile. They have never seen the movies, books, cartoons, etc. I figure it came from them seeing Spiderman stuff everywhere outside of our home.

 

My son, too, loves Super Heroes but has never seen a cartoon, movie (except The Incredibles) or comic book of them either.

 

Same with my dd, she loves Hannah Montana but has never seen the show but her stuff is everywhere and if the doctor's office is offering HM stickers, that is what my daughter would want.

 

My kids don't tend to get obsessed about toys or characters, so I don't pay much attention. They are all about riding bikes, dancing, etc... normal, non-commercialized play so if my ds wants to pretend to be superman for 15 minutes I really don't care.

 

One thing, I let them watch the disney movies (and yes, the Disney Princess ones too) because I think they are cute :eek: and I have not seen that watching them makes my kids want to buy the characters or become obsessed with the characters. When dd plays princesses, she doesn't even usually pick one of the disney ones. :)

 

It is hard to ignore the marketing to children but for the most part, we try. No licensed clothing or food. My ds has some dress up superhero stuff and pj's, my dd likes the generic princess stuff. They don't really ask or seem to care. Yay!

 

I can see why some families don't watch tv, I really can but for my family, I don't mind little bits here or there. My ds loves to watch Popular Mechanics for Kids and my dd likes movies and when they go to their grandparents they watch whatever they want :glare: but, again, my kids don't seem to obsess about things so I am ok with it.

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My husband found it annoying that a friendly little neighborhood kid, the same age as my son, talks only about a certain cartoon character, and his father was going on about how he (the boy) 'has to' have everything with that character (bedding, bicycle, etc). Then he was talking about this issue with another friend of his, who felt that was entirely normal. It was sort of an enlightening moment, to realize how different people's views of this are.

 

My kids talk about sort of imaginary superheroes. They are especially fixated on the Super Duper from Homer Price. I don't think any other child knows what on earth they are talking about, but luckily no one has said any "who's that?!" type of comments. Ha! They do know who Elmo is, and point him out whenever they see him, but I don't think they are genuinely that interested in having Elmo stuff. I try to keep them out of the toy aisles in stores.

 

I find it very hard to find shoes for my kids without characters. I once had to let it go for winter shoes for my daughter, but I settled on Dora boots because she looks more or less like a real child, she is brown skinned, and she is an "explorer"/outdoorsy, unlike Disney Princess stuff, which have more sedentary, non-realistic-looking adult blonde women on them. I don't think my daughter ever really noticed; she seemed to pay more attention to the monkey on them. ;)

Edited by stripe
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unlike Disney Princess stuff, which have more sedentary, non-realistic-looking adult blonde women

 

Well, let's see...

 

Belle is a brunette ballerina who is obsessed with books, helps take care of her absent-minded inventor father, stands up for herself, and sees past the surface to the heart of those around her.

Ariel is a red-headed swimmer.

Mulan is an Asian warrior-maiden.

Pocahontas is a Native American nature-lover.

Snow White has dark hair and is at her happiest keeping house for a bunch of uncouth miners.

Jasmine is... well, okay, she's just a pampered princess. ;o) But she's Arabic (definitely not blonde) and loves adventure.

And Cinderella is blonde, but works hard as a scullery maid / maid-of-all-work...

 

I'm just teasing you really... :) But I think the Disney princesses can get a bad wrap because they're an easy mark. I think they *can*, in moderation, be part of a healthy childhood. :)

 

That said, I'm totally with you at being horrified at the idea of a child "needing" products just because they have some character on them! But I feel that way about any time a child decides they "need" things that are truly just wants and luxuries, and the parents give in without a second thought. I try to talk to my kids about needs vs wants, and quality vs advertising from a very young age. That, and I dislike "tacky" a great deal, and most licensed kids' stuff is the epitome of "tacky".

 

I guess we've been lucky with shoes. We haven't had too much trouble finding simple, classic styles without characters for the kids...

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My biggest complaint about Disney Princesses is that when Miss Beautiful was a toddler, she would bring me a picture of Cinderella or Snow White and want me to fix her hair EXACTLY the same way.

 

Now, I'm pretty talented, and I gave it my best shot, but she always ended up frustrated. Why couldn't I see that her do wasn't exactly the same? It was no use trying to explain that they were drawings and their hair actually defied gravity. She always held it against me anyway.

 

Miss Bossy would not be caught dead within 10 feet of a princess, so I have the opposite problem with her. Her hair (She insists we all call it her mane) is always a tangled wreck.

 

You just can't win for losing.

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Well, let's see...

 

Belle is a brunette ballerina who is obsessed with books, helps take care of her absent-minded inventor father, stands up for herself, and sees past the surface to the heart of those around her.

Ariel is a red-headed swimmer.

Mulan is an Asian warrior-maiden.

Pocahontas is a Native American nature-lover.

Snow White has dark hair and is at her happiest keeping house for a bunch of uncouth miners.

Jasmine is... well, okay, she's just a pampered princess. ;o) But she's Arabic (definitely not blonde) and loves adventure.

And Cinderella is blonde, but works hard as a scullery maid / maid-of-all-work...

The Disney Princess shoes I saw had two or three blonde, busty women. Somewhat like these.

 

I do not want my daughter to sell herself into a life of slavery, taking care of a beast. Brunette, or no. My daughter has never watched any of those programs. I don't think dreaming about Prince Charming is what I want for my three year old. And there are blonde Arabs, so I don't care about that.

 

As I said, I've only had to give in once on her shoes, because the weather required immediate action! And the Dora shoes were the least offensive to my tastes. I prefered that they were a non-passive girl child to a pampered member of the aristocracy mooning over a man.

Edited by stripe
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Funny how the topic of commercialization of childhood usually turns into a Disney Princess discussion! It just shows me how entangled Disney has become in our everyday lives. They have some marketing machine, huh??

 

Thanks for all of your insights, everyone. I've enjoyed this thread. I'm glad I posted it!

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We have a satellite dish, but we have the weeniest package ever, so we don't get any fun kids' shows at all and haven't for years.

 

My kids probably spend too much time on their computers, but they don't watch any television. The younger two watch about two movies a month. And that's it.

 

We've all gotten used to it. Dh and I watch two or three shows regularly, the news once in awhile, and more movies than the kids do.

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So, anyone have to fight dh on the issue? My dh was raised on tv and frozen dinners (my MIL is the most wonderful woman in the world--this is not a slight of her!) and he thinks that hours of television a day is just fine. He is pretty sure that my obsession with keeping the kids away from mind-numbing commercial laden tv is just as silly as my concern that they not eat sugar all day long. :rolleyes: I keep telling him it is part of my homeschooling philosphy...he generally gives in to that arguement, lest I begin telling him in detail about all the studies, experts, theories etc.:D

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So, anyone have to fight dh on the issue? My dh was raised on tv and frozen dinners (my MIL is the most wonderful woman in the world--this is not a slight of her!) and he thinks that hours of television a day is just fine. He is pretty sure that my obsession with keeping the kids away from mind-numbing commercial laden tv is just as silly as my concern that they not eat sugar all day long. :rolleyes: I keep telling him it is part of my homeschooling philosphy...he generally gives in to that arguement, lest I begin telling him in detail about all the studies, experts, theories etc.:D

 

 

Oh yes, that is a constant source of tension in my house. We have no cable so the kids don't watch tv but they can pick from any one of the hundreds of disney movies DH has bought them. He thinks I'm wayyyyy too prude-ish (is that a word?) in my child rearing. I can't shelter the kids from their own dad so I just do my best to educate them the best I can and they understand that Daddy and I have different views on these things. It stinks but I can't do more than that.

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I allow the toys but I don't allow the clothing and videos. The books are right out! (horrible offensively bad writing-offensive in mind-numbing content not objectionable)

 

 

 

So on spot. The books are a joke. No writing value whatsoever. The only character books we have were books first and then turned into TV shows... Little Bear and Winnie the Pooh.

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I agree wholeheartedly with the article on the commercialization of our kids. When ds was younger, we did purchase many toys and educational type toys. I soon learned though that he was happy playing with much fewer toys. I have always limited his TV to PBS kids shows and some selected others when we did have satellite. I am happy to report though that we just cancelled the satellite service a month ago:) I have found that it has been much easier to say no without the tv;) We do have an antenna and subscribe to discovery education. As a result, he mainly watches discovery education and selected dvds:) I have also severely curtailed his viewing time and whola, he is reading a lot more:)

 

I also have resisted buying the latest clothes and gadgets. So far we are wii and xbox free. Although, at times I am tempted to get wii fit or to explore if they have anything educational, but I always come to the conclusion that there are other avenues than the xbox or wii fit. I guess I am afraid that he will only want to play games and not want to read. I do allow occasional game sessions with Oregon trail and several other educational scholastic dvd games:)

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Just thought I'd share this link to an insightful commentary by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, "The Hostile Takeover of Childhood". I have read the Juliet Schor book he references, and it absolutely changed our view of TV, childhood, etc.

Which book did Juliet Schor write? I looked at my library's online catalog for The Hostile Takeover of Childhood and found that it's written by Susan Linn (Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood). The article you linked does state that, but it also mentions "author Juliet Schor" but not which book she wrote (unless I missed it--I just skimmed).

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Which book did Juliet Schor write? I looked at my library's online catalog for The Hostile Takeover of Childhood and found that it's written by Susan Linn (Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood). The article you linked does state that, but it also mentions "author Juliet Schor" but not which book she wrote (unless I missed it--I just skimmed).

 

Juliet B. Schor wrote Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture. I just have recommended that book so many times, that I assumed he quoted the title in the article, not just her! :) Sorry!

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We have never had cable, but the kids do watch movies and such. It is funny though that the kids LOVE character toys like Star Wars, but they have never seen the movies (not totally true, my dd saw two this year at age 9). The clothing was easy for us, because we simple told the kids from the beginning that whatever they wear shows the world what is important to them. They understand that clothing with no logos or with 'good messages whatever that means to you are clothing choices that are better. I do allow them to buy character shirts now and then for sleepwear, but not to wear out. It works for us!

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I didn't read the article. I guess I should. While I have been pushing for getting rid of the cable, I fail to see what is wrong with buying my little girl Tinkerbell or Jasmine jackets and Spongebob bathing suits. The fact that she likes these cartoon characters is endearing. She needs jackets and bathing suits anyway.

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I didn't read the article. I guess I should. While I have been pushing for getting rid of the cable, I fail to see what is wrong with buying my little girl Tinkerbell or Jasmine jackets and Spongebob bathing suits. The fact that she likes these cartoon characters is endearing. She needs jackets and bathing suits anyway.

 

I love that my daughters each have their favorite pet character too... You're right: that is endearing and part of childhood! I loved loved loved Snoopy and Woodstock as a child, and honestly, I still do! Even my Dad (who is almost 79) has his favorite characters: Mickey and Snoopy. I even still buy Peanuts cards for my Mom and Dad for any occasion possible. The editorial isn't so much about character branding (which honestly has been around for years and years), as it is about the overwhelming nature of marketing to kids. To whet your appetite, here are the first two paragraphs:

 

Children are in greater physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual danger now than at any other time during the life of this nation--and the threat is coming from a multi-billion dollar industry that is using the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform children into profitable consumers from cradle to grave.

 

 

 

It's no surprise that the pre-teen demographic has become a major draw for marketers and big business. There are presently 52 million kids under the age of 12 in the United States. These kids spend $40 billion of their own money on everything from clothes and music to toys and electronics annually, but more importantly, they influence an additional $700 billion in parental spending.

 

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I love that my daughters each have their favorite pet character too... You're right: that is endearing and part of childhood! I loved loved loved Snoopy and Woodstock as a child, and honestly, I still do! Even my Dad (who is almost 79) has his favorite characters: Mickey and Snoopy. I even still buy Peanuts cards for my Mom and Dad for any occasion possible. The editorial isn't so much about character branding (which honestly has been around for years and years), as it is about the overwhelming nature of marketing to kids. To whet your appetite, here are the first two paragraphs:

 

 

Children are in greater physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual danger now than at any other time during the life of this nation--and the threat is coming from a multi-billion dollar industry that is using the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform children into profitable consumers from cradle to grave.

 

 

 

It's no surprise that the pre-teen demographic has become a major draw for marketers and big business. There are presently 52 million kids under the age of 12 in the United States. These kids spend $40 billion of their own money on everything from clothes and music to toys and electronics annually, but more importantly, they influence an additional $700 billion in parental spending.

 

Thanks. I can see the point there. TV an marketing is all about teenagers and making kids want to be one. Why? Because teenagers can make money but have no responsible things to spend it on. I hate, hate, hate it that my 6 year old had no more Disney cartoons because teenage shows took over Disney Channel.
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didn't read the article. I guess I should. While I have been pushing for getting rid of the cable, I fail to see what is wrong with buying my little girl Tinkerbell or Jasmine jackets and Spongebob bathing suits. The fact that she likes these cartoon characters is endearing. She needs jackets and bathing suits anyway.

 

Carmen: I think the point of the article is not so much about denying a child their attachments to childhood characters, but about denying support to an industry that uses abominable tactics to make our children consume, consume, consume. I encourage you to read it and the books the previous posters have mentioned!

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Now in VA, there was a great ecucation channel just for school teachers from 10 - 2. I have copies of excellent programs from art history to mathematica, to geography. I loved using that resource. (Is it still there? I'm in MI now)

 

We do not watch TV either now, even with 3 TV's in the house. Haven't for 5+ years. Too much time needed for outreach, piano, walks, devotions, studies, and read alouds. Need I say more?

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We cancelled our satellite service almost four years ago, but my kids watch Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel a few times a month at my parents' house. I find the Disney channel (and just about everything Disney) annoying, and somehow my opinion has influenced my kids. My DD despises Hannah Montana, High School Musical, and the Jonas Brothers. None of my kids will sit through Disney movies. If anything sentimental happens (or a character breaks into song) they start making jokes (I think this comes from watching too many of my MST3K DVDs, though :tongue_smilie:).

 

Not to say they are completely cynical; our whole family loves the Pixar movies (I know they're technically Disney, but they're not as cheesy as the "regular" Disney movies). Our one exception to the regular Disney stuff is Lilo and Stitch, because it's funny, and it's not about a beautiful princess trying to get a man. And it actually has an original storyline, not another rehashed fairy tale/legend/myth.

 

I don't forbid Disney stuff in our house, though. My 3-year-old, who has never seen The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, or Beauty and the Beast, LOVES Disney Princess products. She has a nightgown, shirt, sandals, and she wants to have a "princess cake" on her birthday. It makes her happy, and since we don't buy her the crappy plastic toys, I don't think it's a big deal.

 

(It goes without saying that the above is JMHO. We're into the classic Looney Tunes cartoons at our house. :lol:)

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Oooh I have a funny about Hannah Montana and my daughter. Just a quick backround... we don't have cable and my daughter never gets to see the Disney Channel unless she is at someone else's house. She didn't even know who Hannah Montana was but she was curious because she saw so many girls at church wearing Hannah Montana stuff. She was probably about 9 or 10 at the time. She did a search at the library on the computer and ordered some Hannah Montana cd's and started listening to her music and when I heard the songs, I went and pulled out some music from my collection and put it in the cd player in the car. I put in a Joe Satriani cd (instrumental guitar music) and she was totally blown away!! Fast forward a few months and I overhear my daughter telling another kid, "well, I used to be really into Hannah Montana, but since listening to Joe Satriani I think her music pretty much stinks now." :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Maybe I'm just raw from a recent VBS experience...teaching a song that I just CRINGED at, to little kiddoes that went like this: "Jesus you're my superhero....you're better than Spongebob....Barbie....Pokemon...." on and on and on.

 

:001_huh: That is definitely a horrible song.

 

I know what you mean about the clothes. I have a friend whose DD goes to public elementary and after the first day of school she called me to say one word: Prostitots. Makeup and heels in first grade. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.

 

I've been called a meanie for not allowing The Wiggles or any other nauseating baby band in the house. "They like it!" I've been told.
Ugh. I have the same view. We forbid Wiggles, Teletubbies, and even -- forgive me -- Barney. Everyone thinks we're the devil incarnate. I've been told numerous times that I'm ruining their childhood. :glare: I just can't stand that stuff. And my parents brought over a Barney video but put it back in their car when my DH started making puking and gagging sounds to the tune of "I love you, you love me..." :D

 

And don't even get me started on that Hannah Montana stuff. I boycotted Walmart all last winter after walking in there and being visually assaulted by that stuff. The Pepto-Bismol pink everywhere made me positively nauseous. :ack2:

Edited by VanessaS
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I think this is one of the points of Mr. Whitehead's article: that even though parents want to "protect" their kids from these influences, it is nearly impossible!

 

Which is why I believe discussion is the key. Early and often.

 

We started with points that were easy for our boys to understand when they began showing a preference for heavily advertised products.

We explained the purpose of advertising (to get people to choose one product over another), and talked about what it must be like to have a job in advertising.

"What could you tell someone about your favorite toy to make him *really* want to buy one of his own?"

 

It has been an ongoing conversation all these years that went from simple observations to longer discussions about more blatant, sometimes dishonest advertising tactics.

These days my guys have a pretty good understanding of the lengths to which a company will go in order to sell a product. They notice slogans that aren't quite right, packaging that is designed for higher sales, appeals fear and insecurity, etc.

 

Recently my teenage son even pointed out my own desire to own something I don't really need.

"Will the actual story be any better if you're able to read it on a Kindle than if you just buy a used copy at Half Price Books?"

:glare:

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