What's running though my mind comes through in my walk / True feelings are shown by the way that I talk. ~MCA Adam Yauch 1964-2012

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood

This organization has been in the news lately due to it's recent crowning of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie as the worst toy of the year and speaking out against the fact that at least 1/3 of items in the Scholastic Book Club flyers at schools are not books, but toys. The CCFC was also the organization that filed with the FTC over the Baby Einstein series.

I had to check this organization out, mostly because I wanted to see if they were one of those alarmist, overprotective agencies that scope out Disney movies for naughty words in the grass. What I found on this site was actually eye opening.

Even before finding this site, I have wondered about what is happening to our kids today. Yes, I know, I know...every generation says, "I just don't know about kids today!!" but having worked with children in the past and presently, I am concerned. Part of the reason I pursued a career in child care and early childhood teaching is because I always thought it was refreshing how children see the world with new eyes, how everything is fresh and new to them and through them, no matter how jaded one becomes, the world still seems magical.

Sometimes I wonder if the only age group that applies to is infants and toddlers because quite honestly I feel that our children are becoming jaded themselves.
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These are some of the things I have noticed:

No matter how small the girl, she seems to have on low rise pants. Sometimes the added disaster of words on their ass are present. Why am I seeing more and more little girls dressing like hoochie mamas? I saw a little girl at the mall in high heels during Christmas Break. No..she wasn't wearing a dress and there were HEELS...big girl heels made for a little foot.

I have seem so many kids with Nintendo DS's or cell phones at the table in restaurants, that I want to scream!

Many children don't know how to play creatively anymore. Trust me, I have seen it. Give them free reign with arts and crafts or a box of loose Legos and some of them look at you like you are asking them to explain Einstein equations. They simply don't know how to freely create without a Lego Set with instructions to tell them what to create. Look at many of the Legos and Lincoln Log Sets....there is no room for free creativity, just the one creation. I took all of my sons Lego kits and threw them into one box....they had no choice but to get creative with them.

Recently I presented a paper house craft to a group of 2-6th graders, thinking it would be pretty cool for them to color, cut, and assemble them. Most of them turned up their noses and said "Ummm, no!" Afterwards, I overheard one say, "I'm bored" while they other said, "Well, duh...there's nothing to do!"
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I have been on a mission lately to bring things back to basics in my house. I have been noticing a disturbing trend in television geared towards children. I have to completely agree with the CCFC....through our children, advertisers and companies are trying to create super consumers. Just today, I asked my son to watch some Cartoon Network and tally up how many commercials directed towards children to buy something were present. In 45 minutes he counted 19 with averages to about 2 ads per minute. This was around noon so I imagine after 5pm, it amps up even more.

So what do we do as parents? Well, since I have expressed my new direction for this blog, I will post what I as one parent is doing to counteract consumerism in my household and how I am trying to bring us back to basics.

However, right now, I need to close as this post is long and it is getting late.

Take care all and good night.

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