Saturday, November 29, 2008

Parents complain about toy advertising

I'm not a big fan of toy advertisements. They are obnoxious and I think designed to make kids feel bad about not having whatever toy that is being advertised. I guess, with some kids, it works. I see the commercials influence Alex, but we don't buy him very many toys as it is. It isn't that he doesn't get anything, but he doesn't always get the latest and greatest thing that is splashing across the TV screen. It seems to work for our family.

When it comes to family life, I've already figured out that we aren't really normal, and after reading the Fox AP story: In Lean Economic Times, Toy Advertising Under Fire, that notion is reinforced. What I take from this article, is that these parents haven't taught their kids that just because it is on TV, doesn't mean you have to have it, or that you even want it.

I think the biggest problem is what the kids are watching on TV. Alex isn't a TV junkie, but he still watches TV. I encourage the Disney channel. Their advertising is the tamest of them all, basically just advertisements for other Disney shows and videos. Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are the worst. Every five minutes kids are bombarded with must have it latest piece of junk ads. The same is true with the cartoon blocks on broadcast TV, like on Saturday morning.

So, what is a parent to do? Basically, don't buy the stuff that is advertised, at least not regularly. Then, focus on gifts that will stand the test of time. A great gift for all of our children was the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Floor-Standing Wooden Easel on sale for $35. I've never seen this advertised on TV, and the kids love it, and they'll be playing with it for years. I guess it helps that since we rarely buy advertised products, we can say, and have said (to Alex) "Do we ever buy you what you see on TV?"

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