Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I mentioned in a recent blog about the pervasive effect of advertising. Not having TV here, I have become used to a world without it. For the last two days I've been bombarded with it, and it was offensive. It was stupid (i.e. tried to be funny but wasn't), it was misleading, it was everything I dislike. I am so glad to be away from it again.

What effect is it having on people? Obviously it depends on the individual, but it must have some effect, even if you are fully aware of what it is trying to do (brainwash you.) The effect it is having on those who are unaware must be considerable.

But the worst of it was on the children's channels. A relentless loud, garish display of plastic toys of the worst kind. Even the channels intended for the youngest viewers bother me. The programming itself varies. Some of it it quite good, some is rubbish. But they all have the same awful commercials. Right now of course it's aimed at Christmas gifts. How many hundreds of dollars of rubbish can you buy your kids.

The latest Barbie house is an ugly pink mess, if you see it for what it is. I am fairly sure that's how it'll be seen after a few days by the recipent too. There's only so many times a table centre that flips over to be a different meal can be fun. I could easily make a comedy sketch of the squeeing girls on the commercials, but I know that people like me who see the ridiculousness of it are in the minority. I actually see danger in it.

There was some electronic toy, I didn't catch the name, but it seems to capture the child's face in the screen, and allow her to apply make up to it. The child in the commercial was maybe 9. At the most. The buyers will be younger. This was being shown between "toddler" shows.

I'm not opposed to technology in toys. I think some of it is wonderful. Lucian has a Doodle something or other, similar to an Etch-a-Sketch. That amused him for hours with me drawing cats and pirates, and letters and numbers. He definitely prefers it to a colouring book and crayons. Sian prefers it too - no crayon on the walls.

Everything modern has its pros and cons. I think we as those responsible for children MUST be discerning about what they watch, what they play with. It's all about MESSAGES. Does anyone pay attention to the messages kids are being given, or am I on my own here.

What I'm seeing so much is that powerful message to BUY MORE STUFF aimed as hard, if not harder at children than at adults (and it's aimed hard enough there.)

You can't buy a happy childhood in Toys R Us. Stuff will not make their lives better any more than it does ours. And the sheer fakeness of TV commercials won't teach them anything good.

My grandchildren will mostly be getting books for Christmas.

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