Pre-School for Consumerism

Saturday morning commercials make me sick.

Every 10 minutes my eyes and ears are subjected to a barrage of flashy colors and sound effects so rapid and insistant that I wonder if I'll have a seizure.  Advertisements for children have none of the information or subtlety of ad's designed for adults.  They follow a simple straightforward formula:  Make it bright, make it flasy, make it insistant, and make it regular.  And every single child sitting in front of that TV will need that thing whenever it flashes before their eyes.

There was once a time when toy makers were honored and revered for their ability to bring joy to little children.  They would lovingly craft dolls or blocks with their own hands, and when completed they would be handed directly to the smiling child.  Such toys became beloved family heirlooms passed on from happy child to happy child for generations.  Those days are unfortunately long past.

Giving a child a toy these days does not bring joy to them so much as it prevents a public tantrum.  The need instilled in their young minds allows for nothing less.  They are educated through noise and insistance, and they learn well.  The commercials they see are loud flashy and insistant, and this modus operandi is transferred to their own behavior. 

Ironically, many of the children are in front of the TV being subjected to these behavior-training ad's because it gives their parents some moments of peace and quiet.  While parents are conversing with a cup of coffee thinking they are getting a fleeting moment of peace, their children are being taught to be even louder and more incessant.  Parents just want quiet and toy companies know they'll spend money to keep that quiet.  So it's just a matter of triggering the right amount of noise at the right time, the toy gets bought, the kid shuts up, and everyone's happy. 

The toys themselves are advertisments even.  Batman action figures can't beat the badguy unless they have the latest wing-flipping cape with removable grappeling hook.  And barbie's life just isn't complete until she has the tripple decker home fully furnished with 3 wardrobe closets, two cars and a motorhome.  Where dolls once taught young girls to nurture, and building blocks taught young boys to build, toys now teach our children that success means having.  The results of this education are apparent now with families climbing into a debt that they will never see the end of in their lifetime.  Their house, car, motorcycle, boat and furniture, all an illusion of success that will eventually drag these people into desperation and dispair.   

As the parents sit at the kitchen table eyes bloodshot on their single day-off and quietly discuss how to get the credit cards under control, they are thankful at least that their children are content and quiet while watching Saturday morning cartoons.  They are working harder to pay for what they've allready purchased, and they see their children less and less.  Parents sacrifice their time with their child for the good life, and quiet their own guilt with the occasional offering of a gift.  All th while these children grow up aquiring less of the values of their parents, and more of the values of their school teachers, baby sitters, nannies and favorite television characters, eventually becoming alienated to those who brought them into the world.

So what does a child with a disjointed moral compass that only understands desire and consumption grow up to become?  What will they turn to when the methods they used to get what they want no longer serve them?  If they are lucky they will get beyond the faults in their upbringing and raise more happy debt-ridden families.  If they are not so lucky they will eventually fall into the most immediate form of desire and consumption.  Drugs. 

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About Helmsman

Importing a Vox Blog.
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One Response to Pre-School for Consumerism

  1. Vixx says:

    Clearly I think you're right – you read the entry I made only yesterday! – and it is indeed disgusting how badly advertising on kids' TV is monitored. However, not all parents use TV as a babysitter, and I consider myself to be amongst that group. My three year old still learns – vocabulary, about different cultures and places etc. – through TV and only yesterday, we were talking about why some people couldn't walk and had to use wheelchairs. TV gives us the opportunity to discuss and make sense of what he's seeing and I know we're not the only family who does that.V xx

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