Saturday, 17 September 2011

Commercialised childhood

I was reading a BBC News article this morning about the way advertisers are changing the way they advertise to and with children.  There are a thousand words I could write on the article theme alone, but they all paled into insignificance when I read this:

An Advertising Association spokesman said "the commercial world is a big part of what makes childhood enjoyable and fun."

When did the world become so skewed that anyone would say the commercial world makes childhood fun?  In my opinion children should be shielded from the commercial world for as long as possible.

Sure they require and enjoy things we purchase for them, but in terms of actually enjoying the commerciality which dominates our, not at all what I want for my child.  What makes childhood enjoyable and fun is play and exploration and social interaction and learning. 

The sad thing is that so many parents now think that..
Play = toys
Exploration = kits
Social Interaction = talking about tv or messaging on the DS
Learning = learning platforms

Don't get me wrong, I have all those things in my house; I adore toys, love kits and am a blogger so clearly enjoy online life; but I also know that for Rachel ....

Play = imagination
Exploration = nature and life 
Social interaction = talking and playing
Learning = endless questions

We don't watch adverts on TV and I only allow certain websites for Rachel, ones with advertising are banned.

The commercial world is a part of our lives and that includes Rachel but it is part of life education.  She has pocket money and has learned to save up for anything she'd like to buy.  We have helped her understand that credit cards aren't unlimited money but a way of spending money we earn and save.  She understands that many children in the world have nothing and she's extremely lucky.  

I accept that all children in the western world are commercialised, but I hope and pray it's not a key part of their enjoyment and fun.

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