The bliss of no TV commercials for my children

This story is a year old but I’m going through my backlog of saved links, and it’s a nice look at the screen problem and the commercialization problem and the violence problem with kids media.

Electric Youth: Why Susan Linn and the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood Terrify Child Advertisers – Boston Magazine – bostonmagazine.com.

I love that Sweden does not allow commercials aimed at children.  We only watch the public kids channel anyway – and shows streamed from the US without commercials – but I only appreciated the quiet we live in when we visited Turkey earlier this year and the kids saw all these commercials for toys, and they were both fascinated then bored and kind of horrified.

“Oh, no!  Not commercials again!”

They’re still plenty affected by consumerism, but it comes through friends and merchandising, which seems less harmful to me.  So my son loves Star Wars because that’s what his friends play.  So my daughter wants to watch Winx Club (she doesn’t get to) because that’s what her friends play at school.  I can deal with that. It’s better than getting the messages mainlined from the amoral heart of the advertising industry and the timeless world of international toy conglomerates. Instead, they get the characters and stories filtered through play, transformed into a mythic shape, and I don’t care what the mask of the heroine looks like at that point.

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No commercials aimed at kids, no birthday present ideas

Our daughter will turn three quite soon, which means we are shopping for birthday presents. And have no idea what to get her (besides the bike, of course, and, please, don’t tell her).

I couldn’t quite figure the lack of inspiration out. Surely there must be hot toddler toys, something we haven’t thought of before, something that has been drilled into our heads out of the ether.

Then I remembered that we live in Sweden, and Sweden does not allow commercials aimed at children. And the state children’s channel doesn’t even have commercials, even if it has plenty of crappy cartoons – PBS this is not.

So NK does not come home from daycare talking about new toys or new shows (this might happen later, especially if we ever sign up for the Disney Channel, which we will not, I say firmly, stamping my foot). All of her connections come randomly, as in her great aunt sends her Angelina Ballerina books in English and then we later find at the bottom of a bag of hand-me-down toys an old Angelina Ballerina VHS tape in Swedish. So there. We love Angelina Ballerina.

But this is not the way the toy companies want it. My daughter does not get bombarded with snappy jingles and cartoon characters. And while Swedes grow up plenty materialistic (NK already yearns to open her birthday presents), they do not have consumption drilled into them through the TV when they are two-years-old.

I love this. I must admit, however, that in our long, hazy, lazy summer, I would not mind knowing exactly what to buy my daughter. Something with a jingle. Something that would make her cool at daycare. Something she would forget about in two days …