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Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture…
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Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young…

by Susan Gregory Thomas

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This book was a very sobering look at how companies have changed marketing strategies to target younger and younger children and how our society has let them do it. Very well researched (something like 15-20 pages of notes/bibliography) and well written. The author provides lots of clincial research on toddlers learning (as a parent, the TV section was particularly interesting and depressing) and a balanced look at the toy/book/TV industry. A must read for any parent.
  walterqchocobo | Apr 8, 2013 |
A reasonably in-depth presentation of recent research into marketing to children. One of the main points the author circles back to is the effects of television on developing brains--that TV, even in the background, disrupts children's ability to focus and entertain themselves, and the recent hypotheses that the rise of autism and ADD is at least in part due to the hypnotic TV preventing them from making the neural connections they need. (There's also the hypothesis that babies aren't so much entranced by TV as being put into low-grade focal seizures, but the author is at least good about distinguishing scientific research vs. theories.)

One could argue that the book could go into more depth on other forms of marketing, but really, TV and licensing agreements are about the long and short of it. There's even a chapter on books, bookstores, and libraries, and how characters--Barney, Dora, Thomas, etc--have infiltrated them, because the prevalent culture and attitude is "at least they're reading." (The author did have nice things to say about libraries, particularly that we continue to buy real books and recommend those, and we're not beholden to publishers and licensing agreements.)

We all know, without reading this book, that anyone marketing directly to toddlers is sleazy, and the whole defense of "it's not marketing! it's just brand awareness!" doesn't hold water. But the author presents the research fairly, without a sense of "be outraged!" that could easily color the work. Obviously she has an agenda, but it's not crammed down the throat. No major assertions, no [b:call to arms|772890|Call to Arms (The Corps #2)|W.E.B. Griffin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1178222760s/772890.jpg|758942], but a decent presentation of a subject worth further exploration. ( )
  librarybrandy | Mar 29, 2013 |
Her description of the Gen X upbringing and how it impacts our views of motherhood were really sharp. I thought it was just me! Very good sociological observations.
  ptzop | Nov 22, 2008 |
A great book that underscores yet again why children shouldn't be exposed to too much TV and other "media" influences at too young an age. I liked the author's clear summaries of the scientific research (as well as the unscientific assumptions) in this area, as well as her characterization of Generation X parents. I recognized myself in her depictions, and will leave my TV *off* until my twins are at least three. ( )
  Terzah | Feb 24, 2008 |
You must read this book. Right now.

This book looks at how "spokescharacters" are directly marketed to babies and toddlers, at how "educational" toys and videos are marketed to parents, and how Generation X's quirks influence their parenting (and susceptibility to marketers). This book hit me hard. I was amazed to see my own parenting style so neatly described in her discussions of Gen X parents. This book is packed with studies and insider information that add some muscle to her discussion, rather than relying on rhetoric alone. As I read it, I kept reading snippets aloud to my husband (so many that he now feels he doesn't have to read it). Husband finally said "so what does she want us to DO?" She does give a clear outline of action at the end, actions on the personal, community, and governmental levels, which help keep the book from being a tirade. ( )
  SelimaCat | Nov 24, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618463518, Hardcover)

An investigative journalist examines how marketers exploit infants and toddlers and the broad, often shocking impact of that exploitation on our society

It’s no secret that toy and media corporations manipulate the insecurities of parents to move their products, but Buy, Buy Baby unveils the chilling fact that these corporations are using -- and often funding -- the latest research in child development to sell directly to babies and toddlers. Susan Gregory Thomas offers even more unnerving epiphanies: the lack of evidence that “educational” shows and toys provide any educational benefit at all for young children and the growing evidence that some of these products actually impair early development and could harm our kids socially and cognitively for life.

Underlying these revelations is a dangerous economic and cultural shift: our kids are becoming consumers at alarmingly young ages and suffering all the ills that rampant materialism used to visit only on adults -- from anxiety to hypercompetitiveness to depression.

Thomas blends prodigious reportage with an empathetic voice. Her two daughters were toddlers while she wrote this book, and she never loses sight of the temporal and emotional challenges that parents face. She shows how we can help our kids live at their natural pace, not the frenetic clip that serves only the toddler-industrial complex. Buy, Buy Baby helps us fight the power marketers wield by exposing the false fears they spread.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An investigative journalist examines how marketers exploit infants and toddlers and the broad, often shocking impact of that exploitation on our society. It's no secret that toy and media corporations manipulate the insecurities of parents to move their products, but this book unveils the chilling fact that these corporations are using--and often funding--the latest research in child development to sell directly to babies and toddlers. Author Thomas also reveals the lack of evidence that "educational" shows and toys provide any educational benefit at all for young children, and the growing evidence that some of these products actually impair early development and could harm our kids socially and cognitively for life. Underlying is a dangerous economic and cultural shift: our kids are becoming consumers at alarmingly young ages and suffering all the ills that rampant materialism used to visit only on adults--from anxiety to hypercompetitiveness to depression.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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