Toys For Saps

History Professor Gary Cross has another view of the tainted toy crisis: Why are parents buying such crap in the first place? Why does the toy marketplace need 56 different varieties of Polly Pockets? He notes: When I looked at Mattel’s list of recently recalled toys, it became obvious that something more than our dependence on foreign goods or even the physical safety of children is at stake here. The problem is that the toys and the business model that creates them has so little to do with the needs of children and their parents. In the seventies there was a movement to ban advertising directed at children, but the industry lobbied Congress, which prohibited the Federal Trade Commission from regulating ads aimed at children. He concludes:
Perhaps it’s time to rethink the decision to allow the unrestricted advertising and cartoon promotion of toy lines that has produced year-round marketing and piles of plastic toys, bought and soon discarded. After all, we ought to be just as concerned about the impact of character licensing and toy advertising on our children’s psyche as we are on protecting them from ingesting leaded paint and magnets.
::New York Times
Image by Polly Becker for New York Times

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