From Publishers Weekly
According to reporter Thomas, modern marketers believe that "the moment a baby can see clearly, she becomes a consumer." Indeed, as investigative journalist Thomas discovered, some marketers start earlier, with an array of fetal "education" gimmicks designed to broadcast music and vocabulary to the mother's womb. Thomas interviewed a wide range of child development experts, product developers, marketing consultants and educators to write this well-researched exposé of the brave new world of American babies. Parents no longer believe that unstructured, baby-directed play and exploration is a valid use of baby's time. Parents buy videos and toys marketed as tools so that baby's every free moment can be a learning opportunity, even if there's no evidence that babies learn anything from these products. The phenomenon of KGOY—kids getting older younger—has passed from tweens down to toddlers and lap babies. Younger and younger children are watching more and more television and videos, she argues, and identifying with more "licensed character" products. Some of the problem lies with today's Gen-X parents, says Thomas, who's one herself. Having grown up with latchkeys and divorced parents, with only television for comfort, they want to give their own children everything—and marketers know how to play to their insecurities. Thomas ends with Pooh's plea for "Doing Nothing"—an idea many parents may be relieved to embrace. (May)
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About the Author
SUSAN GREGORY THOMAS is an investigative journalist and broadcaster. Formerly a senior editor at US News & World Report and co-host of public TV's Digital Duo, she has written for several publications, including Time, the Washington Post, and Glamour. She lives in Brooklyn with her two daughters, who are seven and five years old.