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Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds Hardcover – May 8, 2007
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Susan Gregory Thomas uncovers and exposes a threat to every child, and the adult that child is to become, that most of us are only vaguely aware of: the unbelievably extensive corporate attempt--clearly successful--to turn our children into unthinking consumers motivated only by status.
Thomas is tenacious in her demonstration of the lengths to which companies go in order to turn our sons and daughters into automatons substituting an addictive desire for the next "must-have" item for the development of imagination and learning.
Most of us were aware that advertising aimed at children was unwholesome, but Thomas shows the myriad ways in which such advertising is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Here it is possible present only a small sample of the lines of attack used not merely by mega-corporations, but also by "parent-friendly" companies. Their armamentarium includes manipulation by findings of academic psychologists, neurological investigation, licensing ploys that limit choice and raise price, collusion by education organizations and revered operations like Sesame Street and Baby Einstein...the list goes on and on. This one book makes the reader a virtual expert on the subject and an able opponent against those who would brainwash your children. (Thomas shies away from the term, but it is impossible not to see the practices she exposes in such terms.)
The importance of this book, and its potential to improve our children's lives, is huge. It is not going too far to say that Susan Gregory Thomas is the Rachel Carlson challenging the practices she describes. Buy, Buy Baby is compulsively readable and spellbindingly interesting, but these are the least of its virtues.Read more ›
The first book shows how toy manufacturers, educational publishers, and TV studios are making toddlers brand-conscious at very early ages. Almost immediately, brand-consciousness translates into desire for branded products that people a toddler's world at the supermarket, in the public library and the preschool. and at home. What parent is strong enough to deny his or her toddler a Disney product or a PlaySchool educational toy?
The second book is a thoughtful look at the impact of this commercial onslaught on very young minds. Thomas describes current research showing that Baby Einstein and other "educate-my-toddler" videos scramble rather than clarify the way toddlers process information. Toddlers respond to love and attention from real people, not from toys with flashing lights or CD's whose visual images may fascinate but at the same time may slow development.
Thomas admits to being a busy, stressed parent herself who must stretch to find enough time to play with her two daughters. So she makes play count, letting her little girls develop their imaginations, invent games, and just have fun. Technically-advanced toys and beguiling videos appear to have only a small place in the Thomas home.
Buy Buy Baby is an eye-opener. Parents and grandparents should read its ageless message: commercial products that impinge on the toddler world are more of a burden than a benefit during the first three years of life. In no way do they substitute for intimate parent-child relationships.
The book really hit home for me when Thomas recalled a marketing exec's reply to a question about whether or not it might be disconcerting for a child to hear its disembodied mother's voice in a toy. "I guess we have to say that we put the mother's voice in because the research said that babies' and toddlers' social interaction with mother enhances learning."
Well thank god for the research! I laughed so hard I blew cold coffee out my nose. Idiots! How much did they pay for that bit of information? Have these marketers ever spent time with babies? I was ready to brush the whole thing off as silly marketing speak but as I read the rest of the book I became more and more disturbed. That corporations market their products to babies and toddlers is reprehensible but until laws are past to protect children between the ages of 0 and 3, marketers will continue to exploit them. Research lets them do that job well.
Parents, me included, are not prepared to deal with the psycho-emotional manipulation that this 20 billion dollar a year industry produces. With other products, if I succumb to marketing, it's me that looks silly in the too tight pair of jeans. But this is different. When parents succumb to toy marketing it's their babies sitting in front of the TV watching videos. Before reading this book, I thought that babies watching TV was no big deal. Before reading Fast Food Nation, I thought eating a couple Big Macs was no big deal. I've changed my mind.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Like NurtureShock, this book says plainly what Early Childhood Educators have been trying to say for years. Read morePublished on May 25, 2012 by Mary Lavers (in Canada)
"Buy Buy Baby" reminded me very much of some other books I have read on the topics of consumer marketing to children (Consuming Kids: Protecting Our Children from the Onslaught of... Read morePublished on May 8, 2012 by CrimsonGirl
This book was so awful, judgmental, and contradictory, it's hard to know where to begin with a review. Let me just give you a few examples.
1. Read more
This book, while well-meaning, does seem likely to cause a lot of thoughtful parents to become hysterical about the dangers of marketing. Read morePublished on January 1, 2012 by M. Godon
I recommend this book to anyone who is already convinced that the practice of marketing children's products is bad and want sensational accounts to support their opinion. Read morePublished on March 21, 2011 by A Dukes
"Buy, Buy Baby" is perhaps the best, most thoroughly documented, footnoted and researched book on infant marketing today. Read morePublished on January 17, 2010 by Amazon Customer
Susan Gregory Thomas's Buy Buy Baby tells of the brave new world of the infant industrial complex: the final frontier of creating brand-loyal consumers from cradle to grave. Read morePublished on February 16, 2009 by Megan
Marketers market at children. Advertisers use and target children. Makers of toys, cartoon shows, and more know that children are a lucrative market. Read morePublished on January 4, 2009 by Abhinav Agarwal