Can I just unplug the TV until Christmas?
It seems every Christmas, when my kids sit down to write their letters to Santa, I get surprised by some out-of-the blue request. An Air Hog's RC Zero Gravity Micro Car? I had never heard them mention it before. A Swim to Me Puppy, really? Then the episode of SpongeBob ends and on come commercials for, you guessed it, the car and the dog with goggles. No wonder the Zhu Zhu Pets are sold out. The commercials are on all the time.
I think I should unplug the boob tube for two months. But wait, that would require I spend more time talking to my children. Maybe we should make it DVDs only in our house until Christmas (I kid, people! I actually like talking to them, really.)
It was about this time last year that the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood sent a letter to the CEOs of 14 toy companies asking them to market to parents, not kids, this holiday season to save parents some grief.
The Toy Industry Association of America responded with this defense: "If children are not aware of what is new and available, how will they be able to tell their families what their preferences are?"
Brace yourselves folks. With the industry facing another year of dismal sales, their phasers are set for STUN to dazzle the kids and to KILL for the dent they want to put in your wallet. You will no doubt be hearing about it.
-- Sharon Kennedy Wynne