I was walking through a store with my children the other day and we were talking about gifts for my daughter’s 7th birthday. I told her that we would walk through the toy aisle and she could tell me what she wants and I would come back later and buy something.
She couldn’t look beyond the displays that they have set up with the electronic Leapster toys. They have handheld laptops and handheld video games, as well as consoles to plug into your television. Then you walk into the electronic section and they have the nintendo ds, ipods, games galore, dvds and more than any child could resist. It is just such a shame that these “electronic” toys are such a big part of these stores, because even if you have the best intentions in mind, it is hard to walk past these aisles and deny your child what he/she wants.
These is why I am wondering if we, as parents, have any chance to keep our children protected from the media giant of today? We are sold on these “educational” toys that are disguised video games to get your child hooked. But more than getting your child hooked, it gets the parent hooked. It is “helping” us make decisions that we will regret later. For example, you are a mother of a four year old and he or she gets a leapster for their birthday. You are convinced this is a good thing because it will teach them the alphabet and counting among other really great things. However, your child isn’t going to be playing the leapster at ten. This is going to be considered a “baby” toy by that time, and now you are used to this time at home when you are cooking dinner and they can play their game, or riding in the car, or waiting at a doctor’s office without the impatient and tired child. But when they want something bigger, better, newer, more advanced, and then you have to make real decisions about what they play, how long they play, in what capacity do they play. These are all decisions that we, as parents, made long before they became a pre-teen playing Halo for hours on end!