Summer in the city
You know those kids who stuff themselves with candy and refuse to budge from the Barbie dolls or the cable TV when they visit your offspring? You’ve got it, the ones who don’t have those things at home because they’re unfortunate enough to have (shudder) ideological parents. I must admit I started off like that. Luckily, it didn’t last long. Reality was against me. But I can’t help admiring the determination of those who are lasting it out, against all odds (and logic).
Children are continually bombarded with advertising that encourages them to help their parents’ part with their hard-earned cash. It also often manages to persuade them to consume products that are less than healthy, while offering them a distorted picture of life in the process.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and shield your kids from this (though I’m still not linking to Fred Lapides’ site). Trying to completely prevent their exposure to the colorful temptations around doesn’t really prepare them for the challenges of modern life (such as visits to their friends’ less educational homes). Anyway, my girls have reached the age that they can just go and buy whatever they want themselves, if their allowance allows it (Oh, an unintentional pun!). I’m not sure what the idealists do at this point. Probably what I did when my eldest was two – give up.
If pointed out, children are quite capable of understanding when they’re being manipulated by the Media, sometimes even better than adults.
The latest rage among Israeli girls, and mine are no exception, is an Argentinean soap opera for kids called “Chiquititas”. It’s about something quite irresistible for young girls (I do remember, young lady, I was also young once, even if it was in ancient times), orphans in an orphanage. If this is not enough, they also sing and dance!
I console myself that they’re learning a bit of Spanish (it's got subtitles, it's not dubbed); the little one is practicing her reading on the show’s Hebrew website; and they are getting very savvy downloading related movie clips and games. A positive feature about this show is that the same actors change parts from season to season, unlike adult soaps, and my kids discuss this fact exhaustively. So I know they’re not confusing the story with reality.
My eldest (not yet 11) read a newspaper article in Maariv (which she found through google, no less) critical of the effect this program is having on youngsters. She regarded the article with the utmost contempt (I’ll make a blogger out of her yet), but ever since, she’s expressed an interest in reading newspapers on a regular basis (Not Haaretz, Ima, it’s boring. Buy me Yediot, please).
I really can’t complain, can I?
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Summer in the city