Buy, Buy Baby: How Big Business Captures the Ultimate Consumer - Your Baby or Toddler

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9780007259052: Buy, Buy Baby: How Big Business Captures the Ultimate Consumer - Your Baby or Toddler

An investigative journalist examines how marketers exploit infants and toddlers and the broad, often shocking impact of that exploitation on our society

It’s no secret that toy and media corporations manipulate the insecurities of parents to move their products, but Buy, Buy Baby unveils the chilling fact that these corporations are using -- and often funding -- the latest research in child development to sell directly to babies and toddlers. Susan Gregory Thomas offers even more unnerving epiphanies: the lack of evidence that “educational” shows and toys provide any educational benefit at all for young children and the growing evidence that some of these products actually impair early development and could harm our kids socially and cognitively for life.

Underlying these revelations is a dangerous economic and cultural shift: our kids are becoming consumers at alarmingly young ages and suffering all the ills that rampant materialism used to visit only on adults -- from anxiety to hypercompetitiveness to depression.

Thomas blends prodigious reportage with an empathetic voice. Her two daughters were toddlers while she wrote this book, and she never loses sight of the temporal and emotional challenges that parents face. She shows how we can help our kids live at their natural pace, not the frenetic clip that serves only the toddler-industrial complex. Buy, Buy Baby helps us fight the power marketers wield by exposing the false fears they spread.

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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 family.

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 exposť 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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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