I’m frustrated right now. My oldest is on a never-ending shopping spree in her mind and she just has to have everything. As Americans, we are bombarded with ads telling us we need the latest this or we have to have that. Today I have been “told” I need to go back to school shopping for clothes, shoes and a backpack by my daughter. We “need” to buy licensed binders and lunchboxes. And that’s just school supplies.
I have been around a couple of decades (okay, three) and I have learned to ignore the constant steam of information from companies stating their product is best. My six year old daughter is not so immune. At age four, an ad would come on TV and she would immediately whine “I want that!” We talked to her about it and we thought she learned. Little did we know she had simply learned not to tell us what she wanted. As five years old came, we saw her mature. She opened a savings account. She was happy to see her money gain interest. We thought all was well.
At six years old, Ari now believes she knows everything and has to have a word in every conversation. However, a few weeks ago it got downright scary. My husband and I were reviewing our shopping list and planning our trip for the fewest store visits. During the discussion, Ari piped up “We should go to WalMart. They always have the lowest prices.” We both stared at her, jaws gaping. She said “What? They have the best deals.” I think my brain exploded, because I can’t remember how I recovered.
Sadly, its not just about turning off the TV. For most of the summer Ari watched very little TV, and most of what she did watch had few commercials. But her eyes always spot what I no longer see; an ad on the back of a magazine, on the side of a bus, characters on backpacks and slogans on t-shirts. You can’t be free of it. My child doesn’t just want a backpack, she wants a Wizards of Waverly Place backpack. She wants high heeled shoes like some tween pop star I’ve never heard of. She told my husband today she wants an iPhone. She’s six.
I’m moving to some magical place in a non-existent land where televisions were never invented and advertising is illegal.