PPU imformation

School sign in Sarajevo

toys, manufacturers and advertising

Toy manufacturers spend millions advertising toys to children on TV in an effort to influence their early consumer habits. Since the start of the TV-toy link-up in the 1980s, children have been made to feel that they have to have certain toys in order to play - e.g. 'You should play Action Man and to play it you need these action figures, these tanks, these props'. This is a shift in the control of play away from children into the hands of toy manufacturers.

see also
teaching and study resource
early years
education for peace

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Toy manufacturers have been producing whole lines of toys in order to increase profits. Each toy has one specific function, so children have to buy lots of them in order to play. The president of Hasbro stated that the GI Joe (Action Man in the UK line, which has over 50 items, was designed to turn over every two years

Researchers have shown in detail how television helps children to form the attitudes and skills of consumerism, starting from the child 's ability to recognise and understand advertising and link it to their requests and purchases. Toys themselves not only mirror in miniature the essential elements of the ideology of consumerism (cars, playhouses, etc.), but acquaint children with the necessary social dynamics of a consumer market. The intensification of marketing, especially the television promotion of character toys, is beginning to change what children actually learn in play. Commercial television fails to educate, inform or inspire our children. They become jaded with their toys, and mimic in their play what they have seen on television.

Business interests trying to maximise profits cannot be expected to worry about cultural values or social objectives beyond the consumerist values that underpin commercial media.

The new marketing strategies have not stopped with television and toys. Since the mid-eighties, logos from TV characters are appearing on all kinds of other products (clothes, lunch-boxes, party plates, etc.). When children see logos on products, the message they receive is: 'Buy me, I am for you', and the child can't think of any other attributes of the product than the logo. This practice works.

From the child's point of view, images from television and toys are literally everywhere. The typical child who goes to school sees friends in Action Man T-shirts, carrying lunch-boxes with Transformer logos, etc. When he goes into all kinds of shops with his parents, he spots the licensed logos on many types of item. At home, he may watch several hours of TV per day, where he will again see these images. And in his rather limited play time he probably plays with at least some of the TV-linked toys.

Specific images marketed to children literally fill their world - the images carry important messages and influence children in significant ways. The most common and most powerful images marketed to children, especially boys, are violent. They are presented at every turn - when children eat their lunch, go to sleep, brush their teeth or put on their underpants. Parents and teachers today say that children seem more and more occupied with television images and want to get more and more violent toys.

child soldiers
children in war
effects of war

Decoding the image -
Media and violence survey
Children and advertising
Advertising to children - the european view
Kid's TV - preventing violence

The politics of war play -
Machel Report

Rights of the Child
About the Convention
Part One (articles 1- 41)
Part Two (Articles 42 - 45)
Part Three (Articles 46-54)
Draft Optional Protocoll


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