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No Licensed Characters?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I don't know if this is the correct forum, but since these characters are from TV, I though maybe I could post it here...

We're not TV free yet (have a contract with our satelite provider until April 09, and DH is totally ADDICTED!), but the TV is off all day long when DD and I are home, and it's usually only on after she goes to bed.

But I've decided I don't want these characters influencing my daughter growing up. I grew up in a TV free home, and still don't know a few of the older ones, and none of the new ones.

Can I have a list of reasons why DD (who is 14 months) shouldn't be wearing/reading/playing with licensed characters? DH won't agree with me on this one (because his mom buys TONS of this stuff, and he doesn't want to tell her to stop)...so I need some really good reasons to convince him!!

Also, on a sightly different topic, ILs get very excited when DD watches cartoons at their place ("Mel, she was actually watching ____!"), how can I tell them that I don't want her watching ANY TV or playing on the computer (that's all they do at their place, the TV is on 24/7)


post #2 of 11
I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I've heard Buy Buy Baby addresses a lot of the problems with licensed characters.
post #3 of 11
I don't know any of the arguments for or against, I just tell people *I* find them too annoying to want them around. DS has mostly helped me in this by finding most of them distasteful and we didn't have TV til recently. Now that we do he has decided he likes Blue's Clues so we'll see what I'll do if he gets attracted to the Blue's Clues stuff.

My personal major objection to the character stuff isn't so much the characters themselves but the fact that they are all so ugly and the merchandise is so ugly and plasticy usually. I did once read an article about how kids imagination can get stunted because they are only playing the same stories they see on TV and inventing only those characters rather than expanding from their own thoughts. I haven't seen that yet from DS, in fact watching Blue's Clues seems to have expanded his repetoire somewhat, but he's a child that sometimes needs help not getting stuck in his own rut so your mileage might vary.

Ooops sorry, I didn't realize this was in the TV free section, we were TV free until last month when I was put on bedrest, but if something in here is inappropriate for this forum please let me know and I'll edit.
post #4 of 11
Originally Posted by avivaelona View Post
Ooops sorry, I didn't realize this was in the TV free section, we were TV free until last month when I was put on bedrest, but if something in here is inappropriate for this forum please let me know and I'll edit.
Not at all! It's a forum to explore and promote and discuss TV reduction or TV freedom (and related topics), not exclusively for those who choose to be TV-free.
post #5 of 11
The book Arwyn recommended is awesome. I really enjoyed it and it reinforced all of my original reasons to be tv-free. I think it was that book that basically said the only thing kids learn from tv is how to identify tv characters. Kid's programing is about marketing and getting kiddos to recognize characters and become loyal to that "brand" over all others. There's a whole chapter devoted to the Disney Princess phenomenon and how it's literally changed the look of Halloween. I say stick to your guns about the character-issue.

As for having your family show your kid tv, have you talked to them about your concerns/parenting thoughts? What do they say? Do they agree with you and then just turn on the tv anyway? We live far away from the grandparents, so I don't make a big deal about it when we're at their house 2 times a year, but if we we're over there more often I'd say something. A good book for grandparents is The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. It's about the importance of reading to kids of any age, but it has a chapter on limiting/removing tv and contains an anthology of age-appropriate books. Maybe you could give that to them along with some of the children's books recommended so the grandparents have an alternative to just showing tv? Send over art projects that need to be finished or books on tape, maybe? Just a thought. HTH. Good luck!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies, everyone!
I've tried to find Buy Buy Baby before, but they said it was out of print (at Chapters), and my library doesn't have it...grr!!
post #7 of 11
This might be slightly more esoteric and therefore not the most acceptable argument for your partner but...

In addition to the reasons sited above, I really dislike character merchandise because it wasn't made with love. What I mean by that is that it's purpose isn't for a child to love, cherish and enjoy. The purpose of licensed products is to advertise TV shows/movies/whatever and make money.

I took my first visit to a Toys R Us a couple of months ago and it was a depressing experience. The aisles were all branded so rather than a "doll" isle or a "vehicles" aisle it was all specific shows and movies.

I didn't find anything special there, nothing that my child would absolutely love. Of course the initial excitement of a flashing, noisemaking, garish plasticy toy would be there but it wouldn't last and neither would the toy.

I really want my child to respect and care for her things and a piece of plastic marketing rubbish doesn't inspire that in any way at all.
post #8 of 11
While we are not a TV-free family, but I saw this thread and had to respond. I think all the above responses make a lot of sense but I sold the notion to my DP on a financial level. First, most licensed things are more expensive compared to the same item that's without advertising. Plus, mostly they are cheaply made and do not last. Secondly, we are not being paid to advertise. When Disney (just as an example) starts sending us royalty checks for advertising, DD can do all the advertising she wants.

We watch TV but it is limited. I walk through the stores sometimes and all of the Dora junk and everything else just makes my eyes want to vomit. It really is gaudy and ugly.
post #9 of 11
We aren't tv-free (but obviously I want to cut down since I'm visiting here!), but I can't stand the licensed stuff either. My mom is always buying my dc shirts ; and I try to save them for bedtime, or put them at the bottom of pile so noone sees them! (Sorry, Mom!)
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much, ladies! I'm ordering Buy Buy Baby (I'd already wanted to read it for a while), so that should help me some.
I think DH and I have agreed that WE won't buy the stuff (and I won't put it on DD),but his mom and sisters buy TONS and TONS of it (his mom is named Dora, so she thinks DD should have every Dora toy/outfit there is).
It all makes perfect sense to me, but DH just won't be convinced. I've decided not to back down though, so hopefully we'll be Character free, and DH and I will still be on speaking terms!!

post #11 of 11
In EVERY conversation with my mom and sister (ok, not every, but you get what I mean!) I remark about something about my life. I remind them we are gluten free and what that means, or that we live simply, or that we live in a one bedroom and can't have a ton of "stuff", or the fact that we got rid of our TV and lastly the fact that we don't do characters or lots of toys for dd. My mom now buys dd mostly clothes and asks before she buys toys. I'm thankful. I also don't sweat it if she gets something with a character on it.

Today we were in Barnes and Nobel and there was a display of character backpacks. (clifford, dora's friends, hello kitty, cars). DD loved the doll of dora's friend (what's his name?) and carried that thing around forever. I was seething inside (we're in a bookstore for heavens sake!) but I let her play happily. And she loved her doll.

so with family, I think it's just repetition, repetition, repetition.
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