Do You Tell the Names of Licenced Characters? - Mothering Forums
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TV-Free > Do You Tell the Names of Licenced Characters?
LittleYellow's Avatar LittleYellow 12:18 AM 03-26-2008
We are TV-Free and licensed-character free.

There are a few situations where dd's have run into licenced characters. Sometimes they have sposies and there are characters on them and dd's even have favorites. They have named the characters themselves "blue guy", "red guy" etc. I don't see ANY need to change this. Dd even saw "red guy" at the book store, but again I wasn't going to tell her any different.

We also went to the Childrens Museum recently which is having a Clifford exhibit . I knew before hand thought we might avoid the area, but of course I would follow dd's lead. So they saw the giant dog - but I was certainly not going to call it Clifford. They called it big-red-dog, which was fine with me. They had some giant foam bones there and I had the bones talk to them (we are a very anthropomorphic family so this is fairly normal) in an effort to be different from the show.

As they get older I know other kids will introduce them to the names of the characters - I also plan to ask them if they like that name or want to give it a different one.

So do you actually introduce a licenced characters name, or let your kids define it?

homefrontgirl's Avatar homefrontgirl 12:28 AM 03-26-2008
We don't point out the names of characters to DS. He's seen a few things with Sesame Street characters, but we just focus on the item (ball, book) and not on muppet.

OT-The thing about Clifford really upsets me. I have original Clifford books from my childhood that I saved to read to my children. This was long before he was a tv character. But in an attempt to make money, he was revived on tv. Sigh. You can so tell the difference between the original books and the new, after tv show books. Even the art is better in the older stories. Thanks for letting me rant.
MCsMom's Avatar MCsMom 02:44 AM 03-26-2008
If it is a character that I knew as a kid (smurf, big bird) then I will name it for her. But I was SHOCKED when for her 2nd birthday my MIL gave her panties with Elmo on them and DD said 'Elmo panties' before anyone had even mentioned what they were. To my knowledge she had never even seen SS before receiving them. I am seriously amazed about all the things that she has picked up with minimal exposure.

She now, at almost 3, knows the names of pretty much all of them as far as the classic characters. There are a few stranger and 'minor character' ones that she (and I) don't know but all of them that are licensed we know.
Hannahsmummy's Avatar Hannahsmummy 10:41 AM 03-26-2008
I don't introduce the names but if specifically asked I would tell her them. I don't think I have an instance where i have been specifically asked yet though. She's quite content to give her own names or just ignore them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by homefrontgirl View Post
OT-The thing about Clifford really upsets me. I have original Clifford books from my childhood that I saved to read to my children. This was long before he was a tv character. But in an attempt to make money, he was revived on tv. Sigh. You can so tell the difference between the original books and the new, after tv show books. Even the art is better in the older stories. Thanks for letting me rant.
Funny that when I read the OP, I was thinking that he was a book character. I didn't even realize that he was on TV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCsMom View Post
If it is a character that I knew as a kid (smurf, big bird) then I will name it for her. But I was SHOCKED when for her 2nd birthday my MIL gave her panties with Elmo on them and DD said 'Elmo panties' before anyone had even mentioned what they were. To my knowledge she had never even seen SS before receiving them. I am seriously amazed about all the things that she has picked up with minimal exposure..
Yes, it is amazing how much they pick up without actually exposure to them, IYKWIM.
beansricerevolt's Avatar beansricerevolt 12:19 PM 03-26-2008
We are character free as well. Well, try to be but thanks to grandparents (and I do appreciate the gesture ) , a few things sneak in now and then. If the DC ask (which ALWAYS happens at the library) I tell them. MY older DD knows them all. She is almost 10 and all her friends have TV. Im ok with it. She doesn't feel pressured to want character things at all.
the_lissa's Avatar the_lissa 12:27 PM 03-26-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCsMom View Post
If it is a character that I knew as a kid (smurf, big bird) then I will name it for her. But I was SHOCKED when for her 2nd birthday my MIL gave her panties with Elmo on them and DD said 'Elmo panties' before anyone had even mentioned what they were. To my knowledge she had never even seen SS before receiving them. I am seriously amazed about all the things that she has picked up with minimal exposure.

She now, at almost 3, knows the names of pretty much all of them as far as the classic characters. There are a few stranger and 'minor character' ones that she (and I) don't know but all of them that are licensed we know.
Yep this happened to us too. My dd somehow picked up the names of the Disney princesses without ever having seen them on tv or in books.
cancat's Avatar cancat 02:22 PM 03-26-2008
If its in a book, I don't care. We have alot of the clifford books, dd has no idea its on TV. She doesn't know what spongebob is (I'm not even sure I know what spongebob is....) and I haven't bothered to tell her. She knows who dora is, however, from a book at playgroup...
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 04:00 PM 03-26-2008
I always joke that DD is one of 5 kids in America who learned who Elmo and Thomas are from library books. So yeah, if it was in a book, I didn't change the names. However, Dora was "that little girl" for ages, and there are still some characters she doessn't know. Preschool has done a lot to take that away, though--although she gets the names kind of wrong sometimes. Ariel from The Little Mermaid is "Oriole," for instance.
Individuation's Avatar Individuation 04:51 PM 03-26-2008
The problem I find with this is that they're licensing EVERYTHING, including classic children's literature. Where would one draw the line?
2+twins's Avatar 2+twins 06:48 PM 03-26-2008
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I think sometimes they ask me specifically what a character's name is, so of course then I tell them. But most of the time (primarily with non-people characters) they just assign a name that seems fitting to them (like Elmo is something like the red monster to my younger dd).
Shell's Avatar Shell 08:10 PM 03-26-2008
We generally do not tell the name of characters, but dd is picking some of them up at pre-school. She doesn't know any of the name of the princesses, thankfully! My friend (who I am surprised hasn't posted yet!) and I have a pet peeve about Nemo. Kids ought to know that it is a Clownfish, first and foremost! I even saw an article on the kid's page of the Washington Post where a public school teacher was using Nemo as a "learning tool" where kids threw a stuffed Nemo doll back and forth in the classroom while they answered questions. No where in the article was this fish doll referred to in any other way than Nemo. Nothing like our newspapers and school systems providing a little free advertising! Oy.

I do worry that my daughter will one day seem like an outcast, when the other girls are talking about Cinderella and my daughter says, "who?" Also, I rarely even read her the classic versions of the Disney stories, because I generally disapprove of the themes -- poison apples, wicked step-mothers, and the like.

We have a streamed music station that we like to listen to that plays all kinds of fabulous children's music. Included in the mix are songs from Sesame Street, including "Elmo's Song." Well, my daughter has finally figured out who Elmo is and she LOVES that song (I have to admit, it is kind of catchy). She already knows who Bert and Ernie are, from a book that her 11 year old step-brother has. So, she calls Elmo "Bert's puppet friend." I generally loathe all things Elmo, but the music station is so great, that I've decided to just let it go. The way I look at it, it is not as though that now that she has sort of figured out who Elmo is I'm going to run out and put a TV in the living room and subscribe to a cable service! There is a difference between recognizing some characters and having a TV blaring in the house all day long.

The big question, I think, is how do you explain to your kid why our family doesn't buy Dora or Elmo or Thomas the Train sneakers, toys, foods, clothes, etc.?
boatbaby's Avatar boatbaby 08:12 PM 03-26-2008
I don't tell him character names. I don't see why I would need or want to??
Nemo is a clown fish (not a lie is it?) Elmo is a red monster, etc.
Sure he's figured out a few, but he doesn't care one way or another.
I don't see why I should feed into the marketing of his imagination.
boatbaby's Avatar boatbaby 08:17 PM 03-26-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shell View Post
My friend (who I am surprised hasn't posted yet!) and I have a pet peeve about Nemo. Kids ought to know that it is a Clownfish, first and foremost!



The big question, I think, is how do you explain to your kid why our family doesn't buy Dora or Elmo or Thomas the Train sneakers, toys, foods, clothes, etc.?
Here I am and amen sister to the clownfish thing.

Z has asked once or twice about why the red monster is on juice he sees in the store and so on. I say people are trying to get kids to buy things, even things that are not necessarily good for them. They hope you'll pick the one with the monster rather than picking the one you really need.

Even at age 3, he gets it. Now when he sees them and says "go away commercial I don't need you!"
goldfinch's Avatar goldfinch 12:45 AM 03-28-2008
This is my first visit to the forum and I just want to hug everyone! I love finding my own questions posted by someone else!

My children have picked up the names of lots of characters from various places, including preschool, library storytimes, the doctor's office, etc., but I tend not to supply the names if asked directly (a lot of times I don't know the names, so that makes it easier.)
hopefulfaith's Avatar hopefulfaith 12:45 AM 03-28-2008
Mine are so little that it hasn't really come up yet - but I'm also a SAHM in a very rural community, so we don't get out much.

I have not introduced characters yet. However, my ds received a little metal box with the Sesame Street characters on it - Big Bird, Grover, etc. - and when he was with Grandma, she pointed out all of their names for him. He remembered them the other day when he was carrying it around and told me "His name is Cookie Monster! He says 'Me want cookies'!" and proceeded to laugh.

I smiled and said "Yep." and Adam forgot about it.

I don't intend to hide characters from him, but at this point in my kids' lives, I am decidedly proactive about just not bringing much into their lives that I have to worry about it...
Hannahsmummy's Avatar Hannahsmummy 09:13 AM 03-28-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shell View Post
The big question, I think, is how do you explain to your kid why our family doesn't buy Dora or Elmo or Thomas the Train sneakers, toys, foods, clothes, etc.?
Thankfully the character marketing on food and stuff is not as prevalent here in the UK as it is in the US, though of course it does exist. Maybe I am just blind to it to some degree because it's not really a part of our lives.

The question about specific characters hasn't come up as my daughter isn't exposed to that much as we go to a Waldorf school. However, she has pointed out things like cereal boxes, yogurts and the like that have characters or bright colourful designs who's purpose is to entice children. We've talked about marketing and how all packages are meant to get people to want to buy them and that kids products in particular have characters on them so kids will want them.
She's really aware of this now and will talk about things she's sees in the shops and how they are being marketed. She is fond of pointing at things and saying "Look at that Mummy, it's making me want to buy that!" LOL
RockStarMom's Avatar RockStarMom 04:46 AM 03-30-2008
I don't tell her the names. She does recognize Clifford because she sometimes picks out Clifford books at the library. And she's quickly catching on to names from her friends...grrr.
Someone gave her a Dora lego set for Christmas and she calls the little Dora figurine "the lady." It makes me so happy because it seems like every little girl is obsessed with Dora around here.
Bufomander's Avatar Bufomander 11:28 AM 04-01-2008
if dd comes straight out and says, "what is this thing's name?" then I will say some people call it such and such -- but you can call it whatever you want. I don't name them for her otherwise. we don't do characters in our house and we've been very clear with family about this.

i can't stand clifford. (sorry) i think the books are banal. That's my issue with the character books, in addition to the insidious marketing -- they aren't high quality children's lit, you know?

dd has a friend who has a lot of dora stuff (and she was there when said friend got a dora bike for her birthday.) but dd consistenly calls her nora, and that's fine with me. (I don't make a big deal of it when her shoes are on the "wrong" feet, why would I make sure she's precise with t.v. characters' names?
Bufomander's Avatar Bufomander 11:29 AM 04-01-2008
by the way, I'm enjoying reading all the ways people talk about marketing to their kids.
simple life's Avatar simple life 02:46 PM 04-19-2008
At this point (Paul's one) we just avoid it totally. If someone gives him something with a character on it, we just call it a bunny or whatever it is, not the character name. It is very hard though these days to avoid this. Everything is branded. Can't go anywhere with out seeing some character or branding thrown at you.

I think what you do is great! Why do kids need to be commercialized!

Julie
weliveintheforest's Avatar weliveintheforest 07:00 PM 04-24-2008
My dd is only 2.5 but already recognizes quite a few characters. Specific things like Elmo I don't mind (she calls all the sesame street characters elmos) but she thinks all baby deer are called Bambi and I don't like that. She hasn't even seen the movie! It is all over the place, and her friends and our family and friends all recognize Dora and stuff so she just picks it up from them.
sbgrace's Avatar sbgrace 08:50 PM 05-01-2008
What is the concern? (I'm being completely serious and non-snarky...I really didn't know it mattered.)

I remember being shocked when my son went to play at a friend's house and ran and picked up the red monster and said Elmo! Turns out there was an Elmo doll at church. My boys seemed immediately attracted to him. But they learned the Thomas character names through books and many of the sesame street characters as well as diego and dora, curious george and I'm sure others that way. Outside of Thomas and Curious George books the others they picked out at the library. I sort of like the diego/dora books actually. But we went to the Children's Museum and they're opening a super heros exhibit so the characters were on the flyer. They asked the names and I told them the ones I knew..they already knew superman but the others were new to them. I'm sure they'll remember them. They learned coke, pepsi, and wal-mart, etc. logos on their own just living and the character names seem the same to me. My boys are four. I just am shocked if others have kids of this age or older who aren't being actually asked directly what the character names are. You just can't avoid them in my experience unless you never go out of the house--including to the library, museum, store. And then is the parent saying they don't know or why don't you name him or???? It just never occured to me to do that.

I'm really curious about the perceived harm? Is it that the child might want to purchase the characters? I've not seen that but if so is that bad?
EyesOfTheWorld's Avatar EyesOfTheWorld 02:03 AM 05-02-2008
I don't see the harm in telling them the names either. If I know them. If we see Elmo, I don't know what the heck else to call him but Elmo, and that IS the name given to him. I wouldn't hesitate to call the characters in any of thier books by thier names as well. I hate, hate, HATE marketing to children, but if they associate with other children, they will be exposed to licensed characters, and knowing thier names doesn't seem like it will create any problems by themselves.

I see this recurring thought that if your children know who _____ is, they'll want you to buy everything that uses them as a marketing tool. That totally hasn't been my experience. Then again, we don't buy toys "just because" - usually just for birthdays, Christmas, etc. so there aren't many oppurtunities for them to beg for this or that. When there's something they need, I give them options without licensed characters to choose from. For example, my DD1 needs a new lunchbox for preschool. I've found some really cute ones online and showed them to her, letting her pick.

All children seem attracted to Elmo, and my youngest will squeal with delight when we see and Elmo toy, book, juice, etc at the store. I just say "Yeah! That is Elmo." and we go on. And I make a point of not buying that brand of juice, instead asking them to decide between flavors of another brand. My older daughter knows who tons of characters are from her friends, and due to some bizarre circumstances, has a Dora Candyland game. You know when she sees Dora anywhere she points it out. We just acknowledge it and move on. No biggie.
mom2p.m.'s Avatar mom2p.m. 09:09 PM 05-11-2008
I'm with you two eyesoftheworld and sbgrace. I started out not wanting my daughter to be sucked into all the characters and was proud of myself when she reached two and didn't know who Dora was. Even though I had never seen a Dora show, who knows it might be okay. I admit I don't like the marketing but then I realized keeping her from these characters and such was more about me then for her. She ended up watching the movie Cars and really liked it, we have ended up with more then a few car items and it doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore. She has her few things that she likes and doesn't have to have everything with cars on it. Which could be a lot of stuff. My parents bought cars shirts for her and DS, not something I would buy, but again more about me then for her. She wears both shirts, one as a skirt and one as a shirt. We call it her shirt skirt shirt outfit. She is still an individual, very creative and i feel well rounded.

I just don't see what the big deal is. What harm will it do. I just felt like it was more about me and my hang-ups then it was doing anything good for her. Not trying to cause a stir just putting in my two cents. BTW we don't have cable but do allow some movies, obviously.
EyesOfTheWorld's Avatar EyesOfTheWorld 03:06 AM 05-12-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2p.m. View Post
I admit I don't like the marketing but then I realized keeping her from these characters and such was more about me then for her.
I totally agree with this! This is the realization I had too, that made all the difference for me. For the longest time I was stressing out, thinking that if she saw TV at a friend's house or I didn't hide the Disney Cinderella book we got as a gift from a well meaning friend, she'd be ruined. But you know what? I didn't manage to hide that book and after a few readings, she was over it. She sees TV occasionally at friends and families houses, and it's no biggie.

And that's my goal - to make sure TV and characters don't have some power over us and become "a biggie". They aren't something we buy ourselves or do at our home. Some people do. Their choice. My older DD understands this and is fine with it. We talk about marketing and TV and why we don't like it, and I think she even agrees - with the biased info I've given her. As she gets older and is exposed to more things through her peers, I want her to realize that we've made some different choices for certain reasons, but I don't think I have to isolate her from other people's choices either. I want her to be informed enough to make her own choices when she reaches that age.
weliveintheforest's Avatar weliveintheforest 06:55 PM 05-12-2008
For me the concern is that it will limit imagination (not coming up with her own names for toys, making them act like the character, etc)
EyesOfTheWorld's Avatar EyesOfTheWorld 11:14 PM 05-12-2008
I see what you mean but I wouldn't not tell them the names of characters in a book or play, so I don't think telling them the names of TV/ movie characters is any different. I mean, someone came up with that character and gave it a name, same as books, etc. That's thier "given name", so to speak. My kids haven't lost thier creativity in naming because they know that red thing is called Elmo - we currently have baby dolls named Pickle, Applesauce and Blueberry Muffin.

I'm not sure how knowing the name correlates with knowing the behavior of the character? Back to the Elmo example, my kids know who Elmo is (can put the name with the face) but have never seen Sesame Street so they don't know how he acts. If they were in a situation where there was a stuffed Elmo around, they'd use thier imagination just the same as if they didn't have the name associated with him.
mom2p.m.'s Avatar mom2p.m. 05:41 PM 05-13-2008
Yep same with my kids eyesoftheworld, we read a lot of books. That is how my kids discovered Thomas the Train. It was after they loved the books so much that my parents started buying them the movies. And my DD has no lack of imagination. SHe has named her feet Peter and Diesil and they have different personalities. She has a pony named Lulu, one of her favorite names, because we also have a chicken by the same name.

Anyway point being, you have characters in books, same as movies.
sbgrace's Avatar sbgrace 12:33 AM 05-16-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by weliveintheforest View Post
For me the concern is that it will limit imagination (not coming up with her own names for toys, making them act like the character, etc)

My boys have great imaginations. However, I often hear them "acting out" things from their favorite books. Today I heard on kiddo say "Will you pull our little train" and the other say "pull the likes of you, I think not" straight out of The Little Engine that Could. I think it's typical for kids to borrow stories and actually good developmentally. But I don't think it limits imagination in a typical child based on friends kids who do watch TV and act out the video themes just like my kids do books.
loraxc's Avatar loraxc 03:07 PM 05-16-2008
Hmm--I'm starting to feel like this thread is going in a "What's the harm of TV and movies?" direction...
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