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The challenge of finding toys that arenít R-rated
The Virginian Pilot ^ | 12/4/05 | Diana Zuckerman

Posted on 12/04/2005 11:20:04 AM PST by wagglebee

Shopping for kids seems to be getting harder every year. I hear from parents across the country who are shocked every time they shop — not just by the prices, but by the toys and other desirables on children’s wish lists.

Do we really want our 4-year old princesses dressing dolls that look like street-walkers? Do we want our teenage daughters to dress that way? Do we want our adolescent sons spending hours playing video games that make a sport of killing policemen and prostitutes? What does it say about our country that some of the most popular products are so offensive? And, what can we do about it?

At one mall, mothers have been protesting a Victoria’s Secret for a store window displaying mannequins in sexually explicit S&M poses. The mannequins model the kinds of microscopic underwear that used to be reserved for strippers, but are now on the wish lists of young teenagers.

But it was not just the merchandise but also the poses that were too offensive, even by today’s standards. Parents don’t like having to walk past sexually explicit store windows with their children — call them crazy, but they don’t think its appropriate for a family shopping mall.

And they don’t want G-strings marketed to adolescent girls. The mall management responded by accusing the politely protesting moms of violating the mall code of conduct!

Mall stores across the country are carrying many of the most offensive video games that money can buy. The all-time biggest seller, “Grand Theft Auto” — now in its third version — finally graduated to an “adults only” rating, which means the game “should only be played by persons 18 years and older” and “may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.” Several major chain stores will not carry “adults only” games, fortunately. Unfortunately, they all carry video games labeled Mature, often geared to pre-teens and young teens, even though they are “suitable for persons ages 17 and older” and contain “intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.” Believe me, they look more like X.

Parents hope that these ratings don’t matter, since it is “only a game” and since kids see so much sex and violence on TV, movies and the Internet. They do matter. Research shows that playing a game that rewards violent and offensive behaviors is even more likely to influence what kids think and do than passively watching it.

Perhaps you’re now thanking your lucky stars that you can shop for dolls instead. But millions of Bratz dolls, dressed like what used to be called “tarts” (now it’s called “attitude”), are sold to preschool and elementary school girls. These dolls have preadolescent figures and are sexy in a pedophilia kind of way. Is this the ideal you want for your darling 7-year-old?

A Bratz TV show helps sell the dolls and electronic Bratz gifts — including telephones and TVs for your child’s room. For parents and grandparents who care about their children, a TV or computer in the room may seem a very reasonable choice. Unfortunately, kids with TV’s in their room watch more TV, watch more TV that their parents would consider objectionable, read less and sleep less. And kids who watch more TV tend to be more violent, are more likely to be overweight and tend to do less well in school.

The advantage of having TV in a child’s room? There aren’t any, unless you want to see less of your child and not hear what they are watching.

Computers in a child’s bedroom are a mixed blessing. Computers are great for schoolwork, but when they are in the bedroom, children are more likely to view pornography or be “educated” in chat rooms in ways you never dreamed of. Research shows that one in five kids receive unwanted online sexual requests.

So, if there is another room in your house for your child to use a computer, instead of their bedroom, that’s a safer choice.

What can we do? If we keep buying sexualized dolls and violent video games, companies will keep promoting more of the same. One solution is to talk to family members who buy gifts for our children, letting them know, for example, what a Mature or Adults Only rating means on a video game. We can also talk to the parents of our children’s friends, to cooperatively establish standards that parents can agree on and avoid the “all my friends have it” line that is otherwise so effective.

And, we can all check Web sites such as www.toysafety.org and www.mediafamily.org to avoid the worst offenders.

Happy holidays? We will be happier if we make sure the things we buy our kids won’t harm them. And we can ask mall managers for help, starting with a real code of conduct for what is sold in their stores.


Bratz dolls have pre-adolescent figures and are sexy in a pedophilia kind of way. Is this what you want for your 7-year-old?


Mall stores are carrying the most offensive video games money can buy. The biggest seller is “Grand Theft Auto.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: children; childrenstoys; christmas; culturewars; dolls; familyvalues; moralabsolutes; toys; videogames
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It sickens me to see what society is doing to children.
1 posted on 12/04/2005 11:20:06 AM PST by wagglebee
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To: thompsonsjkc; odoso; animoveritas; mercygrace; Laissez-faire capitalist; bellevuesbest; ...
Moral absolutes ping.

I will be helping out little jeremiah for a few days with this ping list.

2 posted on 12/04/2005 11:21:24 AM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee
"Hey, hey... how about a bag o glass this Christmas, kids?"


3 posted on 12/04/2005 11:23:24 AM PST by jdm
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To: wagglebee
Unfortunately, they all carry video games labeled Mature, often geared to pre-teens and young teens,"

Give the game makers a break: games with a "Mature" rating aren't made for pre or young teens, that's why it's called "Mature." If there's a problem there, it's the game ratings boards' faults. Increasingly, video games are becoming an entertainment media for adults, not children.
4 posted on 12/04/2005 11:26:40 AM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: wagglebee

I don't disagree about the dolls, though. They are dressed like hookers.


5 posted on 12/04/2005 11:27:42 AM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: wagglebee
Yep, I want Grand Theft Auto available for me but it's not appropriate for kids.

Some of the dolls, though, I don't know who they would be appropriate for.


6 posted on 12/04/2005 11:27:56 AM PST by gondramB ( A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul)
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To: pcottraux

While you are correct in saying that many of these games are DESIGNED for adults, they are often MARKETED to children.


7 posted on 12/04/2005 11:28:08 AM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee

The Bratz dolls are getting much more shelf space this year than Barbies. By comparison, Barbie seems sweet and non-sexual!


8 posted on 12/04/2005 11:28:54 AM PST by LibFreeOrDie (L'chaim!)
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To: wagglebee
Parents hope that these ratings don’t matter,

If you are a parent and you are so stupid as buy "Rated Mature" stuff for little Johnny whether it is games, music, books or movies, then these items are the least of little Johnny's problems.

9 posted on 12/04/2005 11:30:54 AM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (When the First Amendment was written dueling was common and legal. Think about it.)
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To: wagglebee

I don't disagree that this stuff is unsuitable for children, but DON'T BUY IT! There are actually other things out there that are suitable, and I tend to not buy my kids that many toys, anyway, because they don't need them.


10 posted on 12/04/2005 11:31:09 AM PST by conservative cat
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To: wagglebee

I don't know, the gaming community as far as I see it is comprised of mostly adults. I'm not sure how rampant it is for youngsters to be playing games beyond their maturity level: maybe it is a problem. And even still, there's a bigger potential problem in an adult buying the game and letting a kid play it.

I'm not against violence in video games, even for young kids as long as it's tastefully done (as much of it is not).


11 posted on 12/04/2005 11:32:39 AM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: gondramB

Bratz make the Barbie dolls of old look wholesome but Barbie has also come out with a line of dolls (American Idol, maybe) that look very like the Bratz dolls. I got presents for a poor child in our church's Jesse tree program - she requested a Barbie so I got her Veterinarian Barbie. Hope she wasn't looking for one of the sluts.


12 posted on 12/04/2005 11:33:54 AM PST by VeritatisSplendor
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

Unfortunate but true. Many parents in society today are just completely irresponsible, about that as well as other stuff.


13 posted on 12/04/2005 11:34:27 AM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: wagglebee

Not just toys, but clothing. You can more easily dress your toddler girl as a streetwalker than you can dress her as a little girl. The clothing thing drives me bannas. I end up buying at certain very expensive stores just because they have "real" little girl clothes. I've purchased a sewing machine also. I can sew things that are age appropriate and modest, even though its not really cost effective. Who would have thought it would cost more money to dress a 4-year-old like a 4-year-old???


14 posted on 12/04/2005 11:35:51 AM PST by Roses0508 (Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions - it only guarantees equality of opportunity.)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear; wagglebee; All
Shameless Plug Alert !!

Click here for a recent vanity on the same subject, from a different angle. Warning: It starts out on quite a different topic and then pulls a "right hook".

Cheers!

15 posted on 12/04/2005 11:36:04 AM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: wagglebee

Gosh. A guy could go to the store and look for other toys, I'd guess. I did that the other day, and there were plenty of good wholesome toys. I bought some of them for my great nieces and nephews for Christmas.

Indeed, there are adult video games. THEY'RE FOR ADULTS. Don't buy them for children. Sheesh!


16 posted on 12/04/2005 11:36:08 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: jdm

"You can put a plastic bag over your head, and Hey! You're a kookie space man."


17 posted on 12/04/2005 11:36:46 AM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: wagglebee

And longer. LJ will be busy playin' guitar. ;)


18 posted on 12/04/2005 11:37:29 AM PST by doodad
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To: pcottraux

Mostly with the boys. My daughter does not care for those kind of games anyway. Female wiring I guess. She prefers role play and strategy although the Sims step over the line as well and we have had to ixnay some of the titles.


19 posted on 12/04/2005 11:40:14 AM PST by doodad
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To: doodad

I think the last Sims game had "reproduction" in it, if you know what I mean.


20 posted on 12/04/2005 11:42:37 AM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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