I always seem to wait too long to write responses. Be it blogs, news, #hashtags, I always dilly and dally and soon everyone has said all the things at least thrice and I would just be adding to the dissonant cacophony of voices each vying for attention, hits, and traffic. Oh well. Better late than never. I want to discuss the HuffPost article going around about 10 Reasons Something Something Kids and Electronics. I won’t link to it. If you must find it, I’m sure you can Google it, or find it from a Facebook friend. Ahem. If that’s you, please know that I love you from the bottom of my heart and that I do not fault you for sharing it. Please read on.
The overall premise is pretty sound: kids need less electronics. However, the individual pieces–those ten little reasons–individually and collectively seek to terrify parents. Terrify. Fear marketing is roughly equivalent to domestic terrorism. Don’t believe me?
Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Merriam-Webster
Oh. “Violence.” Then fear marketing doesn’t count. My bad. Or does it?
Violence: 3. b: Vehement feeling or expression Merriam-Webster
Oh. “Political.” Never mind. Wait. Political, root word politic.
Politic: 2: Characterized by shrewdness in managing, contriving, or dealing. Merriam-Webster
I think we can all agree on the meaning of domestic. In other words, terrorism can be defined as
The systematic use of vehement feeling or expression to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to shrewdly manage or contrive a particular objective.
So, what about said blog author’s qualifications? She’s a biologist, a pediatric occupational therapist for heaven’s sake. That requires degrees, certifications, letters after her name! I happen to have degrees and letters after my name. BS <gigglesnork> Bachelor of Science in Marketing, summa cum laude, tyvm. So, I know a thing or two about marketing. Respect my authority.
Actually, that is what all of this is based on. Authority. The vast majority of people do in fact respect authority and power, which is why marketing works. Sometimes the authority is Science, or Academia, or Celebrity. Fear marketing is a very successful type of marketing that uses authority to create fear in consumers, and as it happens I find it extremely unethical. The blog author, with her authority, both her own and her citations, attempts to scare the reader (parent). She attempts to lead parents to believe that whatever is wrong with their children can be directly tied to their electronic use. From cancer to ADHD, and obesity to developmental delays: if you exposed your children to handheld electronic devices or television you have caused them harm. And as it so happens she is the creator, owner, and marketer of a line of products, workshops, and training designed specifically to combat that damage you have done to your children. It almost brings a tear to your eye.
Well. If you’re not inherently skeptical. If you are an average parent, especially if you are an average parent with a less-than-perfect child, then this
article work of terror will likely cause an anxious thread of doubt to circulate your chest. Your mind will start reeling and reliving all the times you turned on the babysitter forjustafewminutesofpeaceandquiet! Please, let me tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that if you are reading that article, if you care about the growth and development of your child, if you love and do your very best for your child, then you haven’t harmed them with some exposure to electronics. Seriously.
This article is designed to appeal (contrary word isn’t it? even while you’re terrified for your child this product appeals to you) to good parents. Bad parents won’t bother to read it or question their parenting at all. This is what I want you to understand. This ad campaign, and so many others like it, are designed to cause anxiety where none exists. In marketing, if there isn’t a market for a product then you create it. That is what fear marketing does; it creates a market by scaring consumers into believing they need something. You see it a LOT in the Hollydaze, and I’ll write more about it as that special time of year approaches.
article blog opinion marketing campaign is junk. Say it with me, “It is crap.” Now, go kiss and love on your babies because YOU are a fabulous parent.
Shameless plea for external validation: please like and share this post. It’s like a virtual hug.