August 09, 2005

Capitalism Running Amok I am listening to a piece on CBC Radio 1's The Current about the new "plan" by Roger's in Canada (and cell phone companies in the US) to market cell-phones directly to children aged 9-12. I. AM. SEETHING. What a load of fucking crap. Kids don't need cell phones. They're justifying this market expansion by stating that parents have busy lives and kids need ways to get hold of their parents. And that the phones have a 911 button for emergencies and that there is no text messaging etc. Crap, all of it. Frankly, I am getting tired of the "we all live in a busy world" discourse. It's a middle-class conceit brought about the choices parents make, not by some global design. I have chosen to avoid being a harried overwrought "busy" parent. I do work outside the home and have my children in child care. However, I have chosen work that has flexible hours and is close to where I live so I can avoid 9-10+ hour days away from my children. Craig has a demanding job (long hours, lots of travel) so it makes sense for me to work less. We have also chosen to NOT place our kids in lots of extra activities. One a season is the limit, and in the summer there are none. That way there is lots of time to play in unstructured ways, to eat dinner together almost every night and to avoid the grind of getting two kids to activities in some post-supper rush. Some of the "busy" parents might think us lazy or bad parents, but I see us as happy, rested and avoiding the rush to make our children corporate automatons chained to some technological gadget. I realize that I am privileged enough to make these choices, and that many families work long hours because they have low-paying jobs and need the money just to put food on the table and pay the rent. But those aren't the parents buying their "tweens" (a marketing term I loathe) cell phones. Bite Me Rogers. There's no way I'm buying my kids cell phones. You cannot convince me that they need one. Hell, if I need them to phone me, I'll give them a quarter.

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