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J. Richman

This writer is also a regular columnist for Ad Age. She wrote a story there about her experience. She titled it: How I Ended Up on 'Today' Without Help From a Publicist:
A Lesson on Being an Unplanned Viral Sensation

If you're an Ad Age subscriber, you can view it here (http://adage.com/columns/article?article_id=126510)...and if you're not, well, complain to Ad Age, I guess. My favorite line of the article, and it helps to show this is not just a US phenomenon, was this:

"But when I got a call from the South China Morning Post, I just had to shake my head. China? This is a story in China now?

The reporter assured me that parents there are just as worried about overprotecting their children. They feel that neighborly trust is disappearing and wonder if there's a way to bring it back. 'Is there?' the reporter asked. 'Do you hope to start a movement?'"

For the record, I happen to be completely with Bob on this one.



I love the Free Range Kids movement. I think another problem is that helicopter-type parents tend to get their kids involved in too many organized and structured activities. They may think they're keeping their kids stimulated and occupied, but without that free range play, kids are missing out on developing independence and creativity.

Thanks for the link to my post!


monkey bars are one thing, the NY subway is another.

although on the MRT (subway in singapore), i'd often seen groups of elementary school kids on the train late at night.

but then again, if you try anything out of line there, they'll cane you.

maybe we should revisit our criminal policies before we encourage kids on the subway (or just start caning people for everything)

[on a tangentially related note, the reason you used to not be able to chew gum in singapore (you can now, you just can't buy it there), some kid jammed the MRT doors on the train, causing insane delays in the system. that kid went to school with my boss.]

Shaping Youth

Agree that bubble-wrapping kids leads to lack of coping skills, and looking for a 'rescue' with every hangnail.

I've witnessed this multiple times in our research on playgrounds re: conflict mgmt, relational aggression, spats, etc. when kids would power whine that they were 'called a name' or tattle relentlessly for an adult to intervene...If we solve all of these social scenarios for kids, what kind of adults will we be raising? This goes to the infantilization issue of KSYL, oui? I wrote a mini-post about role modeling resiliency here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=1334

On the flip side, I think that Free Range Kids relying on 'new media tethers' to cells, GPS, (or for some Free Range parents of infants/daycare spycams online, etc. used to 'check-in' on kids) can provide a false sense of security that needs a massive wake-up call for both parents AND kids.

Can't tell you how many REALLY young kids I've seen meandering around 'off the radar' of their parents, who feel a sense of push-button accessibility that just isn't there...

Also find some 'false free ranging' going on like the 'faux outdoor ed' programs of some of the schools that toss incoming 6th graders into a 'sleepaway' experience, as I wrote about on Shaping Youth here:

I ended up taking some suburban kids 'off the grid' in a media-free experiment to see what would happen on a hiking trail sans focus, and sure enough, they thought they could 'just use their cells' to reorient to their surroundings and get out of a jam when I challenged them to 'find their way back' from where we hiked in. They flunked. Big time.
Dependency takes many forms...media is a new one.

As for schools lowering bars, and/or taking all the fun out of playgrounds due to broken arms and such, it's a bloody shame. (this happened at our elem. school too) Our 'liability driven, litigious society' is fouling up kids' sense of play altogether, taking all the fun and risk out of open-ended play, sometimes even eliminating recess altogether. sigh. And we wonder why we have an obesity problem of screen-driven passive consumers of play vs. active participants in same? bleh.

I say go build a pretend fort under the slide, or dangle from the monkey bars 'til you drop from exhaustion...If we all get a few ouchies, 'deal.'

Bob G

Thanks for your perspective, Amy. Great adds. I think the main lesson is that parents need to THINK about how to best raise their kids. Make a conscious analysis and effort - rather than defaulting to either ignoring or over-parenting.

I'm also a fan of your post on Target's bullseye ad and have quoted you about a dozen times from that post


You might find my other blog interesting: Marketing With Meaning (http://www.marketingwithmeaning.com)

Shaping Youth

Yep. I left a comment there, too! ;-)

Ironically, I decided to use my 'Target' experience as my chapter in the 2008 Age of Conversation book, 'marketing tragedies & triumphs' which is supposed to point to 'what we learned' in terms of the over-arching subject of 'why people don't get it.'

Clearly, I had MUCH to say on both ends of that equation. (For starters, I didn't 'get' that the topic would devolve into a UGC thumbs up or thumbs down analysis of a one-ad context instead of the more global issue of media/marketing's objectification and ambient advertising, but hey, live and learn, eh? ;-)

Gotta add Marketing with Meaning to my reader, thanks for the reminder. Best, A.

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