When it comes to buying toys for the kids on his list this Christmas, Dave Ross doesn’t have a clue. But if a consumer group has its way, he won’t be buying from among its newly released nominees for “worst toy of the year.”
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is out with its picks for TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award, culled from thousands of toys the group says “promote precocious sexuality to children and push branded and screen-based entertainment at the expense of children’s play.”
Among the nominees for the dubious honor are the “7-11 Slurpee Maker,” a toy blender emblazoned with the convenience store’s logo that lets kids whip up their own sugary concoctions.
The group blasts the toy for the logo and the included free Slurpee coupon, along with empty calories.
“It’s got motors, it’s got batteries I love it,” says Dave sarcastically. “I think it’s kind of a losing battle.”
“I kind of want one of these, I’m not going to lie to you,” jokes Luke Burbank in a conversation about the list on the Ross and Burbank Show.
The group also launches a volley of vitriol at several toys that incorporate iPhones, like the “Laugh and Learn Apptivity Monkey.” Just put your iPhone in its belly and the stuffed animal lights it up with a bunch of kid friendly apps.
“Since it’s marketed with bogus educational claims, mom and dad won’t have to feel guilty about that glazed look in baby’s eyes. And while the Apptivity Monkey won’t assure baby a slot at Harvard, it is guaranteed to give her a head start…on a lifetime of needing screens for comfort,” the group writes on its website.
Clearly, when it comes to Dave and Luke the criticism is falling on deaf ears.
“It would be okay if it actually charged the phone,” Dave jokes. “Don’t stuff an iPhone in a real monkey’s belly.”
The group is also up in arms about a ball you can stick an iPhone in.
The campaign was launched in response to the annual Toy Of The Year Awards from the Toy Industry Association, which the CCFC blames for leading the way in “commercializing childhood.”
“In no time, they’ll be playing games their technologically primitive ancestors couldn’t dream of—like “Hot Potato.” Kids will love a ball that tells them what to do. Parents will love that their little ones no longer have to choose between exercise and excessive screen time!”
Another nominee for worst toy is the “LEGO Friends Butterfly Beauty Shop,” which the group blasts for its “condescending stereotypes” it says would “even make Barbie blush.”
The criticism of a beauty shop for little girls has Luke scratching his head.
“They’re tilting at a windmill on that one,” he says of the seemingly innocuous play set that lets girls give their dolls makeovers and have have “serious salon fun.”
Voting on the TOADY Award is open now. The group will announce its winner on December 6.