Parents have been handing over their responsibilities to the media

Too Busy to Parent? How Products Today Are Replacing Parents, August 20, 2012

As I make clear in the title of my book, When the Media Is the Parent, I long ago concluded that parents have been inadvertently bowing out of the role of parent and handing over their responsibilities to the media. But this article shows how the matter has become ever more problematic.

Parents are running around at an ever faster pace. They’re working hard while their wages remain flat. They’re buying new media stuff for themselves and their kids. This means money, which equals time.

So how do they make up for this lack of time? The answer is: They buy a teddy bear that plays womb sounds like the mother’s heartbeat. You can even add the mother’s scent. So when the kids goes to sleep, if he or she can’t have the real mom, who’s off in another room doing spread sheets for her job, at least the kid can be faked out a bit. The problem is: a machine is not a mom! No matter what we want to think, it’s just not the same.

Many years ago, researchers with monkeys found that the baby monkey, when deprived of their moms, preferred a soft, cloth-covered metal-framed ‘replica’ of Mom to a machine that gave them milk. Cuddling is very, very important for kids, the researcher concluded, including for human kids. Now we’re doing the same little experiment and wrapping it up in cellophane and selling it in stores! No wonder a lot of our kids are in trouble.