Boys develop closer bonds with Bob the Builder than with parents

·Young boys are developing closer bonds with television characters such as Bob the Builder than with their own, time-pressed parents, leading child expert Sue Palmer has warned.
Miss Palmer says that while children will always become attached to a favourite toy or story character, marketers are now exploiting this trait by creating a whole industry around it of DVDs, books and toys.
She believes that if parents use such pastimes as a substitute for spending time with their offspring, they could suffer from emotional and communication problems and struggle to form good human relationships in later life.
"If parents aren't careful, and especially if they aren't around, their son's relationship with Elmo, Bob the Builder or Fireman Sam could rival his relationship with them," she said. "Talking and singing to children is critical to the development of empathy and language, but it does not work with screens.
"The danger is that the child will be more fascinated by the things they see on screen, and not learn and be fascinated by real-life human beings and real-life play."
Bob the Builder is particularly appealing to boys because of the "boy-friendly ingredients of tool use, basic mechanics and male status", and they will come to associate their favourite character with "safety and happiness," she said.
In her new book, 21st Century Boys, she says the attachment to television characters, with their associated merchandise, is part of the toxic childhood that seeks children damaged by a combination of "junk food, junk play and junk culture".
Colwyn Trevarthern, a developmental psychologist, agreed with Miss Palmer's comments, saying allowing children to be dominated by media-driven toy consumption was "tantamount to neglect".
[Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. P1][...for the rest go to YouTube]

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