Questionable kids’ cards

June 23, 2008

by Ivan Raconteur

Just when it looks like things can’t get any more bizarre, someone finds a way to push the envelope just a bit further.

This week’s dose of strange and frightening news comes from Australia, where the latest fad is business cards for toddlers.

Apparently, more and more parents feel compelled to buy business cards (or, what we once referred to as calling cards) for their very young children.

Some of these parents have said they hope the cards will help their children “build a strong friendship network.”

Others say it makes a tyke feel important when he foists his business card on someone.

Some web sites are specifically marketing cards with “age appropriate” graphics for children, and evidently, clueless parents think this is cute and are snapping them up like hotcakes.

That’s all we need. Instead of being parents, some mothers and fathers are now acting as secretaries for their two-year-old offspring.

One can envision a range of designer diaper bags equipped with built-in business card cases.

When is the insanity going to stop?

What is wrong with letting kids meet other kids and build friendships the old-fashioned way?

It used to be, in the days before e-mail and text messaging, that people could actually talk to one another face to face.

Today, the art of casual conversation seems to be on the endangered list, and now some people are trying to hasten its extinction.

Why do some parents feel that they need to build social networks for their children, rather than just letting them be kids? Has life really become that competitive?

It seems that many children are being deprived of an important phase in their development, the time when their main job is to just be kids.

Some parents don’t seem to understand that children are not just tiny versions of adults, and that trying to turn them into mini-adults is a huge mistake.

Tots who run around with business cards, cell phones, and day-planners, following schedules that rival those of corporate executives, are missing out on childhood.

Kids should be free to dream and explore and imagine their world while they can. There will be plenty of time to cram them into a rigid box full of deadlines, commitments, and restrictions when they are older.

When they are young, they should be allowed to develop their creative sides, not have everything mapped out for them. There are some things that can only be learned by trial and error.

The obsessive notion that wobbling around with a stack of business cards that they can’t even read clutched in their grubby little mitts will help toddlers make friends is insane. About all that this will help them accomplish is making acquaintances who like them for what they have, not friends who value them for who they are. This seems to be a problem that develops at a younger and younger age.

Marketing companies, in their lust to instill dependence on designer labels and appearance rather than substance, are focussing their attentions on the youngest demographic.

We expect this, because that is what marketing companies do. Their job is to make money, not to exercise common sense.

By caving in to the pressures of consumerism, some people are failing in their role as parents. By trying to create pint-sized junior executives, they just may be creating little monsters instead.