Dad is furious with Aldi over 'depressive' and 'inappropriate' toy for sale
Is there a need?
A UK dad recently took to Reddit to express his 'sadness' over a toy he spotted for sale in his local Aldi store.
According to his lengthy online post, the man had come across a social media toy set, and the kit, which contains wooden versions of the kind of equipment an influencer might have, consists of a pretend camera, tablet, ring light and microphone.
According to the packaging, Aldi deems this toy suitable for kids as young as three.
Sharing a snap of the toy to the forum site, he titled it 'I saw this in my local Aldi and it made me sad.'
The dad explains that is not even the actual toy that is an 'issue' in itself, but says he's worried toy companies are 'signalling to parents that social media is a fun and carefree environment' – saying children need 'preparing' before entering the world of social media.
In his lengthy post, he said he doesn't believe schools provide preparation for social media despite the risks of bullying, trolls and cyber crime, while claiming parents may purchase the toy without considering the more complex issues that their children need to be aware of when using social media.
Here is the kit as it sold in Aldi – and the description they use:
"Let them play pretend with this fun Little Town Wooden Social Media Set. This adorable set will help your little ones develop social skills and give them ideas of new hobbies later on. With everything they need to become an influencer, this Little Town wooden set will allow them to enjoy endless hours of fun."
Let us unpack that – 'help your little ones develop social skills' – eh, Aldi … how about just taking them to the park to play with other kids? Or, indeed, get down on the floor and play with them yourself?
Many Reddit users agreed with the man, saying they are not fans of the toy either, and said they found it 'depressing' too, to see social media promoted to very young children, given how aware society is of the negatives that surround it.
One person wrote:
"If your children know what to do with each of these items as a social media set, you spend too much time online."
Another one said:
"So depressing. No child needs to know what a ring light is, never mind want a wooden one."
No different to play kitchens and doctor's kits?
However, others argue the kit is no different to children imitating other creative professions such as playing doctors.
"Yeah social media might be dangerous but probably not as dangerous as the sports cars and machine guns I had toys of as a kid," one person wrote.
Another one said:
"Yeah, it's really just the same as any other form of creative expression, making something that is part of you but puts it out for others to enjoy. Parents said we shouldn't imitate rock stars and play guitars, now it is seen as a perfectly acceptable profession. Just things moving on to the new rock star."
The dad who posted on Reddit admitted to feeling uneasy about children being actively encouraged towards using social media.
"You can get toy guns, doctors role play kits, plastic construction worker kits and push along cars just fine - and it would just be another form of children imitating adult life. The bit where it splits for me is in how social media and other professions exist in the real world. Being a soldier, police officer, doctor, builder or even a driver requires an element of training or licence holding - social media does not. There is no "how to handle the wide world of social media and all the utter b******** that comes with it" course that you have to take before you log on."
"Social media is something that anyone can enter into without any kind of preparation and fumble about in, despite the inherent dangers. I would like to think that most people would be aware of the issues that exist in the social media sphere - cyberbullying, predators, scam artists, trolls - or the effect on mental health that algorithms can have on people. I think we've all, at some point, felt overwhelming lonely despite being surrounded by digital friends.
'Even if kids make it big on social media, and avoid all the low level stuff, there's still an element of horror to being so available to the public at large."
Would YOU buy this kit for your kids? Let us know in the comments.