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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Get Ready for Kidzilla

posted by Nell Minow

Maybe it’s just too much exposure to commercials for Bridezilla, a sort of WWE with smackdowns between maniacal brides and their wedding planners, families, and bridesmaids, but I was horrified to read a press release today from MyKidsRegistry.com, a new “social networking” website that allows children to register for the gifts they want for their birthdays and holidays.

When planning her son’s 3rd birthday it went from being a project of joy to a “project”, [founder Yvette] Segal began to think of ways to simplify the process. She didn’t like telling people exactly what to buy for her son and the idea of people trekking to the nearest toy store and standing in line for something her son may already have in his toy box, was something that Segal wanted to avoid as well.

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First, if Segal’s son’s 3rd birthday party was a “project,” it was too big and expensive. No 3 year old needs anything more than some balloons, a couple of games lasting about an hour, and 3-4 other children to sing “Happy Birthday” and help blow out candles. What is truly disturbing here is the way this promotes a “gimmee” culture that turns the entire idea of giving upside down. Instead of teaching children to accept what they are given graciously and that it is the thought that counts, it teaches them to think of their milestones as delivery systems for an endless conveyor belt of goodies.
The press release defensively asserts that

MyKidsRegistry.com is not about an over the top party or a “buy my kids this” mentality, but it is about saving time and money for everyone. Its free membership is designed assist parents in planning and shopping for the perfect party.

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Baloney.
The next sentence is (literally) where the money is:

MyKidsRegistry.com is affiliated with birthdayinabox.com, Amazon.com, Kbtoys.com, etoys.com, ebeanstalk.com, Kazootoys.com, littletikes.com, babyuniverse.com, Upromise.com, netflix.com, snapfish.com, giggle.com, uncommongoods.com, MiniBoden.com, and LandofNod.com.

  • Andy Eggers

    I agree that this is deplorable. Wedding registries feel a little off sometimes too, but in that case the convention of giving significant gifts to start off a new family is well established, so it really does “save time and money for everyone.” Here it just seems like it encourages a new convention that guests to a little kid’s birthday party will give a real gift, which seems like bad news given how gift giving can be like an arms race.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Andy! We used to have a rule that our children were allowed to take all of the books and one or two toys from the birthday party haul. Everything else got put away for a rainy day or family vacation and they lasted all year that way. We often donated some to a toy drive as well.

  • Yvette Segal

    Thank you for the write up.
    Sorry to read you feel this way but if you know me you would know I am NO KIDZILLA fan.
    A registry is not a mandate. It is a guidline.
    I have had almost all of my sons parties at home and I am a frugal mom. I enjoy creativity and love good old fashion fun. His favors are usually handmade. Maybe I should have elaborated by what “project meant”.
    I appreciate your opinion and respect it entirely.
    I agree and think it is a parents responsibility to teach a child to give and I have done that well with my son. We donate regularly and appreciate what we have and I am here to tell you…we work hard for everything we have.
    I guess it is ones interpretation and I get it.
    All the best
    Founder
    http://www.mykidsregistry.com

  • Nell Minow

    Yvette — Many thanks for your thoughtful response to my critique. I respect your willingness to engage on these issues in a constructive way. I agree with much of what you said and very much appreciate your willingness to acknowledge my perspective. I hope you will return with an update on the way families are using the site. Best wishes to you and your family.

  • Yvette Segal

    Thank you Nell. I appreciate that.
    You may see a new press release soon…we have recently added a page called “MYKID GIVES”. It is a list of charities, the focus being kid’s charities. It was always in the works but took some time in getting it together. We will not profit from this page and nor would I want to. It is a personal interest of mine to promote awareness.
    Please visit us anytime – not so sure you will but please know the invitation is always open.
    Take Care,
    Yvette

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