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Many parents (as well as teachers and child development experts) dismiss children's culture--mass-marketed toys, commercials and cartoons--as mindless, sexist and hedonistic. And so, many curtail or forbid TV-watching (except for PBS and educational videos) or refuse to buy mass-marketed toys. But, warns Seiter ( Remote Control: Television, Audiences, and Cultural Power ), this condemnation may do kids a disservice, since their mass culture is a sort of language that allows them to communicate with their peers. Also, she argues, nixing it can place a burden on busy caregivers, who would otherwise rely on TV and toys to occupy and distract children some of the time; and for kids from poor families who are not able to afford upscale toys, videos or cable TV, mass-marketed toys and entertainment may be the only show in town. Seiter discusses the many genres of children's TV and toys, analyzing the My Little Pony and Ghostbusters cartoon series (marketed to girls and boys, respectively) and taking a detailed look at the giant chain store Toys R Us (which strictly segregates girls' and boys' toys). In her thought-provoking study, she reasonably urges parents and others to put aside their own tastes and to understand that children's consumer culture promotes solidarity and sociability among youngsters. Photos. (Dec.)

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