I have to laugh at the buzz around Elf on the Shelf in the last few days. I feel like every family I work with invites me in and immediately has me look for the elf or the kids take me by the hand and show me. Some love it and some are scared of the little figure. One little girl didn’t want to go downstairs to play unless I stood in front of the elf (who was sitting on the railing) as she passed by. Mom sighed that the elf was too much extra work as she had to wake up her husband that morning at 4 AM because they forgot to move the elf. Another mom said to me, “It’s too much work!” Sounds to me like the responsibility of having the Tooth Fairy come every night. I was bad at remembering to put the money under the pillow and it didn’t happen every day–I would have been lousy at remembering this.
Don’t worry, I’m a fan of fun toys, and don’t want to be a scrooge but parents and more recently a professor, have been weighing in on this.
One of the funnier (and honest) posts on “Why I Hate The Elf on the Shelf” on Blogher makes a point that I have always maintained which is “Isn’t Santa enough? to keep track of who is naughty and nice, AND you don’t have to remember to move him every night and clean up his messes (that you have to create). I like to simplify so this wouldn’t be in my routine.
Yesterday, The Washington Post’s blog was titled, “The Elf on the Shelf is Preparing your Child to Live in Future Police State, Professor Warns.” Sounds rather dramatic but the digital technology professor, Laura Pinto, is serious about her claims that the Elf on the Shelf is “teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance ” and goes on to use lots of big words I can’t pronounce. She does address some of the “creepiness” that parents have expressed as their kids are scared of the doll as well as “I don’t think the elf is a conspiracy and I realize we’re talking about a toy,” Pinto told The Post. “It sounds humorous, but we argue that if a kid is okay with this bureaucratic elf spying on them in their home, it normalizes the idea of surveillance and in the future restrictions on our privacy might be more easily accepted.”
As usual, the adults are getting all agitated about this little elf and by and large the kids love him (or her).