This episode's vocabulary
- Advancement (noun) - the development or improvement of something.
- To induce (verb) - to persuade someone to do something.
- To entice (verb) - to persuade someone to do something by offering them something pleasant.
- To moan (verb) - to make a long, low sound of pain, suffering, or another strong emotion.
- Ingenious (adj.) - (of a person) very intelligent and skilful, or (of a thing) skilfully made or planned and involving new ideas and methods.
- Flyer (noun) - a small piece of paper with information on it about a product or event.
- Billboard (noun) - a very large board on which advertisements are shown, especially at the side of a road.
- Bulk buying (noun) - the activity of buying large quantities of a product, especially to get cheaper prices.
- Feasible (adj.) - able to be made, done, or achieved.
- Pitfall (noun) - a likely mistake or problem in a situation.
- Leeway (noun) - freedom to act within particular limits.
- Dichotomous (adj.) - involving two completely opposing ideas or things.
- Fleeting (adj.) - short or quick.
Questions and Answers
M: So, what toys are popular with boys and girls in your country today?
R: Despite all the technological advancements, I was surprised to discover not much has changed for kids nowadays. This was when I was on my placement. They seem largely into similar toys that we had access to before, like models of animals, stuffed or otherwise, and other such things. And they all rather like building too from what I've discovered, even something as simple as wooden blocks is a popular choice. So I think that's true with children everywhere really, actually.
M: How do advertisements influence children?
R: Well, I suspect they induce or entice them to moan to their parents to buy them, well, the things that they want. Advertising is basically corporate propaganda, isn't it? And it works. They see the toys being used, and they want to use them, and then they annoy their parents into getting them. It's as depressing as it is ingenious, really. Although I hope parents are getting wise to the fact that that's how it works.
M: What do companies do to get people to buy their toys and not somebody else's toys?
R: Well, like I said, advertising and marketing on any medium you care to name from flyers to billboards, to just regular television adverts. They can also have sales with discounts and offers, especially if they want to encourage bulk buying.
M: Do some parents spend too much money on toys?
R: I'm tempted to say yes, straight up. But really I have no idea or any way to say for certain, since I'm not an expert. I mean, how do you decide how much is too much? If I were to guess, I'd say it's a definite possibility, especially compared to the past when people had less money and fewer resources than now.
M: Should advertising aimed at children be prohibited?
R: I don't really think that's feasible, do you? How can you actually prove whether something is targeted at young people or adults? I suppose you could argue that the tone of the adverts might be enough, though the counterargument might be that adverts show the toys in action. It's probably more practical to raise awareness of the pitfalls of such adverts and set boundaries with children instead.
M: But do you think that such advertisements could be banned in the future?
R: I doubt that. If anything, corporations are being granted in increasingly more leeway as the years go by. So I expect the opposite to happen. I expect it to be encouraged.
M: Do you think parents should buy more toys for their kids or spend more time with them?
R: I'm not sure it's a dichotomous choice. But if I had to choose one for everybody, then I'd say it's better to spend time with your children than to give them more stuff. Our lives are so fleeting, and time spent together on family activities are so precious, it would be a waste not to capitalize on it while we can.
M: What's the difference between toys kids play with now and those they played with in the past?
R: Well, I think the most obvious is the role that technology plays in their creation and use since, well, many of them are mass-produced or have some sort of electronic or digital component. Though there are other aspects to consider. There's greater interaction and competition and thought put into the product development sides. For example, lots of toys have a backstory as is the case with lots of Lego.
M: And what about the future? Do you think toys will be different in the future?
R: Well, they'll probably take different forms alongside those that already are sold because they already are quite popular, but people like to have diversity in that sense.
M: Okey Dokey. Cool. So this is our Toy Story with Rory. Did you get the joke, dear listener? Toy Story that's a cartoon. Toy Story with Rory. Toy stories with Rory. Yeah.
R: I think we'll probably get sued for copyright infringement then.
M: So speaking about toys and which toys are popular in Rory's country these days in Scotland, Rory said that models of animals, stuffed animals and other things are popular, wooden blocks. And Rory, you work with kids. How old are the kids that you teach who you teach at school?
R: I teach primary. So basically children from as young as four to as old as 11 now. But I also work with kids online, and to be honest with you, they're much the same. So this is where I can draw on my experience of working with children.
M: Yeah, that's useful. So Rory does know what kind of toys children have these days. Hey.
R: That's good as like, talk to a teacher about toys. Okay.
M: So really, like they don't have anything fancy, like drones or tablets or some electronic stuff. So it's like usual teddy bears.
R: Yeah, like the. There's all this new stuff, of course, but I think the kids engage with the old classics. So that is things like stuffed animals and things that you can build with.
M: And what strange toys have you seen from your kids? So anything like connected to technological advancements?
R: Oh, the fidget spinners.
R: Fidget spinners. Are you looking at fidget spinners? You'll recognize them when you see them.
M: Oh, yeah, there we go. Fidget spinners. Yeah. Oh, I thought they were a thing of the past.
R: Oh, no. There are still children that have them. Believe me.
M: Hmm. Okay. So a fidget spinner is a toy that consists of a ball bearing in the center of a multi-lobe. Oh, boy. Okay. Anyway, Google it. Just Google it. It's difficult to describe. So a fidget spinner. Okay, cool. Yeah. And just we mentioned the old ones like again, stuffed animals, models of animals, wooden blocks, Lego. Yeah. And you can say that children seem largely into... Lego. Oh, you don't say Lego. Lego?
R: No, Lego. Is it Lego in Russia?
M: Lego. Lego. No, no, I don't know why I said Lego. Lego. Lego. Alright. Yeah, so you can say like children seem largely into similar toys. So kids are into stuffed animals, teddy bears.,Lego. Then about advertisement, so careful how you pronounce the advertisement. So it's advertisements, or adverts or ads. Or the general word is advertising. Right? So the industries, advertising. And Rory's answer is really interesting and cool. So first of all, you said that advertisements induce and entice children to moan to their parents to buy them the toys.
R: Yeah. So let's unpack that. So induce or entice just means to influence or to make someone do something. And then mourn to your parents. Mourn here means like, they complain to their parents, I want this toy. I want this toy. If you don't give me this toy, then you don't love me. This kind of nonsense. So and then just influence people to buy things. It's fairly self-explanatory.
M: So kids see the toys being used. So kids see how the toys are being used. So how other people use the toys. So the passive here, and they annoy their parents into getting the toys. So children annoy their parents into buying the toys. And Rory said that it's depressing as it is ingenious. Ingenious? Ingenious?
M: Oh, god. Yeah, it's like genius. So it's not genius.
R: No, it is. It's clever.
M: So ingenious means clever.
R: Yeah. It's like flammable and inflammable. They both mean the same thing.
M: Right. Yeah, true. So you can say that okay. This is an ingenious way of getting people to buy more stuff.
R: As if we needed more stuff.
M: Yes. Yeah, surely we do need more stuff.
M: Give me toys, more toys. So how do companies get people to buy their toys - advertising, marketing. Rory then goes with examples: flyers, billboards, or just regular television adverts or TV commercials. And you mentioned this bulk buying. What is it? Bulk? If I buy something in bulk?
R: Oh, bulk buying is when you buy lots of one thing. It's usually done with food but I suppose you could bulk buy toys. I'm trying to think what kind you'd buy. You'd probably bulk buy Lego, for example. Just because you need lots of it to have fun and make different things with.
M: I love your answer to the question like how much money we spend on toys. So do you think that parents spend too much money? And then like, how do you decide how much is too much? It's like, really? Like, how do you decide? Is it too much? Or not too much? And then our traditional strategy, if I were to guess I'd say that it's blah, blah, blah. Yeah? So we have started the trend.
R: I even spread it out this time.
M: You did.
R: I spread it out. I said, at the end of the previous ??? It's like, I'm not an expert. How do you decide how much is too much? If I were to guess, I'd say. So it's actually spread across three sentences. Ha. So you still get a band nine for that one.
M: Awesome. So if you have no idea what to say, you go with? Well, I'm not an expert. If I were to guess I'd say that some people do spend more time on toys. Bla, bla, bla, yeah. Then if advertisements aimed at kids should be prohibited. Prohibited, like banned, like they should no longer exist. We should ban them, prohibit them, eliminate them. And Rory said, like, oh, I don't think it's feasible. Feasible? What is it, feasible? It's not feasible.
R: Just possible to do.
M: It's like it's not doable. Yeah. It's not doable. It's not possible. It's pretty much impossible. And then he used the synonym that we can't ban something that is targeted at. So advertisements, which are aimed at children or which are targeted at children. And then again, our favorite strategy, I suppose you could argue that, blah, blah, blah. Right? So I suppose one could argue that, blah, blah, blah. So that's a nice one. Kind of it's not your opinion, but you, you are speaking about some other people's point of view. I suppose you could argue that the tone of the adverts is not appropriat or... Rory, you've used some sophisticated vocabulary here. I'm not sure it's a dichotomous choice.
R: Yes. But dichotomous just means you've only got two options.
M: Oh. So we have ingenious, dichotomous, we have bulk buying. So yeah. Feasible. There we go. Dear listener, how are you doing? How are you doing? So I'm not sure it's a dichotomous choice. But if I had to choose one, you see, so then we continue with our strategy.
R: It's another conditional. I'm gonna say it's the third conditional. Am I right?
M: No... Boo. It's the second conditional.
R: It's the second.
M: The second. Yeah.
R: Well, it's a conditional, regardless.
M: Yep. And then Rory goes with something philosophical. Our lives are so fleeting.
R: That just means that they're really short. Life is short, spend time with your family.
M: Live your life, do your life. Yeah. So our lives are so fleeting. So it might be better to spend more time with your family, because it's precious. So precious like valuable. And then a typical question when we compare toys in the past with the toys now. And you can talk about technology. Rory spoke about technological advancements in the first answer. Technological advancements. Yeah? So despite the technological advancements, children are into the same toys. And you can talk about this digital component. So now most toys have a digital component. And there is a greater interaction, competition. Yeah. And what did you mean about this a backstory? You said like, some toys have a backstory, as with Lego.
R: Well, they have a plot to them like the... For a long time and indeed, even now, the Lego produced products and the products had a story behind them. So for example, Bionicle had a whole thing where they were robots on an island. And they went on an adventure. And every time you bought another one, you had a new character. And that character had their own story as well. So that made it interesting. And it was interesting, I think.
M: Yeah, we can also talk about superheroes. So you talk about like models of superheroes? Yeah?
R: Did I? Oh, yeah. Well, models of anything, really.
M: So models of dinosaurs, models of, I don't know, insects. Models of superheroes. Are these kind of like Barbies, are they popular? Are they common these days?
R: I don't know. I don't like Barbies.
M: You don't?
R: Do you know, it's funny because I don't really approve Barbie or Action Man, but I can't quite articulate why. It's not because of the gender stuff. It's just because there's always so much stuff to go with them. Which I don't think it's okay. However, it's okay to like have the same thing for Lego for some reason. For some reason in my head it's okay for Lego. But it's not okay for Action Man and Barbie. And I think the reason might be because Barbie and Action man are isolated to the human world, whereas Lego there's a role of imagination and creation and building things there, which you wouldn't get with Action Man and Barbie. So I think rather than providing opportunities to be creative and original, Barbie and Action Man reinforce what's already there. And I don't know if that's a worthwhile use of time.
M: Hmm, interesting.
M: Dear listener Action Man is an action figure launched in Britain as a licensed copy of Hasbro's American movable fighting man. So it's kind of like a soldier kind of thing. Yeah?
R: But like I needed to mention him because if I only talked about Barbie, then the feminists would be all over me saying I'm just picking on women, but I'm not. I think it's true for all of these kinds of dolls.
M: No, Barbies... A Barbie has a Ken. A Ken. Like Barbie's husband.
R: Yes, but Barbie is marketed for girls, whereas Action Man is marketed for boys.
M: Oh, I see. Okay. Oh, wow. That's, all right, okay, interesting.
R: That's the intention. Whether it, you know, whether it manifests that way or not, is up to individual children. But yeah, I just think like why, you already have access to stuff. Why do I need a plastic version of what's already there? That's a bit silly.
M: Yeah. Excellent. Thank you very much for listening and being with us! We'll see you and hear you in the next episode! Lots of love and joy! Hugs and kisses. Bye!
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