The magic and the rules begin when a family “adopts” an elf and gives it a name. And then, the Christmas fun begins. The elf can’t move when it is being observed, but at night it can get into all kinks of mischief. Of course the parents can move the elf at night and make it appear to do mystical things like pour sugar on the floor or make snow angels in flour. But, the children aren’t allowed to touch the elf at all. Ostensibly the only task for the elf is to watch the child for naughty and nice behavior and fly back to the North Pole to “report” to Santa.
And, as we all know, children have very active imaginations and have a belief in those magical skills of the elf. But the question has to be asked, is the subtle message being offered that there is no privacy and the elf will tattle on all behavior? At first I thought that this is no different than Santa who knows who is naughty and nice and the elf. But then it occurred to me that children can have some dialog with Santa at the mall, through letters to the North Pole, and with other children and parents. But the elf is different. He is all-knowing and all-seeing, and children can see this as a bit creepy. So, here is a thought to counter that possibility. Change the rules! Allow the children to move the elf on alternate nights and give them some control over the power of the elf. They could put it near the liquor cabinet or other “sensitive” places. Who loses privacy then?
Another product that has real privacy concerns is the new “Hello Barbie” from Mattel. It has an embedded microphone and the child can tell Barbie everything. This then goes to the cloud (web based servers) and the information is available to Mattel and the parents; and, anyone who has hacked the server! “Hi Barbie, my name is Amy and I live at 1234 Shady Lane in any town USA. I live with my mother and… Well, you get the picture. Let’s hope that she doesn’t get the credit card.
The holidays used to be a simple time when we used fear of “no presents” to control behavior and technology has allowed us to fear everything about our privacy. It truly is a Brave New World…