Just a little more than year ago a Japanese series has incorporated itself into American television, and has taken the entire U.S. by storm. By now you should know what im talking about, if not were have you been. “Pokemon” a show about a young boy named Ash, and his friends Pikachu, Brock, Misty, and a cast 150 other Pokemon. I cant forget the comical bad guys Team Rocket. Pokemon has a way of life for some young kids in the way of TV series, toys, video games, t-shirts, trading cars, and recently released motion picture. Is Pokemon just an entertaining Japanimation show about a brave young man prom Palate town and his Pikachu or is it much more.
The Japanese company created the characters three years ago as a Game Boy game. A TV show followed a year later. The game and the TV came to the United States a little more than a year ago. “Mike Ado” a KB Toys clerk in Fairoaks says the really popular Pokemon toys ran out by Thanksgiving. Christmas is over and people are still looking for the toys. While many parents will spend considerable time and money feeding their child’s fad frenzy, experts warn that these toys can never substitute for parental time and attention.
“Dr. Michael Brody, a child psychiatrist with offices in the District and Potomac, says children can benefit from these fads. They can learn socialization skills, and many play happily with their Pokemon collection. But he is concerned when parents contribute to the obsession, buying toy after toy as substitutes for parenting. Dr Brody says parents, perhaps guilty about not spending enough time with their children try to satisfy their fad needs.
The prolonged booming economy and adults obsession with the stock market also fuels youngsters’ cravings for fads and collectibles. It’s unfortunate, but children are excellent imitators. The see adults in their frenzy with the stock market, and they imitate our behavior with their own trading. The “Center for New American Values” did a survey, and two-thirds of the parents said that their children define their self-esteem with material possessions. Today you have kids who feel that the way that they can have more friends or fit in better is if they collect all 150 Pokemon cards. “Mr Brown who used to collect Baseball cards as a kid says Pokemon is a perfect example of a fad that has become almost inescapable since it is promoted through so many delivery devices. Such as television, to the Internet to every possible product in every possible store.
Marisa Gordon, spokeswoman for the Manhattan based Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA). But she estimates that Nintendo has earned more than $1 billion through direct sales and licensing agreements. Her estimate was low. “Even Nintendo didn’t expect Pokemon to be so huge, says Riley Brennam, a spokesman for Nintendo USA. Nintendo earned more than $1 billion in just the 13 months that Pokemon has been in the United States. Worldwide Nintendo made $5 billion.
Pokemon has gone beyond any other trend or fad. Years ago we saw Star Wars items selling across all kinds of merchandise lines, but nothing like this. While admitting it’s virtually impossible to predict what makes a concept evolve into a fad. Ms. Gordon notes five key characteristics. It has to have collectibility. It has to be inexpensive so children can buy more than one. It has to appeal to boys as well as girls. It has to be fun to play with that’s what gave Beanie Babies more than their 15 minutes of fad fame. Finally it has to be fueled by a great marketing machine. It’s the trading rather than collecting the has disturbed most educators. After reports about thefts of valuable cards and older children taking advantage of younger collectors in inequitable trades, many schools have prohibited children from bringing in anything Pokemon. One Silver Spring synagogue also instituted a similar ban when the younger members were found sneaking out of services to play and trade cards.
Part of Pokemons attraction with parents is that the game is a kinder, gentler combat where defeated Pokemon faint instead of die, and no blood is ever spilt. Mike Disereria owns 13 Burger King stores in the area. At his Gaithersburg store on Shady Grove Road, as many as 70 children have shown up to trade cards on Tuesday trading nights, when Burger King employees serve as Pokemon Trainers to ensue that all trades are fair.
The thing with Pokemon, (which is short for pocket monsters) is that parents need to learn to say no and creates a healthy balance of many interests in their children’s lives. Parents as so busy and filled with guilt that their not investing enough time in their children’s lives. Parents have to be careful that their not buying their way though parenthood.