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Amazon’s Anti-Parent Antics: Why Are They Listing Toys Below Even The Manufacturer’s Suggested Age?

Posted Aug 25 2008 6:42pm

I’m feeling a bit peeved at Amazon these days.


Today my concern is in regards to the way helpfully enables parents to search for toys by age on their site. And then lists toys, CLEARLY LABELED BY THE MANUFACTURER as, “age 4 and up”, in the “appropriate for ages 2-4” category.

It’s already a problem that manufacturers market toys based on PG-13 movies to preschoolers (as I raved about here ) – Now Amazon compounds the issue by dropping the age even further.

On Amazon, I found a Pirates of The Caribbean 3 Ultimate Jack Sparrow action figure manufactured by Hasbro with a recommended age of 4+. (This is, of course, rather ridiculous in and of itself since Pirates is a PG-13 movie.) But, on Amazon, when you choose to display toys by age range 2-4 years…guess what shows up?

A Jack Sparrow action figure.

Also on display in the, “ages 2-4” category a nice selection of other toys from PG-13 movies:

Sing-a-long Spiderman

Hasbro Transformer’s Cyber Stompin Bumblebee

A bunch of Star Wars figures , most with scary looking guns (some of the Star Wars movies were rated PG and some PG-13.

Now, while the while the FTC goes after the MPAA over this issue – and requests that action be taken to stop licenses from PG-13 movies be awarded to manufacturers of toddler toys, Amazon slides under the radar with its own bit of “slight of hand”. Amazon’s software categorizes toys by taking the MINIMUM age from the manufacturer and matching it to their age ranges. Thereby dropping the appropriate age by as much as two years.

No wonder parents think Transformers is a kids’ movie…the toys are appropriate for 2-year-olds apparently.

The empty rhetoric is, of course, “Parents should evaluate whether the movie and/or toy is appropriate for their child”. If that’s the case then why bother with ratings at all?

We, as a society have some minimum cultural mores. Movie ratings should reflect those mores. I don’t think they now reflect the way most parents think. And I think parents should be made aware of the fact that…the movie rating they grew up with doesn’t exist anymore.

So, shame on you Amazon for making a bad situation worse. And incidentally opening yourself up for lawsuits – that age appropriate rating includes the small parts safety issue too. Your Little blurb, " Our recommended age: 4 - 10 Years" doesn't negate the fact that you display these toys in the ages 2-4 Category.

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