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Children being indoctrinated into surveillance police state with Elf on the Shelf toy

Elf on the Shelf

(NaturalNews) If you are one of the many people who have noticed something vaguely creepy about those immensely popular Elf on a Shelf toys, it turns out there may be a good reason for it.

The Elf on a Shelf has now become a multi-million-dollar industry which has spawned a television special, a Macy's Christmas parade float and other spinoffs. The ubiquitous doll and its accompanying book have earned a place in the hearts of millions of children who believe in the magical powers that enable it to fly to the North Pole on a nightly basis to help Santa Claus keep his "naughty" and "nice" list updated.

It all seems innocent enough on the surface, but according to a Canadian author/professor and her Australian co-researcher, the toy may be indoctrinating children to embrace the concept of a surveillance state.

Dr. Laura Pinto, who teaches at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, has co-authored a paper with Dr. Selena Nemorin, a post-doctoral fellow at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, which explores the implications of the toy's power to condition children toward accepting "an external form of non-familial surveillance."

In other words, the Elf on the Shelf gets children used to the idea that there will be always be someone watching their every move and reporting their behavior to a central authority figure -- in this case, Santa Claus, who is referred to as "The Boss" in the book's storyline.

For those unfamiliar with the story, the Elf on the Shelf doll keeps an eye on a child's daily activities, and after everyone in the home falls asleep, the doll flies to the North Pole to inform Santa whether or not the child has been behaving. After helping Santa keep the "naughty" and "nice" list up to date, it flies back to the home and perches in a different place to continue its daily surveillance routine.

The child is instructed not to touch the doll, because its magic is "fragile," and handling it may destroy its powers. According to the Elf on the Shelf website: "An elf's job is to watch and listen."

Aside from the rather obvious Orwellian parallels, Pinto and Nemorin also note that the role of the doll in a child's daily play routine differs from traditional concepts:

The difference... is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child's real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child's real world.

Elf on the Shelf presents a unique (and prescriptive) form of play that blurs the distinction between play time and real life.

The authors find a correlation between the Elf on the Shelf and the 18th century concept of the "panopticon" prison design, created by Jeremy Bentham, in which prisoners are observed by a "central tower in a circular structure, surrounded by cells," with the inmates being unable to determine when they are being watched, due to the backlit design of the central tower.

The panopticon concept was seen by French philosopher Michel Foucault as a fitting symbol for today's surveillance state.

It is doubtful that the Elf on the Shelf's creators (a mother/daughter team who built the business from the ground up) had any nefarious purpose in mind -- nor is it likely that they were funded by some government intelligence agency bent on indoctrinating children through creating brainwashing toys.

However, it remains an arguable point that the doll's creators were unconsciously reflecting the zeitgeist of our modern society -- one in which snooping and surveillance by a central authority has become commonplace and hardly questioned.

Sources for this article include:




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