Marketing to First Graders

I just spent ten minutes explaining to my son that we are not interested in a children’s magazine despite all the stories, puzzles and games it contains. He was shown a copy in class, and brought home an envelope.

Direct marketing to first graders is assur (prohibited) in my book. I don’t care how good the magazine is (at only NIS 395/year). What chutzpah to distract my child from school with this kind of stuff.


  1. mominisrael says

    Etzbaoni dubon–they have a different one for almost every grade so that siblings can’t share.

  2. Oh yuck, what magazine were they pushing? (so I can think to avoid it since i don’t like marketing of that sort). I’m constantly trying to explain that just because something is advertised and looks great, doesn’t mean we will buy it (though I admit we get some children’s publications but those are ones we chose ourselves)
    I suppose this is an advantage of having my kid in school that has a not insignificant % of economically distressed families – they don’t bother us with these sorts of things. Then again, its also why they make huge efforts to keep our school fees below the mandated maximums and we pay book fees and get ALL our textbooks and workbooks through the school (elementary). Only thing we have to supply privately is a Makor Chaim and a Tanakh. Sure, we return the books at the end of each year, but doesn’t that make more sense anyway! Total school fees per kid were 710 for 1-5 grade and parents were complaining about that!!!!

  3. Shoshana:
    We need that kind of school here in New York.

  4. mominisrael says

    And Shoshana, nice to see you back. What is Mekor Chaim?
    Jacob, thanks for stopping by. I figure that if I complain, I might be the only one, but if someone else also complains, there will already be two of us. . .

  5. Agreed. Reminds me of the Gedolim Cards posts I made back when I started my blog.

  6. Full name is Kitzur Shulchan Auch Makor Haim – by Rav David Levy ( I think – my son left his copy in school for now since no homework related to it yet and i’m too lazy to go dig up our home copy). Its a nice kitzur shulchan aruch because it covers both ashkenazi and eidot hamizrach minhagim – though in our case, my kids are some of the token ashkenazim in their entire school!
    Not sure how much they’ll be using it this year in kita gimel but it was on the supply list. I think it’ll just be during the weekly shiur by the rav beit-ha-sefer – they are doing hilchot shmita (obviously) plus they ahve books on rosh chodesh and returning lost of objects for dinim this year.
    Not seen etzbaoni dubon around these parts yet – is it a weekly for that price?

  7. That’s pretty nervy! I wonder how many (if any) parents will actually be subscribing?

  8. Oh good grief. Pushing magazine subscriptions on little first graders? I wonder how many parents will shell out the money- that sounds very expensive! Let them get a library card for much cheaper weekly reading material.
    I know what my answer would be if my kid asked for a subscription (the same as your answer, I trust).

  9. mominisrael says

    Shoshana, it’s bi-weekly.

  10. Ugh. We had a similar problem, with … an internationally prominent Chassidic group that specializes in outreach (hereafter abbreviated PCGSO).
    The PCGSO has a lovely program called a “Shofar Factory”, where each child makes a real shofar. Our modern Orthodox, Zionist day-school arranges for the PCGSO to come each year and make shofars with the entire 5th grade.
    We all look forward to this program (despite the sounds, smells, and mess involved) as an extra-curricular highlight of the beginning of the academic year.
    The first time I coordinated it with the school, I was shocked to see that the PCGSO collected the names and addresses directly from all of the 10 year olds, and “enrolled” them all in their youth group, which is hashkafically very different from our school, without consulting or informing the parents. They did this via a “contest” where the kids would get a prize if they filled out the application forms.
    The prize was membership in their youth program, with “membership” cards and a newspaper, all addressed directly to our children.
    We wrote to them repeatedly, asking them to remove our child’s name from the ranks of this “army”, (membership in which we strongly opposed ourselves, and which would make some of our relatives spin in their graves.) The mailings continued until that child reached bar mitzvah age and “graduated” from the “ranks” of those eligible.
    In the newsletter that continued to arrive despite our objections, there were direct appeals to the children for donations to the organization, which would earn “points” toward advancement in the youth group. “Points” were also offered if the children would send in more addresses of their friends, so their friends could join, too!
    Our school continues to enjoy the lovely shofar program each year, and a number of other programs that they run so well, (we pay them to come – this is a business, not just a chessed to our school) but I make a point each year, and have it written in the instructions, that the PCGSO may not solicit our children directly, or attempt to retrieve personal information from the children.
    They may not use deceptive “contest” practices to coax ten year olds to share their names and addresses with complete strangers.
    Rather, the PCGSO can give our school the copy of their promotional materials and youth-group application form, which we will forward to the parents for consideration.
    I urge you to ask for a similar set-up with the magazine in your school. There may be parents who appreciate the magazine, and want to subscribe. Let the publisher/advertisers have access to the parents, not the children.

  11. Hey, saw your latest post on my Google Reader that tells me when the blogs I read have new posts. It’s the one about something that has you fuming with the kitah aleph. But, I can only see the first paragraph, and it’s intriguing me to read more, but I’m getting a blogger error when I click on it??? AND, when I come here to your blog to see it, I don’t see it.
    ugh, wanted to. maybe later. Meantime, sending supportive hugs. And a cuppa joe to calm down……..

  12. New Parent List says

    I completley agree! In the US it is illegal to market to children via direct mail.