Surveillance Toys

Playmobil Security Playset

In a surveillance society, it is hardly surprising that there are an increasing diversity of surveillance toys available. We are probably all familiar with things like the Playmobil security checkpoint playset, for example. But it is still surprising the forms they take.

Boingboing today had a story about the new Video Girl Barbie, with her tagline, “I am a real working video camera”  – as indeed she is. The camera is in fact between her plastic cleavage thinly disguised as a necklace.

What’s also not surprising is that there is already a paedophile panic around this particular toy – egged on by the FBI in this case, who aren’t exactly strangers to secret surveillance themselves. It’s hard to know what is sadder: the acculturation of younger and younger kids into a surveillance culture; or the irrational fear of strangers that this encourages. In reality they both reflect and encourage the same broader social trend towards a decline in social trust and solidarity.

Video Girl Barbie