Eavesdropping Barbie, Books About Famous Brands, Bratz Selfie Sticks Lead List Of Year’s Crassest Toys

Not all toys are equal; just ask those ungrateful children who will throw a tantrum on Christmas morning for getting a GoBot instead of a Transformer (wait — that was me). But some kid-targeted products cross the line from being blah to being truly terrifying.

That’s why, once again, the folks at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have come out with their annual list of TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award nominees for the year’s most crass and questionable toys.

The TOADY name is a play on the Toy Industry Association’s TOTY award for Toy of the Year, but it’s a trophy that no toy company really wants to take home. Last year’s winner — chosen from a slate of nominees that included a DIY toy mall (complete with real brands), and a McDonald’s-sponsored app serving up 15-second clips of Cartoon Network shows — was a co-branded Baby First/AT&T U-Verse iPad app that introduced infants to the whole “stare at the glowing screen” concept as early as possible.

Without further ado, here are this year’s nominees. Voting is open over on the CCFC site.

Hello Barbie by Mattel ($74.99)

hellobarbieHere’s a talking toy that got privacy advocates talking — before it ever hit store shelves. Hello Barbie doesn’t just converse with your kid; it records what your child says and can send those recordings back to a third party “to perform, test or improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, or for other research and development and data analysis purposes.”

Says CCFC: “Prepare your daughter for a lifetime of surveillance with Hello Barbie, the doll that records children’s private conversations and transmits them to cloud servers, where they are analyzed by algorithms and listened to by strangers. Girls will learn important lessons, like that a friend might really be a corporate spy, and that anything you say can and will be used for market research.”

Bratz #Selfie Stick with Doll by MGA Entertainment ($24.99)

bratzHere’s a toy that uses the popular Bratz line of toys to aid your child in developing their solipsistic worldview. It’s basically yet another Bratz doll, just packaged with a selfie stick so that your child can learn their best angle and how to pout like a fish for self-portraits.

CCFC it’s “great practice for her future Tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagramming of every moment! The lip-shaped phone holder will encourage your daughter to practice her duckface wherever she goes, making this the ideal gift for your aspiring Kardashian.”

Tube Heroes Collector Pack by Jazwares ($20)

Speaking of pseudo-celebrities, here’s a toy that doesn’t merely try to inspire America’s youth to be a vain, self-obsessed social media star, but celebrates the lives and achievements of those who have already reached that plateau.

“Forget outdated concepts of heroism like selflessness, compassion, and sacrifice,” says CCFC. “Instead, today’s Tube Heroes know how to ‘publicize their personality in the Digitalverse’ and expose the most intimate parts of their lives to content-hungry strangers.”

Brands We Know by Bellwether Media ($22.95 each)

Because your child isn’t inundated with brand names, logos, and advertising at every turn, here are some books to make sure that even reading time can be used to educate the youth of today on household names like Coke, Nike, Hershey’s, Target, and Disney.

“If your little bookworm isn’t as brand loyal as his screen-saturated peers, then Brands We Know is the perfect way to instill proper devotion to the world’s biggest corporations,” writes CCFC. “Each book is packed with glossy product descriptions and photos, and features indisputable facts such as, ‘With so many choices available, Coca-Cola is sure to have a beverage for every person’s taste!'”

Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster by Hasbro ($12.99)

We’d always thought of Nerf and guns as lacking any sort of gender, but this foam-dart shooter is clearly being marketed to the girls.

“The Nerf Rebelle Charmed Dauntless Blaster comes with a bracelet and charms, guaranteeing your daughter will enjoy hours of stylish, accessorized gunplay,” says CCFC. “And if her brother reaches for her weapon, she can tell him, ‘Hands off, buddy—this gun’s for re-belles!’ If only it came with lipstick-shaped bullets…oh wait, it does!”

Sky Viper Video Drone by Skyrocket Toys ($79.99)

Though this flying machine, equipped with a camera that can shoot HD video from 200 feet in the sky, is listed as recommended for children ages 12 and up, CCFC notes that it’s advertised to much younger kids during shows like Phineas and Ferb and The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries.

“Foster affinity for military-style surveillance while enabling your child to be the little snoop you always knew he could be with the Sky Viper Video Drone,” says CCFC, which says this “remote-controlled drone is the perfect tool for transforming your friendly neighborhood into a hotbed of discomfort and hostility.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.