Giving a toy to accompany a fast food meal may seem harmless yet if one considers what that toy represents to a parent; it starts to become evident that it may encourage dependence to the fast food. The dependence strengthens and weakens based on one's economic situation. The less wealth, the more dependence and the more wealth, the lesser a dependence one has.
The focus currently is on the child and how the child feels towards the toy. It alienates the decision maker, the parent. A parent does have the ability to refuse the child's or children's' demand to go receive the fast food meal toy. Yet, if the parent cannot afford a regular priced toy, a fast food meal toy is second best. Not only does the parent that has lower amounts of wealth receive a toy for their child, they can also feed their child or children. The toy itself is not the problem yet the economic situation one is in for the economic situation gives the value to the meal. A child does not need a fast food meal toy if his or her parents can afford an average price toy and other items for the child can have abundance of items. Thus, it dilutes the value of the toy to the parents that can afford items for their children.
There is another factor that is at play and that is the traditional toy is being replaced to more modern forms of toys (game consoles, apps, internet, and so on). These are easier for higher amounts of wealth parents to obtain, yet parents who do not, will face an increase in social pressure to obtain them. They could allow their children to go to the public library to play on the Internet. But, it may not be convenient for parents to go. Individuals that have a lower amount wealth tend to work more to maintain a basic living standard. Thus, a fast food meal toy seems to be a better option because a game console requires more games, apps get dull over time, and the Internet can tend to be an inconvenience. Furthermore, there are other factors: such as, more wealth tends to be correlated with higher education and certain set of behaviors, which declines and changes as wealth declines.
This may be a reflective piece without any science but economic theories. Even though, there are many things that must be considered and reflected on. Should the Internet be easier to access? Is there a way to allow parents an easier way to modern technologies and toys? Do parents experience social pressure to provide toys to their children? Is there a way to create a fast food chain that is health and gives toys with their meals? Many others could be pondered on and researched.
The values of toys to a parent may not be the largest issue currently, yet it is something to reflect on. There are plenty of children in the world that do not have basic access to all sorts of vital things. A toy may have a comforting aspect to it for a child.