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New Yorker: Out Loud

The New Yorker

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A weekly conversation about what's new in The New Yorker.

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Play and Parenting at KidZania

January 12th, 2015

Episode 408 of 447 episodes

In this week’s magazine, Rebecca Mead writes about KidZania, a company that operates giant children’s play centers resembling miniature cities. Rather than escape into a fantasy world, at KidZania children take jobs, purchase items branded by corporate sponsors, pay taxes, and even run a legal system. On this week’s Out Loud, Mead joins Michael Agger, the culture editor of newyorker.com, along with the staff writer Nick Paumgarten, to discuss KidZania’s unusual approach to play. They discuss the parenting and educational philosophies behind various forms of kids’ entertainment, the challenge of finding safe play spaces for children that offer real freedom, and some of the disconcerting aspects of the KidZania model. Like a Vegas casino, Paumgarten says, “on the one hand, you’re impressed by the verisimilitude; on the other it’s spooky and cheesy.”

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