The Elf on the Shelf is just a fun and harmless holiday tradition for millions of families… or is it asks one professor.
Laura Pinto, a digital technology professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology wrote a paper titled “Who’s the Boss?” which explores the whole idea of a little elf spying on children and reporting back to Santa – a.k.a “the boss” – about whether the kids have been naughty or nice.
According to Pinto, the Elf on the Shelf tradition “sets up children for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures.”
In addition, she said the “external form of non-familial surveillance” prepares children to accept surveillance by the state.
“If you grow up thinking it’s cool for the elves to watch me and report back to Santa,” Pinto said, “Well, then it’s cool for the NSA to watch me and report back to the government.”
They’re points that make every parent question just how innocent that little blue-eyed devil really is.