Kyle, a Phoenix resident, says he casts a wary eye on TV spots for toys because the thrills depicted on the television screen aren't always found inside the product's box.
The commercials "say it does all these things but when you get it and keep it for a few days it breaks or the parts are lost. Most of it is cheap," he says.
Kyle's mother, Karen Hales, smiles at this assessment and quips, "I've brainwashed him well." She makes no apologies for imprinting these beliefs on her son.
"Advertisers have the process down pat," she says. "It seems like the flashier the commercial, the lousier the toy is."
If Ms. Hales has suspicions about a product Kyle wants, she'll take him to the store and they'll scrutinize it together.
"It is my responsibility to talk to him about what he sees and why it may or may not be a good thing to buy. We will look at a toy and I'll ask him if he really believes it is worth the cost," she says.
Kyle seems to appreciate his mother's input.
"I don't want to pick something out and then find I don't like to play with it after a few days," he says.
All isn't harmonious, however. In addition to playing the role of quality inspector, Ms. Hales also acts as censor, vetoing Kyle's wish to rent the Mortal Kombat video-game.
"He hates me for it but it's too realistic. All these games end in death," she says.