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BBC's Nicola Carslaw
"A craze the marketing men believe will take young girls by storm"
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Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 15:05 GMT
Boy card craze launched
The cards contain details of boys aged 12-22
by Nicola Carslaw, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

For parents and teachers who have had a hard time trying to distract their children from their Pokemon monster cards, a new headache could be on the way.

The latest card-swapping craze has arrived. This time it is targeted at girls who choose their ideal boy from a set of cards - each with a photograph and personal details.

The makers of Boy Crazy say it is all innocent fun, but critics say it could make girls sexually aware at too early an age.

The game is aimed at 11 year old girls
Costing about £2 for a pack of nine, each card has a photo of an ordinary boy aged 12 to 22 - with details such as eye colour and hobbies.

They are aimed at 10- and 11-year-olds and can be swapped or played as a game, with a girl choosing her favourite. To win cards, her friends have to guess which boy she fancies.

But some schools are considering banning the cards.

Nick Phillips, headteacher of Southover Primary school in Lewes, East Sussex, told the BBC the game could be inappropriate for some girls.

He said: "It's encouraging some children in a certain direction too early and it could also lead to problems between children when they're playing the game."

Hobbygames, the Sussex-based company distributing the packs, is used to criticism.

It proudly quotes cases of children spending more than £1,000 each on Star Wars and other sci-fi related card collections it markets in the UK.

'Not harmful'

Hobbygames spokesman Mark Maitland said the new game - which was invented in the US - was just harmless fun:

"You have only got to look at some of the teenage press that is around which is a lot worse in the topics they talk about.

"This is not controversial, it's not sexual, it's not harming in any way at all," he added.

John Salisbury from toy industry magazine UK Toy News said whatever the criticisms, he thought the game would be a hit.

He said: "The less politically correct it is, the more successful it will be. British girls are very switched on and I think they will giggle at it."

Mr Salisbury said: "Kids are getting older younger, so younger children are being targeted more and more because that is where the real market for toys and games lies nowadays."

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