The Elf On The Shelf has worked it's way into becoming a Christmas tradition, but does he really have more sinister motives? A new article by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives thinks so. In the piece, written by Laura Pinto and Selena Nemorin, they point to various reasons that by making kids ok with an elf monitoring all their activites now, they are preparing them for a world of being watched by big brother

What is troubling is what The Elf on the Shelf represents and normalizes: anecdotal evidence reveals that children perform an identity that is not only for caretakers, but for an external authority (The Elf on the Shelf), similar to the dynamic between citizen and authority in the context of the surveillance state. Further to this, The Elf on the Shelf website offers teacher resources, integrating into both home and school not only the brand but also tacit acceptance of being monitored and always being on one’s best behaviour--without question
By inviting The Elf on the Shelf simultaneously into their play-world and real lives, children are taught to accept or even seek out external observation of their actions outside of their caregivers and familial structures. Broadly speaking, The Elf on the Shelf serves functions that are aligned to the official functions of the panopticon. In doing so, it contributes to the shaping of children as governable subjects
The authors say the piece was inspired by this video on YouTube.