Kids: Commercial Scapegoats?

Is trapping children the guarantee to future business expansion?

What an easy mark kids are for the big corporation when focusing on sales and profits extending into future years. Especially at an early age when they can be so easily swayed towards corporate choices of lifestyles of consumerism and the buying of certain products.

Of all the unethical happenings that are transpiring to further contaminate the commercial enterprise system, marketing to children is the most upsetting.

This cannot have been restrained much by government intervention or public demand because it is continually more invasive. There are intense commercials that brainwash the young innocent minds. Product displays like food packaging are specifically directed at kids. There are toys and giveaways to attract their attention to a product. It is all so well established and far-reaching that it is somewhat of a conquest of child, and family.

The competition amongst marketers to sell childhood products is very competitive and so the game play becomes more excessive. Trapping the little ones towards each marketer's product is the reward for clever marketing.

It's scary to imagine how far this can be taken. If children are allowed to be brainwashed in any way it should be towards living a healthier and happier life. This would include topics like honesty, nature, charity, friendship, healthy food and lifestyles.

Children are in the learning years of their lives and will absorb much of what is put to them, at home, school and elsewhere. In the classroom they are presumably taught the required educational basics for communicating and earning a living, and some values for living happily. This is also the object of parents whose most precious assets are their children.

Here the problem becomes more difficult and the results less desirable since many parents have already succumbed to this materialistic lifestyle to some degree. They may be just too busy or unaware of what is happening to a whole generation.

Have we lost the battle and the war against the commercial mega-machines? Have many of us not already lost some of our truest values to big business? Do we want our children to travel down this path?

Parents should not be left alone to fight the huge tide of marketing that promotes and persuades children in an artificial direction. Government for the people should be for the people, and that includes kids! Solid support by our politicians in the form of strict legislation favoring families over commerce is sorely required, long overdue, and yes, a monumental task at this point in time.

But they will only act effectively and in favor of the little citizens when it is demanded of them. So let's get interested and turn this around. Check out the advocacy websites, post on family and social change forums and blogs. Discuss your concerns with your co-workers, friends and neighbors. Web search the topics that most concern you.

Examples of resources dealing with marketing to kids.

Monitor on Psychology - Advertising to children: Is it ethical?
Some psychologists cry foul as peers help advertisers target young consumers.

The New American Dream reviews a book by consumer expert Juliet Schor on this very disturbing trend.

The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by consumer expert Juliet Schor, explores the damaging effects advertising and marketing have on children. According to this breakthrough research, the advertising-saturated culture our children are exposed to is causing an array of psychosomatic symptoms.

Expenditures for advertising and marketing aimed specifically at children have risen to over $15 billion a year. This amount is likely to grow with the increase in children’s buying power, now estimated at more than $30 billion a year in direct purchases. Children influence an additional $670 billion worth of parental spending, making them a prime advertising target. It’s estimated that the average child watches more than 40,000 television commercials per year. According to a recent poll released by the Center for a New American Dream nearly 8 in 10 of Americans (79%) think there should be more limits on advertising to children. The majority of Americans (87%) think that our current consumer culture makes it harder to instill positive values in our children.

The review cites the book's six tips to help parents reduce a child’s exposure to advertising. This is really worth reading if you have kids.
The full review at The New American Dream.

Amy Jussel's Shaping Youth blog is a heart warming big effort devoted to media and marketing's influence on kids. Nice work Amy!

Grampa Ken ~ Author of 32 KEYS About Life and Blogger at Social-Fix

Other posts about kids here at Social Fix