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Commercialism And American Childhood Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

“Commercialism has transformed American childhood and the institutions that serve children. As virtually every public space has become branded with the symbols of corporations that seek to sell products, services, and ideas…” (Molnar p. 5) Marketers are solely focused on buying and selling. When we allow these marketers and their advertisements into our schools we certainly “undermine their essential civic function to promote the general welfare and strengthen civil society” (Molnar p. 9) because the focus of what education is all about is lost. Marketing is not a market that should be seen in schools because its intentions are not what is best for students and our society as a whole. ...view middle of the document...

For example, BankAtlantic, a bank in Florida, donated bank themed math workbooks to students in hopes to build name recognition among elementary school students (Molnar p. 24). BankAtlantic’s distribution of textbooks would fit into one of the categories of commercialism, sponsored educational materials. Sponsored educational materials are “supplied by corporations or trade associations,” such as BankAtlantic, “that claim to have instructional content,” (Molnar p. 23) in this case, mathematics. This causes the issue of a distracting curriculum as the math workbooks are complicated by a corporate message and the overall learning process of the student suffers.
There are actually several categories of school commercialism including: sponsorship of programs and activities, exclusive agreements, incentive programs, appropriation of space, sponsored educational materials, electronic marketing, privatization, and fund raising. Many teachers, parents, and, students worry that advertising in schools negatively affects the quality of today’s education. Commercialism in schools has become a way for schools to gain funding from outside sources in exchange for space, brand recognition, loyalty, etc. Marketers took the decrease of funding for public education as an opportunity to increase their like-ability, customers, and sales by targeting students. According to Professor McNeal, children are “ the brightest star of the consumer constellation” (Molnar p. 8) and by investing in students, companies can basically “guarantee adult customers tomorrow” (Molnar p. 8). This perfectly explains why there has been such an immense increase of commercialism found in schools. Marketers found a solution to schools’ problem of lack of funding and took advantage of it.
Commercialism can often cause confusion for young children. We are sending students conflicting messages by teaching them to eat nutritious foods and drink lots of water, and then plastering vending machines on every wall of their school full of junk food and soda. Not only are there vending machines in every corner, there are also advertisements for Coca-Cola or McDonalds every where they look. Having vending machines of only one vendor around the school, such as Pepsi, and giving Pepsi the okay to “sell and promote their goods in the school” (Molnar p. 21) is an example of an exclusive agreement. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese (“Centers for Disease Control,”). Of course we can’t prove that the increased number of vending machines and selling in schools in the sole reason of this disturbing statistic, yet, it surely has to have made some sort of contribution. Placing vending machines in schools certainly influences students’ thirst quenching decisions to more negative ones, especially when schools only offer sodas in the machines and lack other healthier options.
Another way we send conflicting messages is through the Channel One news program which...

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