Consuming Kids: The Commercialization Of Childhood

1725 words - 7 pages

The land of the free, brave and consumerism is what the United States has become today. The marketing industry is exploiting children through advertisement, which is ridiculously unfair to children. We are around advertisement and marketing where ever we go; at times, we don't even notice that we are being targeted to spend our money. As a matter of fact, we live to buy; we need and want things constantly, and it will never stop. The film, Consuming Kids , written by Adriana Barbaro and directed by Jeremy Earp, highlights children as this powerful demographic, with billions of dollars in buying power, but the lack of understanding of marketers’ aggressive strategies. Children are easily influenced and taken advantage of, which is why commercialization of children needs to stop. Commercialization to children leads to problems that parents do not even know are happening such as social, future, and rewired childhood problems. Government regulations need to put a stop to corporations that live, breathe and sell the idea of consumerism to children and instead show that genuine relationships and values are what are important.
Marketers become rich by selling the idea of happiness to children; that life is all about buying and getting, and money is happiness. This ill treatment of children, by marketers, negatively affects social aspects of children. In more recent years, marketers have started to push more expensive, “branded” products to children. As Velmha La.Point states, “There’s a mantra in American society you are what you have, you are what you buy, you are what you own. The corollary of that, is and if you don’t have it, then you are a nobody”(Consuming Kids). This then leads to things such as depression or low self-esteem if a child believes he or she is inadequate because they do not have it all. Enola Aird said, “So the philosophy becomes cradle to grave: Let's get to them early. Let's get to them often. Let's get to them as many places as we can get them. Not just to sell them products and services, but to turn them into life-long consumers”(Consuming Kids). Marketing doesn’t communicate adult messages to children as children, but as men and women. They are being forced to grow up fast due to the strategy of age compression. According to Betsy Taylor, “In that world of materialism, kids are not allowed to be kids anymore. They have to grow up fast. We see it in the way they're being asked to dress, the violence they're being asked to navigate. And what's getting squeezed out is childhood”(Consuming Kids). No one who is seventeen reads Seventeen Magazine, but girls who are ten through twelve do. Childhood dream jobs went from being nurses and astronauts to being wealthy and having a lot of things. All these advertisements are telling children that they need these products to have a meaningful life instead of telling them its fine to have nice things, but don’t mistake that for happiness. The rise of children’s media and increased...

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