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ISSUES

 

 

The Commercialization of Childhood

 

One commercial for a violent movie, a few sexual innuendos to get them to buy jeans, and a couple of ads urging them to eat junk food are not going to harm kids.  But today, as never before, the lives of children are saturated with commercial marketing. More> 

 

 

Media Violence

 

Research demonstrates that “viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values, and behavior, particularly in children.”  Yet media fraught with violence – including television programs, movies, video games, and music – are routinely marketed to children. More>

 

 

Sexualizing Childhood

 

Children today are inundated with media and marketing that use sex to sell products. Embedded in these sexualized images are harmful messages that equate personal value with sexual appeal and turn sex into a commodity. Movies, music, TV programs video games and even toys marketed to children are rife with degrading images that objectify and sexualize girls and women. More>

 

 

Commercializing Play

 

Hands-on play is essential to children’s health and wellbeing. Play is the foundation of learning and creativity. It promotes critical thinking, self-regulation, and constructive problem solving by providing children with opportunities to explore, experiment, and to initiate rather than merely react. Children play to express their fantasies and feelings, to gain a sense of competence, and to make meaning of their experience. More>

 

 

Marketing without Borders

 

Television commercials aren’t exactly obsolete, but these days’ marketers find myriad ways to insinuate brands into children’s lives.  Products and brands are seamlessly woven into films, TV programs, video games, songs, and books.  Food companies produce online games, and media companies like Nickelodeon create virtual worlds to seduce children into branded play.  More>

 

 

Body Image

 

Even as children are bombarded from infancy with messages to eat foods that are high in calories, sugar, and fat, they—girls especially—are being sold the notion of being impossibly thin. Eating disorders among teenagers are disturbingly common and even girls as young as six are worrying about their weight. More>

 

 

Materialistic Values and Family Stress

 

The primary message of commercial culture is that the things we buy will make us happy. In fact, that’s not true. Research tells us that our sense of wellbeing depends on relationships, a sense of community, spiritual nourishment and/or job satisfaction, not on acquiring “things.” Children who are more materialistic are less happy, more depressed, more anxious and have lower self-esteem. More>

 

 

School Commercialism

 

Corporate-sponsored TV newscasts and commercialized radio on school buses.  McLibraries, Coca Cola vending machines, and milk cartons sporting ads.  Math lessons courtesy of Pokémon, and sports fields named after Rust-Oleum.  Marketers love to target students in schools. Where else can they find a captive audience?  As one corporate executive put it, “The advertiser gets kids who cannot go to the bathroom, cannot change the station, who cannot listen to their mother yell in the background, who cannot be playing Nintendo.” More>

 

 

Childhood Obesity

 

Even though obesity rates are at a record high, children continue to be inundated with marketing for foods high in fat, sugar, salt and calories.  The food industry exploits every technology and technique available to insinuate its brands into the fabric of childhood. Companies weave together television and Internet advertising, brand licensing, product placement, in-store advertising, premiums, cross-promotions, viral and in-school marketing to create omnipresent campaigns designed to take advantage of children’s vulnerabilities. More>

 

 

Commercializing Babyhood

 

In a commercialized culture fraught with troubling trends, among the most pernicious is the all out effort to brand infants and toddlers.  Baby paraphernalia is routinely festooned with licensed characters like Elmo and Winnie the Pooh—the  same icons that will sell them media, food, toys, and other products throughout childhood. More>

 

 

     

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