Issues

Marketing to Children Overview

Marketing to Children (Overview)

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. A generation ago, parents concerned about commercialism worried mainly about television.  Today, children are also targeted through DVDs, video games, the Internet, MP3 players, and cell phones.  In a world of marketing without borders, brand... Read more...

Advertising in Schools

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... Read more...

Commercializing Toys and 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. Play comes naturally to children yet, as a society, we actually... Read more...

Food Marketing and 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, mobile, viral and in-school marketing to create omnipresent campaigns designed to... Read more...

Marketing, Eating Disorders and Body Image

Even as children are bombarded from infancy with messages to eat foods high in calories, sugar, and fat, they-girls especially-are being sold the ideal of being impossibly thin. Eating disorders among teenagers are disturbingly common and even girls as young as six are worrying about their weight. The discontent teenage girls feel about how they look is linked to watching television commercials and reading fashion magazines. Over half use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping... Read more...

Marketing to Babies and Toddlers

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 toys, foods, and other products throughout childhood. Equally troubling is the escalation of "educational" baby media on the market-videos, software, and digital books-which get babies and toddlers dependent on screens and... Read 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. Exposure to media and marketing promotes materialistic values in children and is stressful for families.... Read 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 woman. Boys are also affected when sex is commodified, presented in the context of harmful stereotypes, and intertwined with power and... Read 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.    Viewing media violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent, mean place and can lead to emotional desensitization toward real life violence.  Children who view a lot of violent media are more likely... Read more...