Moms taking their 8-year-old daughters to get waxed. Parents buying their toddlers electronic gadgets. Young children being taken to R-rated movies. Most parents work hard to make good choices for their children, but with the bulk of billions of dollars in advertising influencing their perceptions and values, it can be confusing, frustrating, intimidating and exhausting.
The July/August edition of the Multinational Monitor has an interesting interview with child media guru Susan Linn, a Harvard professor, director of Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood and author of books such as Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood.
(BTW: If you’re a teacher, our website has a few ideas for using some of the concepts from Consuming Kids in the classroom.)
In her interview, Linn discusses how marketing to kids has changed, the impact of TV and internet, the commercialization of schools, the leading industries that market to kids, and how to deal with marketing to kids.
With marketing, media and advertising in the faces of everyone in the U.S. practically 24/7, knowing how to guide children to make healthy, compassionate, just choices can be a challenge. Fortunately, the number of resources available to help address these issues is growing. As a parent, teacher or concerned citizen, you may want to know about resources such as:
Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet Schor.
Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart
Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketers’ Schemes by Sharon Lamb and Mikel Brown
Recently we posted a mention of two newish books out about the sexualization of children, So Sexy, So Soon and The Lolita Effect.
IHE President Zoe Weil includes media literacy tips in her book for parents, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times.
There are also some useful websites to help concerned parents and people traverse the media, marketing and advertising minefields. Here are just a few:
- Commercial Alert
- The Media Education Foundation
- Common Sense Media
- PBS’s Children and Media page
- The Center for Media Literacy
- The Center for Media and Democracy