an entire counter-industry of media watchdogs, critics and authors selling books on the dangerous influence of consumerism on children -- by marketing these products to adults.
And while society debates the ethics of selling legitimate products to children, ongoing concerns surrounding underage smoking and drinking linger. Joe Camel might be dead, but what about alcohol advertisements showing (barely) legal drinkers doing things teenagers like to do as well, like dancing and interacting with friends and the opposite sex
This paper will examine the problem of pushing consumerism on to children and adolescents, and how it affects them and others they deal with, especially family and peers. The focus will be on the United States, but information from researchers in other countries will be reviewed for the sometimes enlightening differences seen across cultures. Television is the medium explored in the greatest depth, although the Internet is a growing influence on children and a source of conflict in families (Tufte, 71). Efforts to control or restrict advertising to children will be examined as well.
Culture can be defined as "the complex system of meaning and behavior that defines the way of life for a given group or society. Culture includes ways of thinking as well as patterns of behavior" (Anderson & Taylor, 2004, p. 58). Consumer culture, therefore, encompasses the culture of consumers, including their thinking, behavioral and buying patterns. Raymond Benton, Jr. defines consumerism as "the acceptance of consumption as the way to self-development, self-realization, and self-fulfillment," in a society or group that focuses on its consumption, not on its production (in Goodwin, 3). The terms "consumerism" and "commercialism" are often used...
This essay "The affect of advertising on youth culture" outlines the impact of the ad on the children, how they controlled spending and how they became a big part of consumer culture. It is safe to say children learn as much, if not more, outside the classroom as they do inside it. Perhaps the most important mode of transmission for the consumer culture is through advertising, especially television advertising aimed at children. Most of this advertising is shown during children’s programming like Saturday morning cartoons and cable stations targeting children (Cartoon Network, Disney, ABC Family). Communications professor Dale Kunkel estimates a child sees about 40,000 television commercials a year (Dittman, p. 37). Advertisements do not end at the front door: Children are also bombarded with commercials in educational television in the classroom, with exclusive contracts for brand name products in the lunch room and hallways, and even corporate sponsored curriculum units, some espousing controversial, highly political views.
Long the target of feminists concerned about how young girls view their bodies, the Barbie doll has kept up with the marketing times as well: Mattel Inc. and MasterCard teamed up to offer the “Cool Shoppin’ Barbie,” complete with mini MasterCard, a shopping boutique setting and a credit card processing machine that, not surprising, “approves” every purchase (George, 60). The official Barbie.com website collects information about visitors’ shopping habits that can be used as marketing research (Stockwell, 11).