This is my first ever review on SmarterSpend and it came about rather spontaneously.
Today, I saw a documentary about advertising and marketing that really got me thinking about the mentality behind businesses today in the United States. The name of the documentary is “Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood” and brings to light the very troubling tactics employed by huge corporations to market their products to young children.
Consuming Kids is one of the most amazing documentaries I have ever seen.
The video begins by describing how advertisers and companies have targeted Congress into deregulating children’s advertisement and marketing and how there was an 840% increase in children’s spending in the past 25 years because of this deregulation. This is a growth about 7 times more than the inflation.
Currently, children have the spending power of the combined GDPs of the poorest 125 countries, worth a total of $700 billion, in America alone.
The documentary then describes how clever advertisers are creeping into children’s lives one area at a time – starting from small cartoons aimed at selling toys, to online games (including adver-cades) and websites, and now into brazen promotions of their products in numerous TV shows and movies.
Furthermore, these advertisers are using the fiscal crisis to purchase billboards and large advertisements in schools – where they promote unhealthy products and wasteful spending. An example of this was a donation of a scoreboard with Coca-Cola logos all over it to a certain school. Not only is this brainwashing children to spend money on unnecessary products and forcing their parents to make unwise financial decisions to seem “cool” and fit into their altered social standards – most of the stuff they try to sell is completely bad for the kids- chips, sweets, and processed foods.
Advertisers have hired many researches in order to get their science – including following kids in school and supermarkets, while they are talking to friends, and even in the bathroom to promote beauty products and studying their reactions to different shapes, colors, and voices. They have even exploiting friends and family – nothing is out of reach.
Another scary method used by advertisers is neuromarketing, which allows researches to see what areas of a child’s brain lights up when they see something exciting. All this is used to entice everyone to spend more money money and make the wrong decisions.
With years of extensive studies, marketers have perfected nearly all aspects of advertising – speeds and sounds, ethno and geotargeting, and even changing the shapes in their advertisements based on children’s responses as they grow older. Marketing has also evolved in recent years – not by exaggerating the product but by changing the mentality of kids to “You Are What You Have.”
The documentary also talks about how children are getting younger faster by citing examples of the makeup brand Tween, which used to be for 8- 12 year olds, but now is being used by six year olds girls. These social changes have altered the dynamic of being a child. Kids ages 12- 14 now spend 94% less time in creative games and activities than 15 years ago – a staggering figure.
In order to make a change in the world so that our children and grandchildren grow up in a society where people are not classified based on their material possessions For example, limiting children’s television and Internet time is a great way to stop this thirst for products and wasteful spending.
Children should not have to have things to be happy- surely an Ipod does not grant happiness. Kids are slowly getting older, faster. They aren’t enjoying the things that little children used to enjoy before – like spending time with their parents or reading a book.
The most horrible exploitation is that of young girls with sexuality and look preferences – so much that preschoolers are wearing mini shorts and skirts based on their favorite Bratz dolls. For males, the ideas of becoming a man and being able to dominate have begun creeping inside video games – where killing someone after a conflict is seen as the only alternative to a reasonable solution.
I can go on and on summarizing the this very educational film, however I rather my readers watch it and come back to me with what they learned and what they will do to ensure kids are not brainwashed and manipulated. How can we provide a healthier future for everyone?
Please watch this video and let me know. Click this link for the video.
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