Fight Commercialization of Children
By Gary W. Buffone, Ph.D.
Here are some tip how you can fight commercialization of children. Children are big business. It has been estimated that kids aged 2-14 currently influence purchases of more than $500 billion annually. Not surprisingly, children are targeted by a multitude of corporate marketing campaigns from the moment they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep at night. For example, the average child now sees 40,000 commercials annually on television alone.
Although several countries prohibit direct advertising to children, no such protections exist in the United States. So who is there to monitor and protect our children from the negative effects of aggressive advertising? This total responsibility rests solely with the parents.
Here are a Few Tips to Fight Commercialization of Children.
Get involved. Closely monitor the ways in which your child is exposed to advertising through the various media and other sources. Take some time and watch their TV programs, look at the Internet sites they visit, read their magazines. Get a better feel for the kinds of messages your child is exposed to on a daily basis.
Tip # 2
Set some limits. Don’t be afraid to set some limits on your child’s access to electronic media, which is the primary funnel for commercial advertising. One simple step is to keep television out of your child’s bedroom, yet we see that 65% of kids 8-18 have sets in their rooms. Set limits on TV time, keep an eye on excessive computer usage, and put a stop to other sources of Madison Have A New creep.
Talk to your kids about advertising. Speak with you children about the advertising messages they see and hear every day. Help them critically process and analyze what the message is saying, how it makes them feel, and what kind of influence it may have on their thinking and behavior. Help them become more conscious of how advertising affects them and their consumer choices.
Fight back. Speak out and raise public awareness on the issue. Contact a company and complain if you find their advertising to be particularly offensive or overly aggressive. Write the Better Business Bureau or their Children’s Advertising Review Unit with your concerns. Support legislation against predatory marketing practices.
Clearly, there is no absolute protection against the constant onslaught of commercial advertising. But there are things parents can do. So do what you can and most importantly, stay involved.
For more information on money and children, www.thefamilywealthresource.com.
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