Adults are not the only consumers any longer. Marketers spend $600 billion dollars a year in marketing to children.
It is not until age eight that children finally understand but when they are a little bit younger they believe everything they are told. The result of all the marketing towards children is, they are so, “wrapped up in acquiring, exchanging, and collecting” (Schor). With the jaded aspects of marketing towards children: the promotion of sexuality, violence, and bad nutrition, it is resulting in a thwarted childhood.
Every parent that has cable is exposing their children to MTV. A cable network that is notorious for exposing sexuality to children. MTV is teen culture, something that children turn to as they age. MTV exploits women, depicts a “manipulated and gratuitous” sexuality (Linn). They portray women to be like Barbie, blonde, ridiculously skinny, large breasts, and beautiful. They promote teen pop stars who work out everyday and have personal chefs and shoppers, leading children to think, “That is what I have to look like in order to be beautiful.” The head of research for MTV, Betsy Frank states, “If something works for MTV, it will also work for Nickelodeon.” (Linn). However, you have not and will not find women in bikinis getting sprayed with whipped cream, as you would on MTV’s Spring. Break.
Fast food restaurants such as McDonalds and Burger King have always had kid’s meals, and with that kids meals typically come with a toy.
In some cases they are a part of a much larger set where, in order to complete that set you have to buy the meals at the fast food restaurant. Usually what that meal consists of are greasy deep-fried fries, a hamburger/ cheeseburger, or chicken nuggets. They are appealing to children when the toy is part of the meal. Not only are fast food restaurants well known for advertising bad nutrition to children but even the schools where they go and eat lunch everyday. A typical meal in a school’s cafeteria consists of pizza and fries, sometimes a hamburger or chicken sandwich. It is incredibly difficult to find nutritious food in a school’s cafeteria. In some school’s they may have a small section consisting of yogurt, salad, or fruit but they are never well stocked. Health class is a required class in school. This is where they preach to exercise and eat healthy, seems rather hypocritical when you cannot find healthy foods in a cafeteria or snack machines at school. The only way to eat healthy in school is to bring your own lunch.
The media is nonchalantly promoting violence in movies, television and video games. Many of these video games are rated MA intended for mature audiences only.
Grand Theft Auto, obviously of the type of game with the title, Halo, 007, in all of these games the plot is finding different weapons and killing your enemy. However, kids can just as easily get hold of these rated MA games. At school some may even be considered cool for owning these violent games.
On television during prime time hours they have the World Wrestling Federation (now the World Wrestling Entertainment) where these buff men wrestle each other and beat each other with chairs, even though it’s not real many children do not understand that. Some even conduct Wrestling matches with their friends. South Park, another controversial rated MA television show, the primary audience include teenagers, thirteen to nineteen (Linn).
The Federal Trade Commission conducted a survey on rated R movies, rated M games, and music with explicit content and who each targeted to. For the movies, 80 percent were targeted to children less than 17 years of age. Seventy percent of the games were targeted to children and all of the music recordings with explicit content were targeted to children. Children are able to purchase movie tickets with R ratings 85 percent of the time (Unknown, FTC). They are able to purchase these music recordings and video games with little to no trouble.
Marketers have a stronger impact on children than they realize and not for the better. As a result of all the brand new video games and television the children of our society have lost touch with reality.
When was it that kids enjoyed riding bikes in the neighborhood with their friends? All the things children used to enjoy doing that had nothing to do with technology was marbles, stickball, hand clapping, and dodgeball. Our youth have lost the child games. As Juliet B. Schor stated, “One Saturday morning after a rare snowstorm, I was stuck by the pristine snow and the pervasive quiet: all the kids were inside”. Kids used to play outside with their friends riding bikes, playing sports, playing at the park, and going sledding. Not only have kids lost their childhood but levels of obesity, ADD, and ADHD are rapidly rising amongst children (Schor). As of today children would rather be cooped up inside playing the latest violent PlayStation game.
Children are losing their childhood as a result of the marketing and promotion of sexuality, violence, and bad nutrition.
Marketing is directed towards children nowadays because “They are the darlings of corporate America” (Schor). They are so easily influenced and marketers know that. Advertising affects children more profoundly than adults. Today’s children are so interested in the material things in life that they have completely lost a normal and healthy childhood.