AnsweringQuestions _“Born to Buy”
Chapter8. How Consumer Culture Undermines Children’s Wellbeing
TheDoxley’s respondents were mostly those who are used to watching TVsand spend more time with electronic media. They like junk foods andwatching programs like professional wrestling, a GameBoy amongothers. They are mostly affected by their habit of over-consumption.One such respondent is Greg, who is overweight due to his overconsumption of junk foods. They skip assignments so that they canwatch TVs. At a tender age, some kids are spotted reading instantmessages on drugs and sex. The Doxley respondents’ socio-economicfeatures comprised professional individuals with massive wealth andincomes. The majority of the people in the area are of the white racetranslating to 78.7%. Regarding education background, at least 89.6%and 85% of both mother and father are college graduates. As such, 70%of the mothers are employed with at least 47% working full time and53% being part time. Similarly, 96% of the fathers are used. The areais also characterized by married families connoting to 83.4%.
InBoston, the area featured families with low incomes compared toDoxley. The educational background of this population is that 57.1%of the mothers are college graduates with the fathers being 58% ofthe total. 91.6% of the population has jobs with 80% of the mothersworking full time, and only 20% working part time. Likewise, the areahas at least 47 families that are married.
Mostof these children who participated in the study were of the agesbetween 0 and above 20 years. The group that was perceived to befervent TV watchers was the Boston respondents with 78% compared toDoxley with 56%.
Accordingto Schor (2004), children`s deep involvement in consumer culture withlinks to electronic media usage, advertisements, etc., has adverseeffects on the children. This is because research has led to theconclusion that when kids watch bad habits e.g. smoking, on TVs theyare more likely to emulate the same. Similarly, great exposure totelevision and unhealthy food ads has contributed to kids becomingobese due to the unhealthy lifestyle of consuming junk food.
Consumerculture has made parents lose control over their parentalresponsibilities, and as a result, kids are encouraged to be morematerialistic, become obese and aggressive towards their parents. TheDoxley respondents were the ones most affected by these conflicts.
Characteristicsthat correlate with having materialistic values is demonstrated bychildren being more depressed, anxious, low self-esteem and sufferfrom psychosomatic distress and complaints.
Chapter9. Empowered or Seduced? The Debate about Advertising and Marketingto Kids
Accordingto Schor (2004), kid empowerment can be described as the idea thatmarketing advertisements and products help children to achieveindependence and feel more powerful. The marketers are for the ideathat kids need it because they feel they should be autonomous andlead their environment to be in control of their own parents.Marketers want to promote youth empowerment because they feel thatchildren want to boost their self-esteem and be in control in anenvironment where they develop their own rules.
Kidempowerment and parental guidance may clash when there existspervasive anti-adultism in a commercial culture which is threateningthe shared respect between parents and their children. The marketingadvertising and the media have become excessively impolite towardsthe parents thereby undermining the children’s proper respect. Assuch, advertisers want to eliminate parents in decision making asthey feel that today’s kids are a little more of techno savvy andsophisticated compared to most adults. Children’s cognitive levelsare increasing rapidly and thus, marketers and advertisers must workto increase kid’s sophistication levels.
Themarketing and advertising industry feel that parents are to blame fortheir kids’ continuous demanding attitudes for materialistic goodsand excessive consumer culture. They tend to believe that, parentshave given up their parental responsibility rights when it comes tosetting limits and restricting their children’s access to consumerculture thus contributing to a child’s behavioral outcome to beterrible. Thus, if only parents could exercise full control of theirparental responsibility through say, spending adequate time withtheir children, then their children will be less likely to demandunhealthy and unnecessary products and brands, aggressive and obese.As a result, based on the polls conducted, quite a good number ofparents readily accepted responsibility for their children. 78%stated that advertising has created too much pressure on the childrenmaking them demand too costly, unnecessary and unhealthy products(Schor, 2004).
Chapter10. Decommercializing Childhood
Schorfeels that the federal government needs to regulate advertising andits content through passing federal act mandating for fulldisclosures for all products placements in televisions, movies,books, radio, the internet, etc. The government also needs to addresswhether advertising to children is warranted at all. As such, itshould commission independent checks on a full range of questionsassociated with advertising to children (Schor, 2004). It should alsoestablish laws to restrict school commercialism. I find theregulation to be reasonable as it will enable parents to raise theirchildren well and create a safe and healthy environment for them.
Accordingto Neil Postman, he describes a modern child to be highly empowered,independent and autonomous attributed by parents who have shiftedtheir roles to be egalitarian. The invention of electronic media andinformation has exposed children to inappropriate content. Comparedto before when the adults and children were involved in similarsocial activities, the modern child has become restricted to most ofthe social settings to prevent them from seeing things they shouldn’tknow about. This created a society with kids that are more liberaland self-directing like adults.
Today, the modern child has become toxic to consumer culture they are attached to watching too much of age inappropriate movies on TV or over the internet, playing video games while unsupervised and mostly dependent on junk foods. This exposure has made most kids to become obese, engage in inappropriate habits that they emulate from watching series and movies and becoming hostile towards their parents.
The post-modern child is characterized by developed boundaries between the children and the adults.
In a modern childhood, the parent mainly focuses on the needs of his or her children while in a post-modern childhood parents have shifted their norms to be egalitarian.
Itis important to preserve the innocence of the kids because they arevery sensitive and can easily be negatively impacted by informationor news that may be traumatic.
Schorfeels that it is important to de-commercialize childhood so as tocreate a culture that is safe, fun, and stimulating for both theparents and the children (Schor, 2004).
Accordingto Schor (2004), downshifters are those modest changes likeinitiating simple and cost effective pleasures and activities tocontrol and limit children`s consumer culture. I would considerdownshifting because it contributes to a positive impact such asenhancing creativity among children, teaching children the value ofmoney, and reducing stress.
Schor,J. B. (2004). Bornto buy: The commercialised child and the new consumer culture.New York: Scribner.