Consuming Kids Essay Samples

Very interesting a DEFINITELY confirmed a lot of what I had already believed. I didn't realize it was quite to the extent that it is until I talked to my husband (advertising in schools, marketing parties for kids, etc). Part of that was because I was taught by my grandmother to ignore commercials and ads to the point where I don't even notice them today. Unfortunately, my younger brother was not taught this same lesson and has always had to have the "best" things. He will not wear any clothes if they're not a certain brand, price, and color scheme. It's insane. I understand everyone has their own personal style, but to the point where they'll refuse to wear it if it's not Active brand? Or if it is the right brand but won't wear it if it was on clearance?! What's worse is he's 17; I already learned that brands didn't matter when I was 11. Hell, I was 13 when I started asking myself 3 questions when shopping, "Is it cute? Cheap? Comfortable?" If I said no to any of those things, I would than put it down.

And than there's my sister. Her daughter is extremely cute and quite playful like most 18-month old kids. Unfortunately, my sister is raising her on TV. Starting at 6-months, my sister (and soon later my mom) would sit her in front of the TV to watch Baby Einstein. Why? Because it shut her up and put her to sleep. And now, my sister doesn't really play with her, just kinda sticks her in the living room with Nick Jr. on TV and tons of these toys that light up and make funny sounds. Than she'll take her to the park maybe once every couple of weeks or so. She's not even two, and my sister wonders why the pediatrician lectured her about her daughter being behind developmentally. It flippin' irritates me!!! Sometimes I want to ask her why she had a kid if she didn't want to be a mother. I understand taking care of a kid is hard and even harder to resist the temptation of all this crap that will "make them happy," but any parent should have known that from the very beginning. It's maddening because she also has the luxury of not having to worry about work or school. Her boyfriend (the father) makes more than enough to support them both, and she completed her B.Sc. years ago. So, she's with her daughter all day every day and still does these things.

My husband and I are expecting our first soon and I told him that I did not want us to get a TV for another few years. He wants one for video games, but admits that he can live without one. When other people find out we don't yet have a TV and don't plan on getting one anytime soon, they give us the weirdest looks. One woman who is a mother of 3 asked me, "So, if you don't have a TV, than what do you do? Talk?" There's a whole world out there and so much to do! I don't want to be some drone staring at a screen. Sure, taking care of a kid is tiring, but playing with them and watching them learn from YOU is so rewarding! So why would I even bother getting something that will only tempt bad habits?

I understand at the end why they say sole responsibility shouldn't be placed on the parents for being exposed to all of this, especially in certain situations (such as a single/working parent is forced to rely on daycare(I have a lot of issues with daycare that I won't go into)). But, when a parent(s) has the capability to raise their kids and TEACH them yet don't, I do put majority blame on the parents. Every parent should know better than to give their kid(s) everything he/she/they want, but they often give in because they don't want to deal with the tantrums. I've seen it happen several times over, and do these parents not realize that they are essentially rewarding terribly bad behavior? Not just conceited selfishness, but the idea that the child can than get whatever he/she/they want by simply being a handful?!

@Divine Comedy: I completely agree with you.

@Sarah: Good for you!

@Tia: And good luck to you, too. I'm sure, that since you are aware that you have to teach your children, that you will do well.

0 Consuming Kids Professor Timothy MacNeill Sociology Thursday, November 12, 2015 Introduction 1 There are people around the world who believe advertising towards children is perfectly acceptable; yet the rising obesity rates and increasing number of child and teen diabetics would beg to differ. The main focus being explored in this instance is the social problems connected to marketing toward children. I will argue that advertising to children should be disallowed due to a number of social problems that have stemmed from this growing issue. When it comes to the topic of advertising, adults are no longer the main focus for companies to target. Within society today, children have become the most susceptible and vulnerable audience to advertise toward. A large amount of controversies are related to this topic; some people believe the parents of children are responsible for what their child watches on the television, and others believe it is impossible to constantly monitor the activities of their kids. Through the course of this paper the following will be discussed: How are marketers targeting children? Why are marketers targeting children? Why is advertising to children an issue? And lastly the paper will provide suggestions on the subject of how this can be solved. How are marketers targeting children? In 2008, children were being exposed to 3,000 advertisements every day (Barbaro, 2008) and within the last 7 years that number has grown to 5,000 (CBS News, 2015). With technology being so advanced, there are hardly any borders that stand in the way of a product reaching a child’s mind. Marketers will use billboards, newspaper print, magazine pages, school buses, home furnishings, public transportation and most popular, the internet, to reach the young audiences exposed to such platforms. Unfortunately in today’s society, majority of children and teenagers are exposed to the internet and television ads at such a young age. Every major company has a website for their brand, although this is not how they advertise toward the community. It is through platforms such as social media that consumers are trapped between 2 advertisements. Initially advertising only took residence on sites such as facebook, youtube, and twitter. These were all sites being utilized by the older half of adolescents. Now marketers are taking over the internet in its whole by placing their ads on popular children’s sites such as Webkinz and Neopets. Now whenever a child wishes to check on the status of their electronic pet, they are forced into viewing a 30 second advertisement from companies like Coca-Cola before they can play a game. In addition to this, marketers have taken it one step further and have created “Advergames” (Barbaro, 2008). Instead of a preview before the game, the game itself is an advertisement for a product. The limitations on ways marketers can reach children decrease every day, and eventually there will be no boundaries held. Why are marketers targeting children? Although is almost seems like a myth, adults were once the sole target for companies to market towards. Over time this has changed due to the level of power adults now have. This higher level of power no longer belongs to adults, rather it now belongs to teenagers, tweens, and mostly children. Adults no longer hold the focus of companies because the older a person gets, the more common sense they have. Studies have shown that children under the age of 8 do not understand the advertising tactics of producers (Barbaro, 2008), which leads to the child wanting the product instead of understanding “Oh, it would not look like that in real life. It is just a marketing scheme”. Companies are taking advantage of children wishing to be older, faster, and are marketing products in a way children will think it will make them appear to be older. For example, No one that is the age of seventeen reads “Seventeen” magazine, it is a marketing plot that intrigues children to buy the magazine in hopes they will learn what it is like to be older. In addition to this, companies have become aware of what is called the “Nag Factor”. “The ‘Nag Factor’ is the tendency of children, who are bombarded with marketers’ messages, to unrelentingly request advertised items” (Henry, 2011). Marketers use this to their advantage 3 when advertising towards kids because they know an adult will most likely break under the pressure of their child’s persistent nagging and buy the product in order for them to stop. In addition, marketing towards children is investing in the future of the company. When children watch advertisements on television and the internet, they are being oriented to buying company products in their older years. When a teenager finally gets a job, they are more likely to save their money for a product they have dreamed about since viewing a commercial, rather than practical items or saving it. Marketers see an endless list of reasons to advertise toward a younger audience, yet the more they stray away from advertising to adults, the list of reasons of why companies should stop marketing towards children grows as well. Why is advertising to children an issue? Decades ago, kids had ambitions and dreams. Dreams of becoming an astronaut, a doctor, a fire fighter, etc. In 2015 children still have dreams, except now kid’s dream of becoming rich. Alongside the vein dreams children now hold, a vast number of children also have diabetes and are overweight. It is no coincidence that when advertising became more popular, the rates of obesity and diabetes in kids and teens has multiplied four times since 1960 (Barbaro, 2008). Advertising toward children has killed virtually all imagination the minds of children used to have; and in more ways than one. If you had have asked a kid in the sixties “What do you want to be when you are older?” most would reply with a profession. Now children frequently respond with “I want to be rich when I grow up”. This is a product of commercials teaching kids that money is the most important aspect of life because it can buy you a brand new Audi (Barbaro, 2008). Additionally, children are no longer satisfied with using their imagination to play with (Horton, 2006). Children MUST have the newest toy sword in order to be a pirate; picking up a stick and pretending is no longer good enough. Furthermore, the rates of obesity and diabetes 4 have skyrocketed since advertising became relevant. “Obesity is now pandemic, affecting hundreds of millions of people around the world, especially in rich countries, where between 10 to 20 percent of the population are obese” (Tepperman, Albanese, Curtis, 2015, 244). Ever since children began seeing advertisements for companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Nestle, etc, they began spending their allowance money on such items rather than on toys that would encourage them to be active. In addition to this, children also began to sit in front of the television more often in hopes of seeing what new products were coming out soon. This has caused problems because “Children who watch four or more hours of television a day have higher BMI’s … than those who watch fewer than two hours a day” (Tepperman, Albanese, Curtis, 2015, 244). A combination of unhealthy product promotions and the consumption of such products has resulted in very high obesity, diabetes, and increasing rate of eating disorders. In relation to eating disorders, obesity is not the only problem experienced as a result of marketing toward children. While the vast majority of those viewing these advertisements are gaining weight, there are those of a younger audience who are also being exposed to commercials that lead their audience to believe they are not “skinny” enough. A survey involving 1739 adolescent females had results showing 23 percent of those who participated were dieting which resulted in losing too much weight (Tepperman, Albanese, Curtis, 2015. 244). Marketing in the direction of children is a huge social issue that we face today, and if it is not stopped soon it will pose an even larger threat to society in the future. How can this problem be solved? Unfortunately, companies will never stop hiring marketers to help them advertise their products toward children. Yet this does not mean that no solution exists. Although this solution may not pose as the “perfect” fix, it will aid in the reduction of problems associated with this 5 social issue. One way that this problem could be solved is to stop advertising all together. As mentioned previously, sadly this solution is not an option. Although what could be done is stopping the marketers from targeting advertising to kids under a certain age. Because kids under the age of 12 lack the maturity to understand and cope with advertising (Bartholomew, 2012), marketers should not be allowed to take advantage of this fact. Children are very vulnerable and susceptible to what they view on television, especially if they see their favourite athlete/celebrity endorsing the product. Children as young as the age 12 do not understand that their favourite celebrity is being payed to be in a commercial for Coca-Cola, therefore they do not see any sort of problem with the product. Because if Britney Spears drinks Pepsi, why should everyone else not drink Pepsi? If marketers stopped using the most popular pop star at the time to gain the interest of kids, maybe they would lose interest all together. If children lose interest in unhealthy consumer products, they will not nag their parents to buy the product, or spend their own allowance on such things. Although it is unlikely, hopefully communities are able to live in an advertising free environment one day. Conclusion Social issues will always be a present factor of society, although some of them, such as marketing toward children, can be stopped. Marketers constantly abuse the growing world of technology to reach out to children and take advantage of their young minds. This poses a huge issue toward society because children are no longer growing up. Now, children simply go on with life. In the early 2000’s getting a cellphone and a computer was a huge milestone of growing up, now children receive computers almost at birth and obtain cellphones at an extremely young age. Through having these devices, companies are able to abuse that power and market unhealthy products which have caused the overall health of society to deteriorate. This 6 problem could be solved easily if marketers had morals and looked at what their tactics have done to society, and most importantly how their tactics are beginning and continuing to ruin the lives of children and adolescents all over the world. 7 Reference List Barbaro, A. (Director). (2008). Consuming kids [Motion picture]. Media Education Foundation. Cutting Through Advertising Clutter. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2015, from Henry, H. (2011). The Nag Factor. Journal of Children and Media, 5(3), 298-317. doi:10.1080/17482798.2011.584380 Horton, J. (2006). Not just growing up, but going on. Children's Geographies, 4(3), 259276. doi:10.1080/14733280601005518 Health Issues. (2014). In Tepperman, Albanese, & Curtis (Eds.), Principles of Sociology, Canadian Perspectives (3rd ed., p. 244). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. Bartholomew, A. (2012). Everything Under Control: A Child's Eye View of Advertising. Journal of Marketing Management, 19(3-4), 433-457. doi:10.1080/0267257X.2003.9728218 8 GRADING RUBRIC – copy and paste at end of paper before submitting Organization Introduction paragraph is concise with clear topic sentence, thesis statement and indication of the outline and purpose of the paper. Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Discussion of general issue: How well and thoroughly does the student explain the issue? Do they understand their own sources (film, articles, text) and convey this understanding clearly? Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Analysis: How well does student explore the issue critically? Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Use of Theory: How well does the student relate the discussion to social science theory? Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Conclusion: re-iteration of main points and thesis plus some originality and policy suggestion/s. Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Clarity of Argument: How convincing, direct, substantiated, logical, and clear is the argument as presented? Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent In-text citation used for ALL information other than thesis statement, conclusion, and perhaps some topic sentences of paragraphs. Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Paragraphs are ordered logically, have clear topic sentences, contain only relevant info, are less than one page (double-space) in length, with smooth transitions. Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent General grammar and writing style: Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent References: Does the student use proper references such as the textbook and peer-reviewed journals and avoid pure speculation, “common knowledge”, lecture notes, and non-academic sources? Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Reference page: with proper sources, and proper format Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Formatting: Pages are numbered and the paper is generally well formatted. Very Poor Needs Work Good (average) Very Good Excellent 9 TOTAL: /30


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