Posted by Tara Button
How to Cure Not Feeling Cool
How to Protect Kids from Messaging
Block Those Ads
The Smartphone Solution
Fixing the Fashion Issue
Set Shopping Expectations
Avoiding Toy Overload
Think About Your Own Consumption
This familiar call of the young human to its parent is heard universally in Westernised culture. It’s a distress call.
We are programmed to want social acceptance. It’s not that we simply want to be accepted but that we feel we need to be accepted. In ancient times, if you were rejected by your tribe, you starved or died.
No wonder this is a powerful driver for us. In our current consumerist society, and especially as young people, social acceptance and material things have become intimately linked.
Advertisers use this knowledge to create trends and fads, but now more than ever they are targeting the young. Companies have wised up to how much they can make by turning our children into consumers.
When I was a baby, companies spent just £100 million on advertising to kids globally, now it’s £17 billion.
Furthermore, brands will give out free goods to pregnant mothers so that their brand gets in front of newborn eyes first. But is materialism, essentially focusing on what stuff we have, so bad?
In short, yes, really bad.
Materialistic people have been shown to be less generous, less agreeable, less healthy, less likely to help others, less satisfied with their lives
less satisfied with their jobs, less caring about the environment, more likely to gamble, more likely to be in debt, lonelier, worse at keeping friends and less close to the friends they do have. Materialistic kids also do less well at school.
We know that when we think of ourselves as consumers, we become more selfish and disconnected from others and damage our positive relationships.
In 1978, researchers Goldberg and Gorn studied two groups of kids. One group watched a TV show that included toy commercials and the other watched it without.
Later, the kids who had watched the adverts chose to play alone with the advertised toys instead of with their friends.
Unfortunately, the 5000 marketing messages our kids are receiving every day are “you are a consumer”, “buy this”, “eat this”, “watch this”.