Born to Buy: A Groundbreaking Exposé of a Marketing Culture That Makes Children

Born to Buy: A Groundbreaking Exposé of a Marketing Culture That Makes Children "Believe They Are What They Own." (USA Today)

Product placement and other innovations have introduced more subtle advertising to movies and television.

Drawing on her own survey research and unprecedented access to the advertising industry, Juliet B.

Schor, New York Times bestselling author of The Overworked American, examines how marketing efforts of vast size, scope, and effectiveness have created "commercialized children." Ads and their messages about sex, drugs, and food affect not just what children want to buy, but who they think they are.

Reviews of the Born to Buy: A Groundbreaking Exposé of a Marketing Culture That Makes Children "Believe They Are What They Own." (USA Today)

Passive, driven by trends and consumption and without the ability to fill out their lifes without forever buying crap. However, why do people impose such destructive and unlucky behaviors on their children? As long as the adult generation does not have the maturity to control their impulses and urges, one can expect nothing else from the children. It is a bit like blaming television and advertising because they have forced you into a consumer-driven life. Or, whether creative and self-confident toddlers expand their skills in an exchange with two generations of parents in play, productive substitute and communication. Seit Mitte des 20 Jahrhunderts finden sich immer mehr Menschen in Demokratien wieder und können frei wählen, was sie ihrem Nachwuchs beibringen möchten. Aber wenn man das selbst nicht ist, fällt es schwer. Das Füllen des inneren Vakuums mit Glauben, immer neuen Gütern oder zu vielen oberflächlichen Sozialkontakten führt nicht zur erhofften Erlösung. Es ist im Gegenteil ein Teufelskreis, der nach immer mehr verlangt. Güter und Trends werden von denjenigen erschaffen, die ein berechtigtes Interesse daran haben, bis in die Ewigkeit ein stetig wechselndes Sortiment anbieten zu können. Wenn man ehrlich ist und sich diese Variante des Selbstbetrugsmodells eingesteht. Nur warum übertragen Menschen so destruktive und das Unglück verheißende Verhaltensmuster auf ihre Kinder? Die Maschinerie dahinter ist so subtil, ausgeklügelt und auf menschliche Schwächen ausgelegt, dass die Eltern und Großeltern selbst keine alleinige Schuld haben. Die Verfügbarkeit so vieler Waren und Unterhaltungsmöglichkeiten war ein Paradigmenwechsel im Umgang mit Gütern. Der Trieb des Menschen zu jagen und zu sammeln ist sehr stark. Als Erwachsene sind sie auf der Jagd nach den exklusivsten und teuersten Statussymbolen, um ihrer Position in der Hierarchie Ausdruck zu verleihen. Sie ignorieren die Signale aber und ertränken sie in neuen Dosen der Droge. Solange die erwachsene Generation nicht die Mündigkeit besitzt, ihre Impulse und Triebe unter Kontrolle zu bringen, kann man von den Kindern nichts anderes erwarten. Es gibt viele positive Beispiele von verantwortungsbewussten Eltern, die Nachhaltigkeit und Umweltbewusstsein in die Erziehung mit einbauen. Das ist in etwa so, wie wenn man dem Fernsehen und der Werbung die Schuld gibt, weil diese einen zu einem auf Konsum getrimmten Leben gezwungen haben. Ob mit ihnen die dritte Generation passiver Konsumsklaven vor der Trottelkiste sitzen wird.

In order to change the way your kids look at consumerism, you've gotta practice what you preach. And without other parents stepping up, and putting their foot down to all the unnecessary excess, you're pretty much stuck looking like The Meanest Mom Alive. Still, turning off the tv and advertising doesn't fix the above mentioned problem with peer pressure. As your kids get older, you come to the sad realization that they no longer think you are awesome. Does watching this kind of stuff over and over help erode our authority with kids when it comes to knowing what's best for them? Maybe I can say that, though, because I spend a great deal of my time laughing and joking with my kids. I don't think there are too many people out there at this point who can argue with the fact that our kids are (in general) getting a little porky. Exactly how many hours in the gym do you think those 20something year olds (who are playing high school students) have to spend in the gym to look like that? Again, eating healthy foods, finding fun ways to get your kids active, and explaining why the people on tv do not have bodies they need to aspire to, takes time and effort on the part of the parents. Unfortunately, in order to make enough money to buy all of the 'stuff' that we think we (and our kids) need, a lot of us just don't have that kind of time anymore. The bottom line is that you have to spend time with your kids. Nickelodeon may think that Kids Rule!, but the reality is that Adults Are In Charge!, especially when it comes to putting the kibosh on all the crazy excess.

This book is more closely related to her second, The Overspent American, but extends the focus to explore not just advertising to children and the commercialisation of childhood, but sets out to explore the relationships between consumer culture and childrens well-being. The most alarming set of evidence, however, comes from Schors research around Boston exploring childrens involvement in consumer culture and its impact on depression, anxiety, self-esteem and relations with parents. In all four sets of analysis looking at depression, anxiety, self-esteem and reported psychosomatic states she found that although extent of media use is closely causally linked positions of the four scales, in all cases it is mediated through respondents places on the consumer involvement scale which also has a direct causal relation with places on the parental attitude scale. She concludes by using this evidence to revisit debates about advertising and marketing aimed at children, once again mediating the child protection/child empowerment debates in subtle and important ways. I cant say I enjoyed this but it is a fantastic book that not only allows us to consider commercialised childhood but the very real problems resulting from the depth and power of consumer culture and childrens place in it (and its place in childrens lives).

I already have my worries about the Australian education system, having seen its deterioration between myself at school in the 90s/00s and my sister at school between the 00s/10s, and books such as this give me much less faith for a better standard in other countries (particularly around the concept of critical thinking, an apparent dying concept).

Her overview of historical trends in advertising was particularly fascinating, especially the move from the "gatekeeper" model (convince moms that a product is good) of yesteryear to the "anti-adultism" 'tude of the '90s and beyond (convince children that their parents, as well as other adult authority figures, are humorless dorks who stand in the way of joy).

Schor is currently is at work on a project on the commercialization of childhood, and is beginning research on environmental sustainability and its relation to Americans lifestyles. Schor is a board member and co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream, an organization devoted to transforming North American lifestyles to make them more ecologically and socially sustainable.

  • English

  • Nonfiction

  • Rating: 3.71
  • Pages: 304
  • Publish Date: October 18th 2005 by Scribner
  • Isbn10: 0684870568
  • Isbn13: 9780684870564