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Kids Wanting It All

             Since we have embarked upon the millennium, Americans seem to be consuming more and more material goods. A group in the American society that influences a great deal of our spending is kids. In fact, a Texas A&M marketing professor name James McNeal states, “children ages 2 to 14 directly influenced parental spending of $188 billion and indirectly influenced $300 billion more, while controlling their own purchases of $25 billion.” A reason for this is long before children knew how to read and write. They are learning the ABCs of consumption through advertisement. An example of this is in an article by Brain Swimme who states that “before a child enters first grade science class, and before entering in any real way into our religious ceremonies, a child will have soaked in 30,000 advertisements.” These advertisements show popular cultures and role models suggesting that buying things are the roots of all happiness, and that kids can’t live without the latest breakfast cereals or toys. While consumerism is good in the eyes of marketers and advertisers, it is destroying the physical health of kids, eroding the self-esteem of kids, and destroying their credit.
             Self reports and documented behaviors of American youth have shown mood- altering and even addictive substances have led children to ignore well-known and serious risks to their health due to the seeking of pleasure and approval from their peers. Marketers and advertisements have led children to smoking and becoming obese. For example, many children who attend middle and high school smoke just because their friends are doing it. The percentages of high school students who smoke have increased tremendously. Despite protests from school programs and billboards, children have continued to smoke, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “9% of eighth graders, 16% of tenth graders and 22% of twelfth graders are still reported smoking daily.