Consumerism and Commercialism in Schools

I wholly agree with this post; just go read it (also, it explains why I despise Channel One.)

An excerpt:

My concerns with the commercialization of childhood have to do with the damage done to kids by socializing them to be not only consumers, but consumerist, to define themselves and others by what the clothes they wear, the cache of their cell phone, the bag they carry, the gaming system they have, the sneakers they own, and/or their MP3 player, instead of their talents, interests, behaviors, and insights.

Before reading Juliet Schor’s Born to Buy, I thought this made them shallow and spoiled. I thought it created disturbing parameters of social exclusion. I thought it made a lot of work for parents. I thought it was used to promote lousy brands that harm kids rather than help them. All true.

But reading Schor showed me three things that made me go crazy:

1. that involvement in consumer culture actually causes emotional and mental health problems for children – depression, anxiety, low-self-esteem, psychosomatic problems.

2. that advertisers explicitly use techniques that undermine parental and teacher authority, to ally themselves with children. The adults in your life are controlling morons, but fruit by the foot understands you. Think about the consequences of this — sure, brand loyalty, but more broadly, if your parents are clueless dorks why should a child look to them for guidance or insight? Why should they share their most deeply held concerns? If teachers are oppressive and stupid, then, by implication, so is school. Not good.

3. that marketing, the vehicle that pulls children into consumer culture most directly is everywhere. Parents make the mistake of thinking that our children experience the advertising that they experienced. Not even close. Take the advertising you knew, up it’s emotional pull by adding insights from neuromarketing and ethnographic market research, put it on steroids, and then insert it everywhere from schools, to church, to friendships, to media, to conversations with “friends” in chat rooms, to youth clubs, to public effing space. Yes, yes, I’ve said this before.


I have encountered #2 all of these in spades at LHS. It’s incredibly depressing.

Like I said, read.

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Explore posts in the same categories: capitalism, education

One Comment on “Consumerism and Commercialism in Schools”

  1. mom Says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for visiting, I’m glad the post resonated and that you’re helping to spread the word. It’s such an insidious problem — almost hard to see because unlike drugs or bullying (also problems for children in schools) any isolated advertisement seems so innocuous that it’s hard to really garsp the scale or consequences of this phenomenon.


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