Friday, December 01, 2006

I had fun...

It was awesome to write this blog, thanks to all who have read it. Hopefully, I will be able to keep making posts when I get a chance, and hopefully, I have shed more light on this subject. Thanks

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nagging is Not a Family Value

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

At Wal-Mart's new website, children review a parade of toys while two animated elves encourage and reward them for adding items to a wish list.

"If you show us what you want on your wish list, we'll blast it off to your parents," say the elves. "We'll help plead your case."

Wal-Mart is coming between parents and children and actively encouraging kids bratzto nag for their holiday gifts. Many of the products in Toyland - such as the Bratz Fashion Makeover (pictured) - may be antithetical to parents' values. Others, like the Fisher Price Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade ($279), cost more than many parents can afford. Yet children do not need a parent's permission to enter Toyland, there is no age requirement to use the site, and kids are encouraged to submit their parents' email address in order to send their wish list.

Families have a hard enough time navigating holiday commercialism without the world's largest retailer bypassing parents entirely and urging children to nag.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Advertising to children: Is it ethical?

This is pretty much the original direction of this blog… to ask the question is it bad? And what effect does it really have? I have addressed many issues and I hope as a reader you can form your own opinion with the help of my writing. Here is a very interesting article regarding how we have changed into such a purchase driven society, and how that effects the dynamic of childhood.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

“Ever since he first started practicing, Berkeley, Calif., psychologist Allen D. Kanner, PhD, has been asking his younger clients what they wanted to do when they grew up. The answer used to be "nurse," "astronaut" or some other occupation with intrinsic appeal.

Today the answer is more likely to be "make money." For Kanner, one explanation for that shift can be found in advertising.

"Advertising is a massive, multi-million dollar project that's having an enormous impact on child development," says Kanner, who is also an associate faculty member at a clinical psychology training program called the Wright Institute. "The sheer volume of advertising is growing rapidly and invading new areas of childhood, like our schools."

According to Kanner, the result is not only an epidemic of materialistic values among children, but also something he calls "narcissistic wounding" of children. Thanks to advertising, he says, children have become convinced that they're inferior if they don't have an endless array of new products.”

----- I don’t know about you but I think that is not only true for children, but advertising has also carried this into adulthood. I always wish I could just have soo much cool stuff, then I realize I don’t care too much if I have Seven jeans because my Levis will do just fine. But as I have said before, kids don’t just get over it, they get wrapped up in it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Capitalism’s Happy Children: Teenagers working for material status

I was in Pasadena satarday night at an amazing frozen yogurt place and the girls in front of us were chat sting with the yogurt girl about how they couldn’t wait to start working—preferably there. The yogurt girl giggled about how she has been working since she was thirteen. Thirteen?!? Wtf. And who is excited about getting a job?

But the kids who start working earlier and earlier are only working so that they can spend money, not to save it up, because if your parents don’t supply you with nice enough clothes—based upon your peers definition, then you are socially worthless. Gucci, Prada, Gag Me.

We all know that teens judge each other for the more brands they wear and how much money they or their families have. Brands designate a social position. And this new brand obsession has changed teenage leisure time because middle-class kids work to catch up to their wealthier peers.

An excerpt from Quart’s book illustrates this well. “Laurie, a seventeen-year-old from Denver, worked four hours a day her senior year just so she could spend $250 a month on clothes, ‘People know who has money at school,’ she says entirely clad in Abercrombie & Fitch. ‘When there’s a party people look at each others stuff and check out how much it cost. At my school, you can only justify not having money by being good at something else.’”

The popular impression today is that teens are capitalism’s happy children, but as it is put in Quart’s book, “American teens’ heavy labor is the logical extension of materialism. Teens are the new proletariat—kids who work primarily to consume more goods.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The “Friends” Dillema: How television demonstrates EVERYTHING

My roommate made a very keen observation yesterday, she was watching Friends on some channel that happened to play an episode from season one and then from season nine and she couldn’t believe the differences in their appearances. In season one the women were all pretty covered up, no revealing outfits, not too much makeup and they all looked to be a healthy weight. Contrastingly, in season nine the clothes were much tighter and more revealing, plenty of makeup and they all looked about ten pounds lighter and so toned that they must sleep in Pilates positions.

This happens with most all television shows; they can’t put anyone on TV, besides Queen Latifa and that other chick from Law and Order, who aren’t rail thin. And yes, skinny people look better on TV to us, but do that have to be soooooo skinny? The answer to that is Yes. They do. Because that is what we like, what we want and so that is what they give us. It is a never ending cycle. We want more accurately represented women on television, but then shows with less attractive people have lower ratings. Catch 22, we are just hypocrites.

As we have heard so many times, seeing these skinny women on television is horribly damaging to the teen self-image, but really, what can be done about it? How can we let kids know that certain messages are not intended to be literal, that it is just a show? Really I don’t think we can, the only hope is that parents and teachers can instill in children that television is no accurate representation of how you need to look or dress, and hopefully they can achieve this. We just have to adapt.

Raised by the Media: Are child stars a viable example of how over-media-exposed children of today will become?

A good place to always begin is with the anorexic Olson twins. I gotta say, I LOVED them in high school, and to be totally honest they still seem cool to me. I don’t worship them or even have as much respect for them as I used to, but I don’t hate them. These two girls are only a couple months younger than me so I use them as an accurate representation of growing up with the media.

Their entire adolescence was pretty much put onto the TV show Full House, then they had the remainder of their life pimped out to whoever would make plot-less movie starring them. The price however, of being the richest teenagers in the world is that they are under constant media scrutiny. But can we use their life as a slightly exaggerated version of what might happen to the over-sexed, over-mtv’d culture of today?

Child stars usually end up living an ‘effed up life due to the fact that they are exposed to “adult things” before they are mature enough, or mentally aware enough to handle it in the way an adult would. Therefore it is to no surprise when child stars end up with a drug problem, or drinking problem at a very young age.

I think that this proves my point that if children are exposed to too much adult behavior, be it from their own parents, television, or else ware, then they are more likely to try and strive to be like adults, in usually inappropriate and dangerous fashions.

So my point is NOT to say that child stars represent what will happen if little Timmy watches too much MTV or the movie Hustle and Flow and therefore becomes a drug dealer and a pimp by 14, but that child stars should remind you of what can happen to kids who are over-exposed to adult material and forced to grow up at the media’s pace.

Grow up Already

Has anyone noticed how it takes kids so much longer to grow up? I am not going to deny that my parents make my financial life a lot easier, but it seems like more 25 year-olds, not including those in school, still depend greatly on their parents for part of their income. I don’t know how it is for most kids, but at least for me, I am, for the most part, on my own once I graduate from college. If I want to buy a car or go to graduate school—it is all on me.

So why do more and more young adults depend on their parents? I think it comes down to kids not knowing how to handle money and not being held accountable once they max out a credit card. I know I am speaking about a niche of people, but it is a growing one.

The economic struggles of today’s youth are great. With growing credit card debt and dependence on their parents to grow well into adulthood, children are not being held accountable.

So there is a new definition of adulthood and the difference between people in their 20s and 30s today compared to those in the 1960s is presented by sociologists in an article in the summer issue of Contexts magazine, published by the American Sociological Association.