Corporations These Days

| 12/30/2010 12:33:18 PM

child-tv-panelWith Christmas morning mercifully in the rearview mirror, you might think America’s marketing and advertising industries are ready to start acting like adults—at least until Valentine’s Day. But over the last decade, turning impressionable youngsters into full-time consumers has become a corporate obsession, reports Z Magazine: “In the United States alone, expenditures on marketing to children skyrocketed from $2 billion in 1999 to $15 billion in 2005.”

And even though the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission acknowledge that young children are uniquely vulnerable to commercial messages, the U.S. government hasn’t passed significant legislation on the issue since 1990—giving companies carte blanche to “surround children with messages at school, on the school bus, on the Internet, on cellphones and videogames, at doctors’ offices, zoos, museums, with viral marketing (i.e., fake word of mouth), grass-roots marketing, guerilla marketing, immersive marketing, and so on.”

Yosef Brody, who penned the Z piece and is a clinical psychologist in Paris, references recent studies establishing that young children are prone to pay particular attention to TV commercials, but they can’t discriminate its form or intent from other programming. A majority of these ads are for junk food, which is directly related to childhood obesity, considered a health epidemic and correlated with diabetes and hypertension (conditions that have tripled in teenagers since 1980).

Gender stereotyping and violence are also rampant.

“Recent research shows that a high level of exposure to commercial messages is a significant cause of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and psychosomatic complaints, including headaches and stomachaches,” Brody writes. “Sociologist Juliet Schor found robust evidence that the more that psychologically healthy children become involved in commercial culture, the worse their mental health becomes, and that the more that emotionally disturbed children disengage from commercial culture, the healthier they get.”

Source: Z Magazine 

Tom Hendricks
1/6/2011 10:19:50 AM

Corporations have their share of responsibility, but the ultimate cause may be a lack of breast feeding long enough. Breast feeding may be the key to both overweight and underweight problems. My idea is that the lack of at least one year of breast feeding for infants is causing both overweight and underweight problems across the world. I suggest that weaning sets up a food in and waste out pattern - probably in the ENS, Enteric Nervous System, that subconsciously programs us for our lives. If there is not enough breast milk before that weaning period - the infant will be 'hungry' from then on. He will move toward food and become overweight. If the weaning is too soon such that the child's digestion system can't handle the new non-breast milk, solids, then the child will always be 'too full' (of food he can't yet digest) from then on. He will move away from food and become underweight. The rates now for children being breast fed for 1 year are almost at 0% Time to promote one year of breast feeding for all mothers in all countries. This should be easy to test. Those with weight problems - either underweight or overweight - should be infants that were NOT breast fed for one year. Those without weight problems should be infants that were breast fed for at least one year. "Before 1900, most mothers breastfed their infants. Breastfeeding rates declined sharply worldwide after 1920..."

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