"Children have become conduits from the consumer marketplace into the household, the link between advertisers and the family purse," writes Juliet B. Schor in his book "Born to Buy". Marketers have "set their sights on children" — not for the odd trinket and toy as in those good old days, but also for the big money that this niche group can yield by influencing buying decisions.
What is depressing is the amount of specialised research that companies unleash on children. "They've gone anthropological, using ethnographic methods that scrutinise the most intimate details of children's lives. Marketers are videotaping children in their private spaces," laments Schor. Quite shockingly, "Researchers are paying adults whom kids trust, such as coaches, clergy, and youth workers, to elicit information from them"? Prying happens online too.
The last chapter springs a hope that childhood can be decommercialised, though the job is not going to be easy. Some of the changes that Schor proposes involve Government regulation of ads and marketing. >> continue