Have you ever observed a child with their parent acting out in the store because they don’t get what they want? That child that cries at the top of its lungs from the aisle behind you is more than just the pleadings of a kid bent on wanting to buy an item. It is the sound of hundreds of thousands of hours of marketing research of different groups, ideas, and resources, as well as decades of social and economic change all rolled into an emotional outburst. In a world of constant exposure to media, children are bombarded with the need to attain material goods in order to have a sense of belonging. Even though consumerism improves the economy, it impacts young children negatively by manipulating and bombarding them with persistent targeted advertising which causes behavioral deficits and forces parents to purchase item for their child.
Advertisers know that children need to keep up with the trends of time and that the world is becoming interconnected. Since digital technology is more assessable to children, companies exploit young minds to make more money. For this reason, the advertiser inadvertently forces the parent to adhere to the child’s wants. They learn more effective ways to reach children of diverse backgrounds by assessing children’s behavior using gimmicks such as bright lights, loud happy people and magically delicious video’s playing with food to create a setting that attracts the attention of children. In the text, on page 222 paragraph 4, it states clearly that “the stated or implied claim of all advertising is that the product will make life better for us.” Youth look toward their friends to share their thoughts and opinions to help make decisions when using social media. According to research, Millennials are a group of younger loyal consumer who are the most technically engaged generation actively using social media to interact and be influenced to buy goods. Advertisers know that their brand loyal customers can have a major impact on the increase in sales. As a result, the consequences of children being manipulated through media are more important than brands finding loyalty among consumers. Manipulation is what drives the marketing industry.
Children are bombarded with advertisements and brand logos almost everywhere they go. These things influence everything from what a child eats, wears, and plays with, possibly causing an addiction. An addiction is a compulsive lifestyle that people adopt as a desperate substitute which makes them detach ties between people and groups. There are ways children become addicted by way of advertising. For example, children watch many hours of TV which exposes them to be influenced by commercial ads. With this exposure, they are bound to see something that they like whether parents like it or not. Another way is that companies will never make themselves look bad. There focus is to create a false reality to manipulate children into thinking their product is perfect. Apple, for instance, can help children become more internet savvy by being familiar with Apple products and technology in general. While it is good for children to become more technologically literate, children are becoming isolated and disconnected from the real world which produces psychological issues like addiction which affects them in the long term.
Child involvement in consumerism has had a major effect on children’s wellbeing and their overall behavior. Marketing toward children is unfair because children believe everything that they hear. Advertising entices children causing them to slip into this cycle of wanting more things and constantly comparing themselves to others; leading to a state of constant dissatisfaction. Media pressure makes a child feel inferior and insecure, causing them to throw tantrums which pressures their parents into buying unnecessary things. Advertisers know that children are gullible creatures, so parents must be involved in the amount of media their children are exposed to. It is a dangerous choice not to be. Certainly, its beneficial for children to express their emotions and needs with their parents because it helps create a stronger relationship. However, their wellbeing shouldn’t depend on what they own or buy.
Although growing awareness of the role adults are supposed to play in the life of a child is increasing, evidence shows that consumerism through media does effect children negatively. Despite the potential benefits, children’s wellbeing should not be taken advantage of. Advertisements aimed at young children have caused deficits in many areas of the child’s development which is directly related to consumerism. In the end, one can say that manipulative advertising ultimately harms children for the rest of their lives creating addictive behavioral problems.