Children at Risk: the Consumerist Generation

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Children at Risk: the Consumerist Generation Introduction Consumerism is a global phenomenon, making our generation a buying-and-consuming one (Hill 347). Advertising, tied hand in hand with consumerism, has become such a common part of people’s lives that no one outside of culture is free from the effects of it (Hill 347). Our research is of interest to us because we want to discover how advertisements in the media, particularly in television, affects children in their daily lives by assessing the concrete characteristics of these ads, such as visual images. The features portrayed may suggest their role in shaping the children’s consumer desires. Brad Millington and Brian Wilson claim that although people of young ages, such as young teens around the age of 13, are capable of criticizing media content, they still buy into what is being sold to them. Research indicates that children are growing up with the assumption that certain products and brands define people’s identities and self-worth, and that happiness can be achieved through consumption (Hill, 354). Aiding this propaganda is television: TV is the most salient medium of spreading media content and advertising, according to Birgitte Tufte, which is easily accessible to children of any age. Television often becomes a daily routine rather “than a deliberate activity” (71), thus playing a central role in family life. The way TV is used determines how people behave in their everyday life (Tufte 71), making it an easy springboard for “marketers [to] sell lifestyles and sell-images attached with faux values” (Hill 350) which renders children more likely to fall victim to this consumerist, superficial society. According to Rachel Cooke’s study, children spend an average of more than 38 hours a week consuming media outside of school. Consequently, corporations hire advertisers to target children by using
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