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Great New Book on How Corporations Are Brainwashing Children

Commercial Alert, August 30, 2004

Juliet Schor has just written the best book yet on marketing to children,
titled Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture.

Much of the book is a fine review of how corporations advertise to children,
with illuminating interviews of advertising executives.

But what makes the book a standout is Schor's new research on the effects of
marketing and commercial culture on children. By far, it's the best
research yet on how marketing harms kids.

Schor is a professor of sociology at Boston College (and soon-to-be member
of Commercial Alert's board of directors).

For Born to Buy, Schor conducted a Survey on Children, Media and Consumer
Culture, to answer the question of how children¹s involvement in the
commercial culture affects their well-being. She used a complex statistical
technique (called structural equation modeling) to analyze the data, which
allowed her to determine directions of causality.

The results are fascinating.

"High consumer involvement is a significant cause of depression, anxiety,
low self-esteem and psychosomatic complaints," in children, Schor reports.
"Psychologically healthy children will be made worse off if they become more
enmeshed in the culture of getting and spending. Children with emotional
problems will be helped if they disengage from the worlds that corporations
are constructing for them."

She also found that "Higher levels of consumer involvement result in worse
relationships with parents."

Schor's book reaffirms the importance of the Parents' Bill of Rights, a set of nine legislative
proposals to allow parents to control the commercial influences on their children.

I loved the book, and encourage everyone who cares about children to read
it. Buy it here

-- Gary Ruskin, Commercial Alert