Reader and frequent commenter MAJeff sent me a copy of Born to Buy by Juliet Schor, and I finally had a chance to read it this week. The book came out a few years ago, but all the trends she details in it are still going strong, namely the hyper-commercialization of childhood by marketers hungry to have a non-jaded audience that constantly replenishes itself. I found the book to mostly be fascinating, especially the second part where Schor conducts a research study on two populations of children, one in the city of Boston and one in a suburb, to see what kind of effect this increasingly commercialization had on the well-being of children, and found strong evidence that kids who watch excessive amounts of TV and otherwise engage in excessive amounts of participation in marketing to children suffered strongly for it both physically and mentally, and more to the point, that the engagement with the commercial culture caused the depression, anti-social behavior, excessive weight gain, lowered grades and other ill effects on children.
It’s an important book for this research, and I felt bad for parents because it seems that there’s really only one choice when faced with the hard evidence—limit TV-watching, exposure to fast food, toy collecting and other engagements with the mass media that markets to children. Which will cause fights and could cause your child to be unpopular and the target of bullies—seems like a real dilemma in a lot of ways.
Posted so I'll remember to read it again when I need to.