exposure makes a child materialistic, which in turn affects their relationship with their parents and their health.
That is one of the conclusions of a new wide-ranging survey into British childhood, produced for the Children’s Society.
The report claims that some advertisers “explicitly exploit the mechanism of peer pressure, while painting parents as buffoons” […], advertising persuades children that “you are what you own”.
In addition the “constant exposure” to celebrities through, TV soaps, dramas and chat shows is having a detrimental effect.
It says: “Children today know in intimate detail the lives of celebrities who are richer than they will ever be, and mostly better-looking. This exposure inevitably […] reduces self-esteem.”
It adds the way celebrities are portrayed “automatically encourages the excessive pursuit of wealth and beauty.”
It highlights a study into the effect of consumerism on the psychological wellbeing of 10-13 year-olds.
That study found: “Other things being equal, the more a child is exposed to the media (television and Internet), the more materialistic she becomes, the worse she relates to her parents and the worse her mental health.”
The Good Childhood inquiry, compiled by more than 35,000 contributors
It claims that the upward trend of violence in the media in general, is making children violent and causing tension within the family.
The report says: “We know from controlled studies that exposure to violence can breed violence.
“So it seems likely that the upward trend in media violence is helping to produce the upward trend in violent behaviour – and also the growth of psychological conflict in family relationships.”
The report also notes that commercial pressures have led to the “premature sexualisation” of young people.
It notes that young people are having sex earlier because of “many forces”,
The report recommends that […] understanding of the media should be a compulsory part of the personal, social and health curriculum.
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