29. “Consuming Kids” and devouring childhood: Part 3 of 3

10 Nov

The baby and toddler industry is also growing, almost from the womb. There is a consumer trend to purchase programs like Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby because they are supposed to help babies grow mentally. According to this documentary, there is absolutely no research or verification of this. The educational infant programs are a billion dollar industry that is basically a scam. If anything, more vocabulary advancement has been seen in babies who watch American Idol. Face to face interaction, problem-solving play, social dynamics and intimacy are much more important when it comes to infants and toddlers.

Creative play, the foundation of learning, problem solving and emotional growth, is declining. Children don’t know how to amuse themselves anymore. Kids are being told their imaginations are not good enough, so they are no longer making up stories on their own; they just regurgitate what they see on TV. There is more bipolar disease, ADHD, depression, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity right now in children than ever before. The film directly relates these diseases with growth in consumerism. According to Schor, “the more media a child sees, the higher they will score on an anxiety or depression test.”

Life expectancy is decreasing, and according to “Consuming Kids” there is no way we can really make childhood healthy without a government effort. We are the only country that doesn’t have regulation, mostly because advertisers call on our first amendment, freedom of speech. The documentary gives plenty of factual advice and surprising insight, but one thing it does not share is what a suitable alternative may be or what type of regulations should be put into place. Most would agree our advertising strategies need to change, but how and how much? Children are already being convinced that they no longer need their imagination, and if this continues, the already skyrocketing medical issues in children may continue to rise.

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