Easy Tiger Parent System™

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Jennifer McLeod

How Do You Stop Or Deal With Manipulative Parents?

Born To Win!: Success Strategies for Young Businesses and New Entrepreneurs

6 July 2010

Children - Victims of Consumerism?

Previous weeks' articles focused on money management and the importance of teaching children the right values of money. This week's article focuses on children as consumers, and demonstrates in how far taught values can eliminate the risk and high involvement of advertising in the child's money spending patterns and trend towards consumerism.

According to research, children spend an average of three hours in front of the TV daily. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), however, suggests that children should not spend more than one to two hours watching television. Moreover, they highly support the suggestion that TV sets in children's rooms should be removed, and, that only a variety of by the parents carefully selected programmes should be viewed. If necessary, programmes should be discussed and evaluated with the child. This can actually stimulate learning from TV programmes.

Another, often slightly overlooked danger besides programmes portraying violent, bullying and sexual contents, is advertising to children. On average children in the UK are exposed to 10,000 TV adverts every year. Even though there are restrictions on adverts that could physically, mentally or morally harm children, children are yet subjected to the colourful world of advertising – and consumerism. By watching ads, especially those of new toys on the market, children develop demands – demands that they do not easily forget about, but want to have fulfilled. It is increasingly difficult for parents to explain to their children that they simply cannot obtain nor have everything.

Children, therefore, should not only be taught the value of money and possession, but should also be explained and educated about the commercial intentions of companies. This way, children can be shown at a rational age the true intentions of advertising and the difference between fundamental needs and desires. Parents play a vital role in every stage of the child's development, and especially when children have to learn to not simply be motivated and guided by their emotions. It is a tedious task though for parents to explain to their children that companies are not primarily interested in the child's happiness. The world portrayed in advertising features the happiness of children associated with certain products. It presents a fantasy world where the quality and quantity of material goods are the predominating factors for a child's overall well-being.

Children, therefore, from a young age have to be taught that companies are profit oriented, and that money is a valuable, yet limited, aid. Tips for children on how to spend money wisely can be found on various websites.


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