Endangered childhoods: how consumerism is impacting child and youth identity

Modern-day children are immersed in cultures of consumption such that every aspect of their lives is touched by a buy-and-consume modality. In particular, children in North America are increasingly experiencing the effects of consumer culture at unprecedented levels of involvement. It becomes necessary, therefore, to examine the impact of consumerism in order to assess identity formation and development in youth. Young people are receiving an endless barrage of material messages encouraging purchasing behavior and consumption that impacts the self-image. Indeed, children from the ages of 4 to 12 have increasingly been defined and viewed by their spending capacity. Girls especially are targeted by marketers to sell them a whole line of products they ‘need’ to emulate a feminine ideal. There is mounting evidence to suggest that the structure of childhood is eroding and children are suffering from serious physical, emotional and social deficits directly related to consumerism.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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