The commercialisation of childhood

Document type
Zoe Williams
Date of publication
13 December 2006
Children and Young People
Social welfare
Material type

Download (453KB )

This report details the extent and effects of advertising to children. The child-oriented market in the UK is now worth £30 billion and has laid roots in every aspect of children’s lives, affecting how they learn, what they eat and how they play. Advertisements and marketing messages are also shaping the way children see themselves and the world and are impacting on their values, aspirations and health as well as the way they feel about themselves.  This research reveals the ways in which children are being specifically targeted as consumers, including through broadcast, non-broadcast and new media, and how strategies such as ‘the cool factor’ are used in selling to and influencing this group. It goes on to examine the impacts of this commercialisation of childhood on children’s wellbeing. Engulfed with images of how they should look and be and what they should own and eat, children struggle to keep up and this is resulting in increasing rates of stress, depression and low self-esteem and high rates of health problems like obesity.  

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