Facts About Marketing To Children (page 2)

— Center for a New American Dream
Updated on Jan 30, 2012

In Schools

  • The American Beverage Association (formerly National Soft Drink Association) at one point estimated that nearly two thirds of schools nationwide had exclusive “pouring rights” contracts with soda companies.10
  • An informal survey of Channel One advertisers from a few years ago found that 27 percent of the ads were for junk food. The next highest category, at 10 percent, was military recruitment.11 Channel One also advertises movies, TV shows, and video games featuring violence, strong sexual content, and alcohol and tobacco use.12

Harming Children’s Well-Being

  • Obesity: Rising levels of childhood obesity track an explosion of junk food ads in recent years13.
  • Emotional well-being: Author and Boston College sociology professor Juliet Schor finds links between immersion in consumer culture and depression, anxiety, low self esteem, and conflicts with parents14.
  • Self-image and sexual behavior: Wheelock College education professor Diane Levin sees correlations with sexual imagery in children’s ads and increases in eating disorders among girls, adding that as “children struggle to make sense of mature sexual content, they are robbed of valuable time for age-appropriate developmental tasks, and they may begin to engage in precocious sexual behavior.”15
  • Financial self-control: National surveys reveal that kids are leaving high school without a basic understanding of issues relating to savings and credit card debt. No surprise, then, that over the past decade, credit card debt among 18-24 year olds more than doubled16.
  1. Susan Linn, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood (New York: The New Press, 2004), 1.
  2. Juliet Schor, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (New York: Scribner, 2004), 21.
  3. Ann Hulbert, “Tweens ‘R’ Us,” The New York Times, November 28, 2004,;en=056ae35fb63f65eb&%2338;ei=5088& (accessed March 8, 2006).
  4. American Psychological Association, “Television Advertising Leads to Unhealthy Habits in Children; Says APA Task Force,” February 23, 200 (accessed March 8, 2006).
  5. Ibid.
  6. Donald F. Roberts, Ulla G. Foehr, Victoria Rideout, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-Olds, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, March 9, 2005, (accessed March 9, 2006).
  7. Schor, 85.
  8. “Thanks to Ads, Kids Won’t Take No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No for an Answer,” Center for a New American Dream, 2002, (accessed March 5, 2006).
  9. “What Do Kids Really Want That Money Can’t Buy?” Center for a New American Dream, 2003, (accessed March 8, 2006).
  10. Katherine Battle Horgen, “Big Food, Big Money, Big Children,” in Childhood Lost: How American Culture is Failing Our Kids, Sharna Olfman, ed, 128. (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 2005).
  11. “Fat Profits From Channel One’s Junk Food Advertising: 1 Out Of 4 Ads is for Junk Food / Soft Drinks,” Obligation, Inc., December 9, 2002,  (accessed March 8, 2006).
  12. “Channel One,” Commercial Alert, 32& category=2 (accessed March 8, 2006).
  13. American Psychological Association 2004.
  14. Schor, 167-172.
  15. Diane Levin, as quoted in Michelle Stockwell, Childhood for Sale: Consumer Culture’s Bid for Our Kids (Washington, DC: Progressive Policy Institute, July 2005), 2,(accessed March 8, 2006).
  16. “Young People Taking on More Debt,” (accessed March 8, 2006).
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