Consumerism and media

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Consumerism and Media Education
Marketing and the right to childhood 

In the world:

The national and international statistics show that young people have recently acquired a significant decision-making power not only as regards the purchase of goods they might benefit directly, but also in relation to typical purchases of the family. This is due in large part to children's television exposure, as the main source of knowledge and place of formation of the child, as a consumer.

The consumerism culture has become an integral part of childhood, adolescence and youth around the world in general. Children and adolescents in this context are constituted as the main target of many national and multinational companies in the sectors of entertainment, fashion, food...

A growing interest in the international literature on the issues of consumption has lead to question what may be the consequences of an increasingly aggressive and pervasive marketing on young people.

Consumption has become a core value in the lives of young people and advertising and marketing do not only influence the purchasing decisions but also their attitudes and behavior. Several studies in Europe have highlighted some issues related to the influence of marketing messages on behavior displayed by adolescents, such as, the increasing rate of obesity and eating disorders, sexuality increasingly early exhibited, an increasing rate of violence, a decline of the critical and creative skills of children, anxiety and malaise.

In Italy:

In Italy, it seems that, in relation to these issues , the public and institutions are reacting by a kind of passivity and resigned acceptance to the invasion and omnipresence of the market.

Defence for Children International Italy believes it is urgent to take steps to understand what are the relationship with the youth market/consumption and young people; and to ask whether the growing presence of children and adolescents in the market as consumers, actually corresponds to an increase of their ability in managing the challenges and opportunities the market offers.

The general objective of the programme of Defence for Children Italy is to help protect children's right to a fair, non-invasive advertising in line with national standards and the CRC, through consumer awareness and a critical approach to media and to advertising messages directed to them.

To this end, Defence for Children Italy intends to:

  • conduct a research among young Italian generations to understand the magnitude of the phenomenon and cognitive and emotional perception of advertising
  • promote among children a conscious approach to the media and in particular to advertising messages directed to them
  • raise awareness of families, teachers and educators
  • stimulate a debate in civil society about the influence of marketing choices and behaviors on youth

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