Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood

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All too often, media discussions of children swing between vague pieties
(“The children are our future”) and shrill hysteria (“A nipple! Children saw a nipple!”). Thankfully,
Susan Linn — who was mentored by Fred Rogers and teaches psychiatry at Harvard Medical School — avoids
pious scolding in Consuming Kids. She provides instead a measured, but ultimately devastating,
critique of consumerism and American childhood.

Children influence some $600 billion in annual spending, and marketers,
as Linn amply documents, will stop at nothing to harness this kiddie-consumer juggernaut. Of the
head-shaking stats and anecdotes Linn supplies, perhaps the most repulsive is the “nag factor
study,” which identified the parents most susceptible to “pester power,” whose kids thus make
the most profitable advertising targets.

Linn admirably refuses to soft-pedal the complexity of the issues involved.
She is well aware, for example, that any attempts to shield children from the “marketing maelstrom”
will butt up against free-speech concerns. But those battles have already been won in parts of Europe
and Canada, and need to be fought here: The problem is “not just that kids are consuming,” she concludes.
“They’re being consumed.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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