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Consuming Kids

The Commercialization of Childhood

Consuming Kids

Duration: 67 min
ISBN: 1-932869-28-X
Date Produced: 2008
Subtitles: English

Filmmaker Info
Study Guide
Transcript
Press Room
Film Festivals
Related Links
Press Reviews
Praise for the Film




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Consuming Kids
The Commercialization of Childhood


With virtually no government oversight or public outcry, the multibillion-dollar youth marketing industry has used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world. American kids, targeted from birth with sales pitches for everything from Hollywood merchandise and junk food to iPods, cell phones, and the family car, now influence an estimated $700 billion in annual consumer spending. Consuming Kids traces the evolution and impact of this unprecedented phenomenon. Drawing on the insights of children's health experts, media critics, and industry insiders, it blows the lid off the youth marketing industry's stealth tactics and explores the effects of consumerism on the imaginative lives of children.

Featuring: Dan Acuff | Enola Aird | Michael Brody | Nancy Carlsson-Paige | Josh Golin | Allen Kanner | Velma LaPoint | Diane Levin | Susan Linn | Robert Reiher | Michael Rich | Gary Ruskin | Nick Russell | Juliet Schor | Betsy Taylor | David Walsh

Sections: The Floodgates Open | By Any Means Necessary | Under the Microscope | Brand New World | Cradle to Grave | Rewiring Childhood | Our Future

Extras: What Parents Can Do | BarneyTM vs Power RangersTM | Jolts and Tricks

Filmmaker Info

Writer & Director: Adriana Barbaro & Jeremy Earp
Producer: Adriana Barbaro
Executive Producer: Sut Jhally
Co-producer: Jason T. Young
Supervising Editor: Andrew Killoy
Editor: Jason T. Young, Andrew Killoy, Adriana Barbaro, & Jeremy Earp

Screenings

CA Association for the Education of Young Children Conference | Sacramento, CA | March 26, 2009
MA Association for the Education of Young Children Conference | Westford, MA | March 27, 2009
Academy of Music | Northampton, MA | March 27, 2009
NY Association for the Education of Young Children Conference | Brooklyn, NY | May 1, 2009
Museum of Fine Arts | Boston, MA | May 20, 2009
International Communication Association Conference | Chicago, IL | May 24, 2009
Union for Democratic Communication Conference | Buffalo, NY | May 28-31, 2009
American Psychological Association | August 9, 2009
TX Association for the Education of Young Children Conference | September 2009
National Association for the Education of Young Children Conference | DC | November 18-21, 2009
Southern Conference on Children | Statesboro, GA | January 29, 2010
Society for Visual Anthropology Media Festival | New Orleans | November 18, 2010
American Public Health Association | Film & Media Festival | Denver | November 9, 2010

Film Festivals

2011 World Community Film Festival | Courtenay, BC, Canada
2009 Freedom Week Film Festival, New Zealand
2009 Fiuggi Family Festival, Italy
6th Annual Artivist Film Festival, December 2009

Click here to see an extensive list of organizations, books, and articles to provide you with resources to accompany Consuming Kids.

Click here for a series of printable fact sheets about marketing to children created by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Use these sheets to stay informed and to let others know about how marketing harms children.

Press Reviews

PARENTS DECRY MARKETERS WHO PUSH SEXUALITY ON LITTLE GIRLS
USA TODAY | Liz Szabo | April 11, 2011

'CONSUMING KIDS' MOVIE SPARKS PARENTAL BACKLASH
Worcester Telegram | December 7, 2009

THE HOSTILE TAKEOVER OF CHILDHOOD IS UNDERWAY
Santa Monica Daily Press | June 22, 2009

CONSUMING KIDS FILM REVIEW
GreenMuze.com | June 2, 2009

ADVERTISING MESSAGES BOMBARD CHILDREN
Lawrence Journal-World | May 22, 2009

A SOBER LOOK AT ADS AND CHILDREN
The Boston Globe | May 17, 2009

WRITERS VOICE - INTERVIEW WITH ADRIANA BARBARO & SUSAN LINN
April 1, 2009

PITCHING TO THE CRADLE: TO BIG BUSINESS, A BABY IS A CONSUMER-IN-TRAINING
Valley Advocate | Maureen Turner | March 26, 2009

LIBERAL OASIS - INTERVIEW WITH ADRIANA BARBARO
March 20, 2009

CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION
Pioneer Parent | Greg Saulmon | March 19, 2009

MIDWEEK POLITICS WITH DAVE PAKMAN - INTERVIEW WITH SUT JHALLY & ADRIANA BARBARO
March 17, 2009

MEDIA MINUTES - INTERVIEW WITH ADRIANA BARBARO
February 20, 2009

CONSUMING KIDS
Educational Media Reviews Online | January 29, 2009

"CONSUMING KIDS" BUSTS YOUTH MARKETING
The Observer | Celeste Regal | January 14, 2009

DVD: CONSUMING KIDS
M/C Reviews | George Ivanoff | December 20, 2008

MEDIA MATTERS WITH BOB MCCHESNEY - INTERVIEW WITH JULIET SCHOR
December 21, 2008

FILMS DELVE INTO EFFECTS OF CONSUMERISM
Statesman Journal | Ron Cowan | November 13, 2008

Praise for the Film

"This powerful, disturbing and heartbreaking film has the power to change the way we Americans treat our children. It is the best possible parent education product. I recommend it to schools, universities, churches, mosques and synagogues."
- Mary Pipher | Author of Reviving Ophelia

"Consuming Kids is an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, and anyone wanting to foster children's well-being. This film will be opening eyes and sparking discussion in psychology, media and cultural studies, sociology, health, and economics classrooms for years to come. As a professor of media and children's culture, and as a parent, this is the film I've been waiting for."
- Lynn Phillips | Author of Flirting with Danger: Young Women's Reflections on Sexuality and Domination

"Consuming Kids delivers an urgent message to parents, educators, and government regulators about the troubling intrusion of marketing into children's lives. Watch this -- and then turn off your kids' TV."
- Pamela Paul | Author of Parenting, Inc.

"Like never before, children today are plagued by a variety of ills, from violence to hyper-sexualization to obesity to rampant materialism. Consuming Kids connects these dots, showing how these problems all relate back to corporate marketers preying on our children for profit. Watching this movie will open the eyes of everyone who cares about children to the disturbing new realities of our consumer culture."
- Tim Kasser | Associate Professor of Psychology at Knox College | Author of The High Price of Materialism

"This film graphically reveals a lack of corporate respect for the young. We have a moral duty to transform societal values and create a culture that respects the children with whose care we are entrusted. Now is the time to call for a child-honoring protocol for commerce."
- Raffi Cavoukian, C.M. | Singer | Author & Founder of Child Honoring

"This film is a damning indictment of an advertising industry whose only concern is brainwashing kids as early as possible, no matter what the consequences. The film's powerful images that back up the experts' claims are jaw-dropping. And if you think it's all up to parents to protect their kids from the onslaught of corporate marketing, this film will convince you otherwise. Consuming Kids should be viewed by anyone who has kids or cares about them; in other words, everyone."
- Michele Simon, JD, MPH | Author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back | Research and Policy Director of the Marin Institute

"A comprehensive and compelling look at how childhood in America has been sacrificed to the free market. This film helps parents, caregivers and educators to start thinking differently about popular culture and children, and what needs to change."
- Susan Rogers | Editor & publisher of MediaLiteracy.com

"Marketing to children is pervasive, powerfully effective, and pernicious. This film paints a compelling picture of our children being initiated into consumerism almost from birth, as if it is a special club, and shows how important it is to stop the madness."
- Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D. | Professor of Psychology, Epidemiology and Public Health | Director of Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University

"This film is a riveting and compelling expose of the enormous - and enormously cynical - enterprise devoted to transforming our children from kids into consumers. Anyone who wonders why kids are so demanding of brand-name products must see it. This film provides tons of evidence to explain why we need federal regulation of marketing to children, and the sooner the better."
- Marion Nestle | Professor of Nutrition at New York University | Author of Food Politics and What to Eat

"Consuming Kids is one of the best films I have seen in years that explores the various ways in which the identities, values, and future of young people are held hostage to a world shaped by the poisonous culture of consumption and commodification. Every school should buy this film and learn from it. And every parent, educator, and concerned citizen should watch this film if they believe kids deserve a more just world and future."
- Henry Giroux | Professor of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University | Author of Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability?

"Consuming Kids is my all time favorite video exploring the negative aspects of advertising in all venues and on all media platforms. It is a wonderfully produced and thought out documentary that remarkably and informatively covers so many critical areas of how corporate America uses its power to amorally define, research, and manipulate various demographic segments of society. In so doing, the film homes in on corporate marketing strategies designed to maximize impact and sales -- and the health of children and teens be damned! This exceptional film will be a service to schools, parents, and children for many years to come."
- Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D. | Senior Editor, Journal of Media Psychology

"Every parent, stepparent and family professional must understand the impact of marketing on children. The most efficient and compelling way to begin is to watch Consuming Kids, the film that will open your eyes to the biggest difference between today and when we were kids: sophisticated and pervasive marketing to children. Your kids can't afford for you to wait."
- Joe Kelly | TheDadMan.com | Author of Dads & Daughters: How to Inspire, Understand and Support Your Daughter

"Consuming Kids shines a bright and probing light on the powerful forces of commercialism that are reshaping childhood. Contemporary marketers have developed a panoply of techniques -- from focus groups to "parties in a box" to brain research -- for engaging and influencing children, often under the radar of parents. The tentacles of modern marketing now penetrate every aspect of children's lives -- on television, in school, and through an array of new digital media, including interactive games, mobile phones, and 3-D virtual worlds. With its vivid imagery, this thoughtful and well-researched documentary explains it all."
- Kathryn C. Montgomery, PhD. | Professor of Communication at American University | Author of Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet

"An outstanding film with an urgent message, Consuming Kids is remarkably researched and elegantly executed. It leaves no room for doubt that relentless marketing to children is hurting their mental and physical health. Turning a child's sandbox, filled with so much imaginative potential, into a shopping mall is a crime. It is not what children consume, but what they are directed to think and feel about themselves and their world that is really at stake."
- Chyng Sun, Ph.D. | Creator of Mickey Mouse Monopoly

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