The average American child sees about 40,000 television commercials every year. Companies target younger viewers all the time, selling everything from sugar cereals to minivans, and cross-promotional marketing influences everything from the food stocked in school vending machines to the characters who appear in children’s books. Kids are requesting specific brands as soon as they can talk. American corporations spend over $15 billion yearly on marketing to children in an effort to cultivate nagging, insatiable, “cradle-to-grave” consumers.
In this shocking and engrossing exposé, psychologist Susan Linn reveals how the marketing industry preys on kids from the day they’re born, exploiting their vulnerabilities and skewing their values in order to influence what they eat, wear, and play with. This advertising blitz stifles creativity and exacerbates obesity, eating disorders, violence, sexual precocity, and substance abuse. Linn—a mother herself—recognizes that parents alone are no match for the marketing experts. What they need is the concerted help of healthcare professionals, educators, and legislators who have children’s best interests in mind. Consuming Kids is a call to action for anyone who cares about the well-being of children.
About the Author
Susan Linn, author of "Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood" (The New Press), is a psychologist at Judge Baker Children's Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston. An award-winning ventriloquist internationally recognized for her pioneering work using puppet therapy with children, she was mentored by the late Fred Rogers. She lives in Boston.
“A powerful warning and wake-up call.” –Marian Wright Edelman
“Forces us to see a world in which it is considered legitimate to treat children and their tastes as market potential and to manipulate them accordingly accordingly.” –Penelope Leach
“A call to arms. . . . We can and must take back our parental roles.” –T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.
“A cri de coeur on behalf of people too young to suspect how their ‘share of mind’ is being jealously divided. . . . Linn does a fine job of exposing the wickedness of preying commercially on the young.” –The Wall Street Journal
“Arguing passionately . . . Linn makes a compelling case for restricting commercial access to children.” –The Washington Post Book World
“A measured, but ultimately devastating, critique of consumerism and American childhood.” –Mother Jones
“A take-charge book [filled with] a multitude of amazing and often terrifying facts. . . . An important and startling book that should be read not only by parents, but by policymakers as well.” –Rocky Mountain News
“The most disturbing book of the year–a fact-filled study of just how commercialized childhood has become.” –The Weekly Standard
“At last a book that provides the data, the arguments, and the passion that can be mobilized to end marketing to children. Susan Linn is a hero of our times.” –Howard Gardner, author of Changing Minds
“Like Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation, Linn . . . put[s] together a truly devastating case . . . couch[ed] in the most reasonable terms possible. . . . A socially conscious account that deserves wide exposure.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Linn presents a salient, substantial, and worrying case. . . . As useful as it is serious, this book is necessary reading for parents.” –Alissa Quart, author of Branded
“[A] forceful exposé. . . . Illuminating.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“A compelling and compassionate critique. . . . If you’re thinking marketing to kids has gotten out of hand, and are wondering what to do, this book is for you. . . . Susan Linn has provided a road map for taking back the culture of childhood.” –Juliet B. Schor, author of Born To Buy
“Generous with both advice and the names of organizations already on the case.” –The Boston Globe