BookBrowse Reviews Consuming Kids by Susan Linn

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Consuming Kids

The Hostile Takeover of Childhood

by Susan Linn

Consuming Kids by Susan Linn
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  • First Published:
    May 2004, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2005, 304 pages

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This illuminating read has a place on all library shelves - Parenting/Current Affairs

From the book jacket: A shocking exposé of the $15 billion marketing maelstrom aimed at our children and how we can stop it.

Comment: Consuming Kids is a very scary read - which makes it all the more important that it is read.  Much of what Linn says has already been discussed in other recent books about consumerism such as Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John De Graaf, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies by Naomi Klein and Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers by Alissa Quart. However Linn takes a slightly different angle by looking at the 'whole child' - taking the position that children are 'multifaceted beings whose physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual development are all threatened when their value as consumers trumps their value as people'.  

Obviously children have been the target of advertising for a long time but as Linn writes 'comparing the advertising of two or three decades ago to the commercialism that permeates our children's world today is like comparing a BB gun to a smart bomb.  Linn doesn't just serve up the problem, she offers solutions.  In addition to lots of advice for parents and other groups involved with children she insists that there needs to be much tighter laws controlling advertising to children, because self-regulation obviously isn't working.  

'Linn makes a compelling case....concentrating on how the sheer volume of marketing aimed at controlling youthful imagination is what should most concern us. Play, she notes, comes naturally to children, who, by imaginatively engaging the world within safe boundaries, develop rich inner lives, creativity, critical thinking and autonomy in adulthood. But anything that facilitates free play is precisely what "the loud voice of commerce" cannot endure.' - The Washington Post.

This review is from the August 3, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



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