Saturday, August 13, 2005

Born to Buy

I keep forgetting to write a bit about Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture (page includes first chapter), which threw me for a loop a few weeks ago. Here's a review and an excerpt from an article that mentions the study the author did as part of her research for the book:
"While some of this material is covered in the other books, what makes this book special is the chapter in which Schor presents her own research study. Her subjects were 300 fifth- and sixth- graders living in or around the Boston area. Each student took a 157-item survey that assessed not only the child's involvement in consumer culture but also measures of physical, and mental, well-being. Schor's main conclusion is deeply disturbing. She writes that high consumer involvement is a significant cause of 'depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and psychosomatic complaints.'"
Like Bowling Alone, which brilliantly (and systematically) links TV culture to the decline of civic engagement over the past 50 years, Born to Buy creates a compelling link between the time kids spend watching TV to consumerism and from those measures of consumerism directly to a general decline in well-being. Heavy duty.

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