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International: Ads blamed for childhood stress

20-December-2006
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International: Ads blamed for childhood stress

Children are being groomed for a lifetime of consumerism by marketing that targets them directly and puts pressure on them to keep up with images of how they should look and what they should own, resulting in stress, depression and low self-esteem, a report by the left-leaning thinktank Compass warns.

Marketing experts and branding gurus have devised "ever more ingenious ways of infiltrating children's worlds", it says. The child-oriented market is worth £30bn annually in the UK, and encompasses a wide range of activities, stretching from learning and play to food and clothing.

The study says children are being forced to grow up too soon, with lacy underwear targeted at pre-teens, and toys such as the "Bratz secret date collection" marketing champagne glasses and "date night accessories" to six-year old girls.

UK children see an average of 20,000-40,000 television advertisements a year. At the same time, websites such as Kellogg's Frosties Earn Your Stripes encourage children to collect and distribute stickers from packs of the cereal and play a Frosties-inspired virtual football game.

Source: Mediaguardian

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