How watching hours of advertising affects your child

Jean Kilbourne, EdD, explains the affects that watching hours of advertising can have on children and their distortion of reality
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How watching hours of advertising affects your child

A recent study found that young Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 spend ten hours and 45 minutes a day in front of a screen. A TV screen, a video screen, a smartphone, but in front of a screen. So our children are spending all this time in front of a screen, and often they're being sold stuff. You know, all kinds of stuff. And in addition to being sold individual products, they're being sold a very consumerist materialistic point of view towards the world, basically. And there's plenty of research now that indicates that this can create a lot of anxiety and even depression in kids to feel that everything is for sale and to feel that it's all what you buy and what you buy defines who you are. So there are some harmful consequences as a result of all of this. All this consumerism also sets up our kids to be really disappointed because if you think you're gonna get a basic human need met from a product, you're going to be disappointed. The product is not gonna deliver the goods. It's not gonna make you happy in the long run, it's not gonna improve your love life, it's not gonna do any of those things. So we all end up looking for love in all the wrong places and our attention is distracted from what we really need those basic human needs, which is almost always meaningful work and meaningful, authentic relationships with other human beings. So kids can end up feeling jaded and even cynical not just about the advertising but about life in general, and that's a real tragedy.

Jean Kilbourne, EdD, explains the affects that watching hours of advertising can have on children and their distortion of reality


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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses...

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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