Is it possible to curtail the negative influence of the advertising industry?

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Is it possible to curtail the negative influence of the advertising industry?

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One of the things that would help parents tremendously would be to have public policy and legislation that makes our job easier rather than more difficult. For example, in many other countries, there's really good family leave and parental leave and paternity and maternity leave and that sort of thing. Or there's good child care that's available to parents and we don't have any of that in the United States. We also could do something about all the advertising that targets our children. There are countries in the world that do not allow advertisers to target children at all, where there's a complete ban on any type of advertising aimed at children. And this really makes sense now that we've learned so much about the brain, the developing brain and we know that young children are extremely vulnerable to advertising. They can't tell the difference between advertising and programming, they're sitting ducks, really, and it's not fair to allow them to be targeted. So I would love to see some legislation that would say our children are off limits to marketers. There are other kinds of public policy too that would really help parents. For example, when it comes to alcohol and tobacco, there shouldn't be tobacco advertising at all, really, and there shouldn't be alcohol advertising aimed at children and young people, yes there is. So we could have legislation that would really affect that. And I'd also like to see legislation about teaching media literacy in our schools. The United States is one of the few developed nations in the world that doesn't teach media literacy in the schools, and it would be enormously helpful to parents if we did.

View Jean Kilbourne, EdD's video on Is it possible to curtail the negative influence of the advertising industry?...

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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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