Change yourself and the world around will change

Getting childhood for money

истерика в магазине
In a shopping mall there is a girl of 5 years gazing at the stand with Winks Club cosmetics: lip gloss, eye shadows, soap, toilet water, gel and a lot of other pieces being placed at eye level. It is so hard to make a chose!

Near the café’s door there is a stand with a kids’ menu. The drawn Barney bear advices: “You may eat ice-cream after meal!”, the Spider Man reminds: “Sweets make my web stronger!”, the ninja frog points to pizza.

We got used to such marketing ploys. Yet everybody got used to children’s lunch boxes with toys or children’s magazines with crossword puzzles which you can’t solve if you haven’t watched one more “The Smurfs” cartoon.

Fatefully parents amass the collections of plush hairs, dogs, transformers, zoobles, PetShop animals and many others.

“First you should collect all the villagers of the Sylvanian Families.

Then it is necessary to by them a house, a car and a restaurant. Every habitant of the Sylvanian village costs about 1000 rubles. A house for them costs from 2,5 to 7 thousand rubles, no mortgage is allowed. ”, jokes Tamara, a mother of an 8 year old Liza.

When we talk about shopaholics and the virus of consumption we still usually imagine a woman buying up blouses in sales. Meanwhile our children are the first who risk becoming shopaholics.

“The mentioned above examples show the way commercialization crashes in children’s world forcing up a child to have a philosophy of unthinking consumption and to seek for new more bought up impressions”, says Irina Pisarenko, a head of the chair of age-related psychology and family pedagogy in A.I. Gertsen Russian State University of Pedagogy.

Advertising “teaches” our children.

When a preschooler watches advertising he is not able to distinguish between the real situation and the stage one. “Do you remember the commercial of a famous mobile operator where a Mafioso was humiliating his people for they had economized on mobile communications? You should be ready that soon such behavior will be normal for our children”, says Irina.

The technology and the form of a commercial video ideally suits to the peculiarities of children’s perception, - adds Yulia Dzhumazova, a child psychologist and a member of a National Professional Psychotherapeutic League, - These kinds of video are short and colorful, the pictures in them change quickly. Advertising slogans have a capacious meaning, rhyme and so are easy to remember.

Advertising exploits children’s desire to look older. For this reason magazines that are meant to be read by 16 year old girls in fact are produced for 10-13 year old ones.

Children adore surprises that’s why all the things with the lettering “a present (a toy, a sticker) is inside” will be bought indisputably. And you can hardly find a child who would be able to resist a temptation to have the products featuring his popular heroes as they are his first idols.

Am I a bad mother?

Manufacturers of children products use parents’ wish to give all the best to their children and “to give them all we didn’t have”, notes Elvira Arif, a research scientist of Center for Youth Studies at the National Research University – High School of Economics in St. Petersburg. The truth is that it’s really very difficult to refuse a child’s request to buy one more “Zdraiver” for it is full of vitamins and iron, or a tremendous stuffed toy which will fill one third of the room.

Thus on the eve of the September the 1st they touted people into beauty salons for “A first grade girl manicure”. Not every 6-7 years old girl really wants to visit a nail salon. But thanks to such actions some category of mothers has an opportunity to feel careful and stylish”, says Yulia Dzhumazova.

“In modern society of consumption grownups use their children as one more instrument to show their social status. And the product and service market for children provides that. There are no doubts that this market will be expanding”, considers Elvira Arif.

To stick in the mind and to hold a client.

Another marketing strategy is to form brand loyalty. That is when you associate the New Year with Coca Cola, a movie with pop corn and a “really great” birthday-party with the Baskin Robbins. The main goal is to make children know and distinguish brands from the babyhood. It is achieved by two means: first is a wider range of products and the second is education measures for children and teenagers. Other objects from which our children learn how to be consumers are supermarkets: there are children’s shopping carts there, they put goods for kids on lower shelves and held long-term actions: for example, the Birds which are given as a prize for the stickers are already deeply associated with a line of popular hypermarkets.

“Thus a child feels an informational attack and has to make a choice out of a grate number of offers. And that is a big pressure on children’s psychology. That’s why you may often see a child crying in a supermarket with not being able to realize what he really wants. The situation when he is not allowed to get what he wants turns out to be stressful too”, states Elvira Arif.

A losing fight.

Many families have a tradition to visit a shopping mall every weekend. Here you may watch a movie, to entertain a child, to have a meal and to buy products for a week.

“The advantage is that you may turn a visit to a Mall into a big educational game: to teach how to choose correctly (goods, type of leisure, social circle), to buy correctly, to help others. The disadvantage is that if a child visits only a Mall he doesn’t form a habit to different kinds of entertainment and leisure”, admonishes Irina Pisarenko.

The main idea is that parents should have time and opportunity to explain to their kid that dreams may be connected not only with shopping, and that life includes much more than just “earn and spend”.

How not to mould a child into a shopaholic?

Olga Enina, an assistant in National Federation of Psychoanalysis says:

“We should accept the fact: we live in the world of temptation. It is a huge monster which from now will live near our children forever. So we should teach them to discern between necessary and unnecessary. You may make up some rules: for example, “We do buy toys, but once in a month”, or “We will buy you the thing you want but only on your birthday”. You should discuss with a child: “Do you really need one more doll or not? May be we’ll make it ourselves?” It is important not to compare your child with other children. A wish to be better and prettier than other children makes them to demand new things and toys. Parents themselves should decide what is necessary and what is not. ”

Irina Pisarenko, a head of the chair in A.I. Gertsen Russian State University of Pedagogy: “You may help a child to feel another kind of pleasure: a pleasure in making something with his own hands, in reaching his own (and not others’ commercial) goals. Unfortunately, today advertizing is the main influential medium of education which is not under the Government control. That’s why today we have already got one generation which does not know the difference between the sale of sausages and the sale of people”.

Tatyana Morozova, “My Region” newspaper, St. Petersburg.