One peek at ChildStats.gov will give you a snapshot of key indicators about childrens’ health and well-being.
Whether it’s the new CDC report on mental health of children or the APA Task Force citing harm of early sexualization we continue to see kids caught in the cross-fire of media and marketing messages lobbed at them like grenades in a battle for hearts and minds, and it’s a preventable public health problem.
The root cause is the economic driver focusing on sales, ratings, and a simplistic ‘if it sells, hawk it’ mindset beholden only to stockholders. As kids themselves might say, “that’s all kinds of wrong.” Despite long term societal consequences on a global economic scale, media and marketing moguls have shown little industry accountability and self-rein, unless rapped on the knuckles via regulation, or whacked in the wallet with bad press.
The recent RWJF.org study once again proves self-rein is not substantive, and watchdogs aren’t woofin’…so parents, educators, health professionals and childrens’ advocates are starting to take matters into their own hands for mass media mobilization to influence change!
From fast food franchises usurping indigenous foods in emerging nations (nutrition/obesity/agricultural issues) to Western beauty ideals, objectification (anxiety/depression issues, buffed boys, disordered eating and body dysmorphia) it’s become grossly apparent that distorted cues and public health problems are taking shape via “junk food for the mind and body.”
As the new 2014 body image documentary TheIllusionists.org shows, the marketing of unattainable beauty around the world has gone global. (I’m now proud to team as a film adviser and serve on their International Advisory Board)
We’re using media literacy, film, policy advocacy and social media campaigns to insist on placing children’s health and wellness over the vested interests of profiteers…Because the price we pay to mine their childhood will ultimately cost us all.