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Statistics show that 8- to 12-year-olds spend $30 billion of their own money each year and influence another

 $150 billion of their parents' spending. *



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Resources: Marketing To Kids

Helpful Statistics, News And Books About How Companies Target Toddlers To Teens*



May 14, 2007


In 1983, companies spent $100 million marketing to kids. Today, they're spending nearly $17 billion annually. That's more than double what it was in 1992.

Marketing firms and advertisers are looking to a younger demographic, increasingly targeting tweens and even younger children. And these kids have huge control over the flow of parents' spending, statistics show 8- to 12-year-olds spend $30 billion of their own money each year and influence another $150 billion of their parents' spending.

Kids' exposure to so much advertising has been shown to harm more than just parents' pocketbooks. In fact, a task force from the American Psychological Association
has recommended that advertising targeting children under the age of 8 be restricted.

What can parents do?

Aside from limiting your kids' exposure to advertising a feat that can seem impossible talking to kids about what sorts of marketing they're subjected to is a crucial step in countering advertising's influence. Web sites like
PBS can be used to show kids some of the tricks behind making ads look good.

Educate yourself first. The
Center for Media Literacy has a list of articles such as "How TV Works" and "Idols in the Marketplace" that can teach you before you talk to your children about some of the deceptive ways of advertising.

How young is too young?
Read a piece about ad exposure from The Media Channel. Also check out New American Dream's guide to kids and marketing.

helpful guide to how corporations target kids can be found at the Web site of the advocacy group Commercial Free Childhood. Some interesting facts it includes: Children under the age of 8 do not understand advertising's persuasive intent and older children sometimes fail to recognize product placement as marketing.

the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Better Business Bureau has some education resources.

With the advent of interactive technology, children may have enhanced digital television experiences, but they also have more control over what they see. But the advocacy group Children Now says interactive technology "also opens the door to intrusive advertising practices on digital television, similar to those currently used on the Internet."
Read more from Children Now.

When computer or video games incorporate advertisements, childrens' exposure time is drastically increased. How are children affected? The only study of "advergaming" was done the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Check it out.


Read more about marketing to kids:

CBS News:
"Gotta Have It" Series

  • The Hard Sell: Marketing To Kids Watch video
  • Tween Marketing Watch video
  • Pitching The Youngest Kids Watch video

    Previous Stories
  • Kids and online gaming: Neopets and Kids, Who's Getting Fed?
  • Counterstrike: In-Game Ads Link to Real-World Products
  • In transit: School Buses now Roll with Ads
  • Read's special section, GenTech: The Wiring of Teen America, which includes such stories as: Tots, Tweens and Screens and 24 Hours With a Wired Teen

    The New Yorker:
  • Smart Cookies in the grocery store

  • The Woes of Adolescence
  • Secrets of Teen Marketing Revealed!

  • When does an infant become a consumer? Earlier than you think, according to Susan Gregory Thomas in "Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds".
  • Why does advertising work? "What Sticks", by Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart, attempts to answer that question.
  • If kids are targets, their moms are even bigger ones, according to Dave Siegel, Tim Coffey, and Greg Livingson in "Marketing to the New Super Consumer: Mom & Kid."
  • The same authors approach the topic from the marketing side, advising companies how to get a handle on the tween market in "The Great Tween Buying Machine".
  • Dr. James McNeal tackles the topic of what it is kids buy and why in his "The Kids Market: Myths and Realities".
  • For more on these "ultimate consumers," check out Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood by Susan Linn.
  • And Juliet B. Schor explores youth consumer culture in Born To Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture.
  • Alissa Quart explores the teenage demographic and marketing in Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers.

  • MMVII, CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.