How Consumer Culture Controls Our Kids
Cashing in on Conformity
by Jennifer Hill
November 2015, 274pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3482-0
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3483-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The average child sees about 12,000 violent acts annually through media exposure.

This gripping book considers the history, techniques, and goals of child-targeted consumer campaigns and examines children's changing perceptions of what commodities they "need" to be valued and value themselves.

In this critique of America’s consumption-based society, author Jennifer Hill chronicles the impact of consumer culture on children—from the evolution of childhood play to a child’s self-perception as a consumer to the consequences of this generation’s repeated media exposure to violence. Hill proposes that corporations, eager to tap into a multibillion-dollar market, use the power of advertising and the media to mold children’s thoughts and behaviors.

The book features vignettes with teenagers explaining, in their own words, how advertising determines their needs, wants, and self-esteem. An in-depth analysis of this research reveals the influence of media on a young person’s desire to conform, shows how broadcasted depictions of beauty distort the identities of children and teens, and uncovers corporate agendas for manipulating behavior in the younger generation. The work concludes with the position that corporations are shaping children to be efficient consumers but, in return, are harming their developing young minds and physical well-being.


  • Features content from across disciplines including sociology, psychology, cultural anthropology, and social work
  • Introduces the idea that corporations exert a powerful—and largely negative—influence over children and childhood
  • Offers a theoretical explanation of the current state of consumer capitalism
  • Presents findings based on original research conducted by the author
Jennifer Hill, PhD, is a freelance writer, activist, and cofounder of Who Minds the Child?, a media education nonprofit group. Her published works include Authentic Dialogue with Persons Who Are Developmentally Disabled: Sad without Tears. She received her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of British Columbia, where she was respectively awarded the Jean Jure prize for academic excellence and the Henry Maas Memorial scholarship for outstanding academic achievement.
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