Branding our Youth?

A recent study undertaken by MTV, Nickelodeon and Microsoft is concerned with better understanding news3.gifthe relationships between youth, culture and technology on a global plane. It surveyed 18,000 kids from 16 countries. While many of the findings are quite interesting from an education perspective, I am amazed at the commercial targeting going on. If I was a good artist, I would draw a picture to represent what I felt after reading it. Since I am not, I will just express in words what it would look like. I see some sort of social engineering machine in the shadows hooked up to thousands of children as they go about their daily lives, all connected synergistically to it, yet unaware of its presence. I can’t help but think when I read this report that commercialism and advertising are shaping our future way too much. Advertising and branding is nothing new, but the scale on which it is reaching youth today is astounding. When new technologies are released by big tech and entertainment industries, I think we need to take a closer look at whose agenda is having the biggest impact. In education, are we merely the remoras riding on the big whale shark? How to we educate kids on the predatory nature behind the very tools they desperately rely on? Sorry if this is a downer… it just opened my eyes a little bit to what I knew was already there.

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2 Comments on “Branding our Youth?”

  1. Tracy Rosen Says:

    hmmm – excellent points raised here.

    My take would be that we continue to teach critical thinking and how to make considered decisions – and if we haven’t been doing that then we get our butts in gear and start already!

    As long as we can continue to think critically and consider different sides of any issue we can at least know that we aren’t being completely swept away by hype.

  2. Stephen Ransom Says:

    Agreed. It will be more critical than ever to help students understand the power of ubiquity in advertising and how it [aims to] impacts their perceptions at every turn. They are indeed “connected”, but there may be a price to pay for such connectedness. I think empowering students to have voice in such conversations has great power.


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