Linn, Susan. Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. 2004. The New Press, New York, USA and London, UK.

Consuming Kids by Susan Linn: A Book Review

If I had small children, I would want to take them and run for the bush and homestead in the wilderness after reading this terrifying tale of the destruction of our first humanity – childhood. Billions of dollars are being spent to sell everything to children. Linn’concern is that, “The explosion of marketing aimed at kids today is precisely targeted, refined by scientific method and honed by child psychologists…”

The author is a parent, a citizen activist and a lecturer in psychiatry. She researched this subject with passion and professionalism covering violence, war toys, video games, tobacco, alcohol, fast food and interlocking corporate advertising in all media and schools. Linn says that this marketing of things to children too young to tell reality from fantasy is bad enough but, “In the long run, our children’s immersion in this commercial culture has implications that go beyond what they buy or don’t buy. …It aims to affect core values… how we define happiness and how we measure our self-worth.”

Linn could not write a book about the marketing maelstrom without writing about how to stop it. Her description of movement building and her practical action lists will inspire any caring adult to join her cause. She chose to focus on the USA because she knows it best, although she found examples of marketing to kids everywhere. Since Canada is a culturally occupied country most of what she says applies here. Her list of active groups is only for USA but Canadians can learn from contacting them how to create effective resistance here. And I did learn something new. Quebec bans TV marketing to children under thirteen years old as do many European countries. As Linn so eloquently states the attack on children must stop and she provides pages of useful advice on how to reclaim our children – in homes, schools and the community.

Filed under Book Reviews, Susan Linn