washingtonpost.com  > Business > Columnists > The Color of Money
Color of Money

Material Girl And Boy

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, November 14, 2004; Page F01

Our commercialized society is crippling our children.

I know that's a pretty scary statement. But am I overstating the situation? I think not.

_____Live Online_____
Michelle Singletary hosts bi-weekly discussions on personal finance issues, such as love and money and kids and finances.
Join The Color of Money Book Club
_____Column Archive_____
What the Credit Card Companies Want You to Miss (The Washington Post, Nov 11, 2004)
Make Charity a Budget Item (The Washington Post, Nov 7, 2004)
Read Michelle's Past Columns
_____Your Money_____
Plan Your Budget
Calculate Your Net Worth
Mutual Funds Report
Personal Finance Report
Track Your Portfolio
Calculate Currency Conversion
_____Investing Columns_____
Washington Investing
The Color of Money
Cash Flow
The Week in Stocks
Personal Finance Special Report

Neither does the author of this month's Color of Money Book Club selection.

Consumerism expert Juliet B. Schor has written what should be a must-read for every new parent, seasoned parent, aunt, uncle and grandparent.

"Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture" (Scribner, $25) frightened me, and it will you, too.

"American children are deeply enmeshed in the culture of getting and spending, and they are getting more so," writes Schor, a professor at Boston College. "The more they buy into the commercial and materialist messages, the worse they feel about themselves, the more depressed they are, and the more they are beset by anxiety, headaches, stomachaches, and boredom."

Look at what Schor found based on various studies and her own survey of 300 children ages 10 to 13 in the Boston area:

• Children are becoming shoppers at an earlier age. Children 6 to 12 are estimated to visit stores two to three times per week.

• More children go shopping every week than read, go to church, participate in youth groups, play outdoors or spend time in household conversation.

• Children's top aspiration now is to be rich. Forty-four percent of kids in the fourth through eighth grades now report that they daydream "a lot" about being rich.

CONTINUED    1 2 3    Next >

© 2004 The Washington Post Company