Rebecca Hagelin

Today's adolescents spend an estimated 200 billion dollars a year of their own money - they are the most affluent generation of young people in the history of the world, which also makes them the most marketed to. So fierce is the competition for their cash that modern marketing techniques have become, in many cases, insidiously evil. Today, selling to teens isn't about finding out what they want - it's about figuring out how to manipulate their minds.

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Every parent of a pre-teen or teenaged child knows that these years are marked by raging hormones, a developing interest and confusion about sexuality, a roller coaster of emotions, and a wild vacillation between self doubt and the desire for autonomy. Modern marketers cleverly feed the flames of uncertainty by saturating our teens with highly sexualized images, rude attitudes and violence in order to get their adrenaline pumping and keep them coming back for more. Take MTV for instance - this master of seduction and control doesn't just "entertain" our kids, it brainwashes girls into believing the way to get ahead in the world is not by their grace, or brains or beauty, but by their sexual power. And teen boys? They are encouraged to wallow in the crude and doltish adolescent state that most parents desperately want them to grow out of. Marketers who create this great teenage wasteland of highly sexualized programming and crudeness are proud of their addictive, adrenaline pumping material and the way they have captured the imaginations and are shaping the worldview of our youngsters. And it works. Our nation's kids seem nearly addicted to edgy media. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, they are consuming some six hours of media every day. And the vast majority of the messages they are being fed preach a lifestyle that is anything but healthy.

Throughout programming designed for your children, young women have been reduced to arrogant sex objects, and young men to helpless idiots. We must do better by our daughters and sons.

Rebecca Hagelin

Rebecca Hagelin is a public speaker on the family and culture and the author of the new best seller, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family.
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