Do commercials make our children materialistic? Sanne Opree in De Standaard
Materialistic children: do you have them or do they become that way? Is materialism a character trait some children possess, or could children start valuing the possession of nice things more because of the many commercials they encounter? The Belgian newspaper De Standaard spoke with media scholar Sanne Opree about her research on the effect of advertisements on children.
"Many parents are worried," Opree stated. "They think that it is unfair to treat children as consumers, as they are still too young to understand the mechanisms behind advertising."
Opree studied the effect of commercials on children. She asked 466 children (8-11 years) two questions, on two different moments in time. How important is it to them to have and buy many expensive things? And do they think that those things will make them happier or more popular?
She concluded that commercials do make children more materialistic, yet not all children are as receptive for the influence of advertisements. Opree: "Especially unhappy children value money and things more. Especially when they often watch commercials."