Tweenagers. They are a new market of 6 - 12 year olds that have become a growing target market for advertisers, retailers and product companies. To me girls and boys this age are children, not tweenagers. "Tweenagers" seems to be a new word invented by advertising companies to desribe a new market that they can promote products to.
Despite my thoughts on this, the label tweenagers and tweens are well used terms these days.
I have had a concern for a while, when I have stood in the queue at the supermarket and seen magazines with fully made up young girls on the cover, aimed at young girls. I have also been shocked to see bras, g-strings and bikini's, and other revealing clothing marketed towards young girls. The reason for my concern is that I am not sure that young girls should be exposed to the kinds of imagery and promotional materials that encourage them to seek products that make them appear older, or even s*xualise them. How is this all affecting young girls, the way they view themselves, their bodies, and the way they act. Come to think of it, how does this affect the way that young boys may react to young girls, and women in their future?
It may sound like I have an extreme response to this, you may think that it is solely a parents job to limit what their children are exposed to, and I do agree. I was limited from watching, buying and being exposed to things that my parents deemed inappropriate for my age. Even though at the time I didn't appreciate these limitations, I thank them now for allowing me to enjoy my childhood.
My worry is that a parents limitations and rules, may one day not be able to stand up to the strength of multi-million dollar advertising campaigns. Even now, I am sure that there are many parents who find it difficult to enforce rules and limitations with the constant barrage of persuasive marketing campaigns.
I am not in the advertising industry per say, but I am part of the design industry. I have been lucky not have to work on projects that oppose my morals, and I am not sure what I would do if I was faced with the choice. There are many that I would never touch, there are other less extreme projects that I may consider. It is scary though to think that decisions that I make, affect decisions that other people may make about a company or a product, that could then go on to affect the way that they live their lives.
I am glad that I watched Insight this evening, which covered this issue from varying viewpoints, including those of children, parents, phsychologists, doctors, media and advertising representatives. The transcript should be later this evening of tomorrow. Check it out if you have time.