Media literacy and marketing consumerism focused on children.
The paper points out the importance of developing media literacy with children, who are more and more becoming the focus of contemporary marketing. The aim of these marketing efforts is to put more pressure on children's parents in order to influence their decision-making process and shopping behaviour towards buying the products being advertised. The study is divided into three parts. The first part is focused on marketing targeted at children, whose cognitive ability to recognize the persuasive intent of advertising is not sufficient until the age of eight. Our views are based on Piaget's theory of cognitive development. Pursuant to this theory, we explain the development of consumer behaviour patterns among children, going through four developmental stages (from birth to the age of 12 and beyond). We point out that understanding commercial content depends on how mature the cognitive processes of an individual are. The same thing is essential for the development of consumer behaviour and for the ability to distinguish between commercialism and reality in advertisements. The second part of the paper deals with the negative impact of commercialization on children's development, as the high levels of materialism found in advertisements negatively influence children's self-esteem, value orientation, habits and attitudes. The third part of the paper emphasizes the importance of increasing media literacy both within families and in schools by means of media literacy education. Developing media literacy is just the thing that may help children understand marketing messages and so improve their ability to recognize commercial messages.