Kids as Consumers. What happened to just being a kid?

Two generations ago most families lived on working farms. All family members participated in the work and had responsibilities. School was designed to give the children the summer off primarily because they were needed on the farm to help with the planting and harvest of crops. Children had responsibilities and a role in the family.

Fast forward to the present. Most families no longer live in the country and in too many homes children have no real work to do. With the advent of TV in the 50's, an amazing change happened to the role of children in this country: their primary role became "a consumer."

This change began gradually with Saturday morning cartoons and cereal commercials. These cereal ads were really the first attempt to market directly to kids. Perhaps you remember them? Cereal with submarines and other toys in the box so the kids beg, cried, and screamed until their parents bought it.