"Adult shopping decisions might be affected by a sociological change called 'age compression'--the idea that kids may be getting older younger and demanding adult products," reports Andrea Canning. By ABC's count, kids are demanding cell phones, iPods, and may even want Japan's nonalcoholic "Kids'Beer." The story twice quotes Paul Kurnit, president of KidsShop Youth Marketing Company: "There is focus on a more savvy, more informed, more inclusive kid today," he notes. Two problems with ABC's report: first, ABC fails to disclose that Kurnit is also a product consultant to ABC's parent company, Disney. Second, ABC suggests that it's the kids demanding adult products. Compare that to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's story on the same topic, which describes "age compression" more accurately as a: "marketing strategy in which adult products and attitude are pushed on younger kids." But give half a spin point back to ABC: the story ends with a therapist calling on parents to avoid thinking that "the child is a miniature adult. The child is not."
By Jonathan Rosenblum on July 11, 2006