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Help your children live happier lives that are better for them and for the planet

 

Helping our children to focus on close personal relationships, absorbing hobbies and healthier lifestyles can lead to happier lives and reduce our impact on the planet. Prioritising activities that have a positive effect on our community and being grateful for what we already have are behaviours which are good for our children’s wellbeing and come at a much lower cost to the living world.

 

The less time we spend on activities which focus solely on what we look like and what we own, the better we will feel and the less environmental damage we will cause.

 

What’s the problem?

 

Unfortunately, advertisers appear to have other ideas, and are exploiting the popularity and addictiveness of social media to encourage teens to spend more time – and money – on these materialistic activities.

 

Advertisers target young people, using increasingly sophisticated techniques, to make them buy more than they need. Brands use social media ‘influencers’ to promote products and unrealistic, unattainable lifestyles, while algorithms harness data harvested from teens’ entire online life to prioritise ads appealing to individual desires or insecurities.

 

Relentless exposure to marketing of this kind inevitably harms young people’s wellbeing. Continually pressuring young people to consume - whether via paid ads or influencer promotions - reinforces materialism, a set of values and goals focussed on wealth, possessions, image and status that is known to harm personal wellbeing.

 

The young people we look after and care about are constantly told that if they buy more, bigger, better then they’ll be happier. This is damaging not only to the planet but also to their wellbeing. Decades of research have demonstrated that the more we prioritise materialistic aspirations in life, the more likely we are to suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, and the more likely we are to engage in compulsive shopping and have higher levels of debt (Kasser, 2016).