We live in a world of 'click bait' and 'reality tv' and it doesn't sit well with me.
'Click bait' marketing is annoying and 'reality tv' is banal at the very least.
Thankfully I grew up in a world before this became the norm so myself and others of my age recognize these trends for what they are. What really doesn't sit well with me however is that children, my children, my 4.5 year old twins, are growing up in a world where they are being constantly lied to and deceived. A world where they see fame seekers looking for attention and to make a quick buck as a normal way of life.
What happened to honesty and working for a living to make an honest buck? What happened to self worth?
What kind of a message is this sending to young people? What hope do they have of learning right from wrong when lies and deception are literally raining down on them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a never ending stream of media.
As parents we have to ensure that we teach our children right from wrong and that is much harder today than it was 20+ years ago.
I am not advocating that we ban television or tablets. Technology is a wonderful thing but it should be used wisely. The content however that is sent through those devices is the issue. The media and advertising industries work hand in hand and are responsible for the messages being broadcast to our youth.
I am not advocating that we ban advertising either but I remember growing up in a world in which even advertising was quality and something to be enjoyed. Today it's like fast food: unfulfilling and unhealthy. It's no wonder ad agencies make ads that never see the light of day but do win awards. It's the only way to get a good creative idea seen these days.
It's not an easy problem to solve as this type of insidious marketing and advertising (and it is insidious) fly's just under the radar of what is legally acceptable. Morally it stinks and I don't believe for a minute that those using these so called 'acceptable' techniques sleep well. If they do then they, not us, have much bigger issues.
So what to do? Well I would urge anyone who is a parent, anyone who is offended by this barrage of deception, anyone with a sense of worth and morals to speak up. Don't encourage your children to watch reality TV, call bullshit on it. Tell them what it really is.
Reality TV is Manufactured entertainment that is a vehicle for advertising. Explain to your children what the word 'reality' really means.
"Married at first site" is Disney, not reality.
"Big Brother" is a room full of narcissists, not a social experiment.
"Masterchef" is a vehicle for Coles (in Australia) to advertise and for the Chefs to spruike their restaurants and cross promote their sponsors.
"The Voice" (OK even I get sucked in to this) is a vehicle to promote artists, not the ones performing, but the judges and their record labels. I have an immense passion for music and the artists on the The Voice I have great respect for but at the end of the day they are being used to promote sponsors.
We live in a contrived, materialistic world and as much as I want my children to have freedom to make choices making informed ones is increasingly hard in a world dominated by the media, sponsors and the full force of advertising.
Please, pause to reflect on this and educate your children. With a bit of luck the world will wake up, sense will prevail and greed will become as unacceptable as advertising cigarettes in sports is.