Monday, 11 August 2008

Children bullied by their schoolmates for wearing 'wrong brand'


By Laura Clark
11th August 2008

Children are so heavily influenced by brands that they bully or shun classmates who do not keep up with fashions and logos, teachers warn.

Pupils who wear 'cheap' logos are labelled 'geeks' and become the brunt of name-calling.

A survey of teachers found that three-quarters think children's awareness of marketing is putting unprecedented pressure on parents, who give in to demands 'far more readily'.


Pupils who wear 'cheap' logos are labelled 'geeks' and become the brunt of name-calling

More than 90 per cent said brands were the top influence on what children buy.

Almost everyone taking part in the poll, by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said they believed advertising was aimed directly at children and young people.

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: 'This survey confirms the huge pressure on young people to fit in with their friends and peer groups.

'It is incredibly sad to hear how many youngsters are bullied or isolated for not having the same clothes or accessories as their classmates.

'Advertising and marketing have made our society increasingly image-conscious and our children are suffering the consequences.

'We are worried these pressures will intensify as schools look for more help from commercial sponsors to provide IT, sports and science equipment, teaching materials and food.'


Brand culture: Clothing by popular companies like Nike are a must have for teenagers

Andy Cranham, a teacher at City of Bristol College, said: 'The need to belong in groups is paramount to young learners and exclusion is something they see as the end of the world.'

Sheila Bell, who teaches in Cumbria, said: 'They need to be up to date, or they get left out and have low self-esteem.'

Tamsin Buckingham, a secondary teacher from Surrey, said that all pupils, including those from well-off families, suffered brand-related bullying.

She said: 'It is often the children who you would expect to have least, a family on benefits for example, who have all the branded stuff and tease others.'


Vladds Comment.

It seems sad to me that so many children want to walk around looking like an advertising billboard for these over priced goods. I feel that if, in the first year of secondary school say, children are taught about the worlds sweat shops and are shown how little the workers who make these designer products are paid, the terrible conditions they work in, and are shown the profit margin on these products then maybe, just maybe, we would produce children who are not so shallow as to think a label is so important. Also we might produce a new generation of consumers who stop and think before they buy. Perhaps we might even produce children who realise they are being exploited themselves by the large multi-nationals. A good start maybe would be to include books such as Naomi Klein's NO LOGO on the curriculum.

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