Kids for sale? The Boston Globe
When you screen videos and movies for children, add materialism to the list of what to watch for. In many movies targeted to tweens (''Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, '' ''What A Girl Wants,'' ''Princess Diaries''), the protagonist usually spends lots of time shopping or worrying about appearances.

Talk to the parents of your children's friends so you aren't the only one trying to resist the pull of consumerism. Then, when your son whines, ''But Tommy's mother let him buy one!'' you'll be able to say, ''I talked to her. Tommy wishes she'd buy it, but she said no, just like me.''

Talk to teens about the ecological costs of consumerism: The more materialistic our lives are and the more we throw away and replace rather than recycle, the more resources we use up.

Websites with ideas for parents:

*, a non-profit to prevent commercial exploitation of children.
*, a national coalition to counter harmful effects of marketing to children.

How would your child answer?

Here are some statements sociologist Juliet Schor put to tweens in her study: Agreement indicates involvement in the consumer culture:

* I usually have something in my mind that I want to buy or get.
* I care a lot about my games, toys and other possessions.
* Brand names matter to me.
* Being cool is important to me.
* I like shopping and going to stores.