In the past few years we’ve heard a lot about Corporate Social Responsibility, especially as it relates to sustainability, diversity, prevailing wages and green initiatives, but shouldn’t it also extend to the exploitation of our youth in the name of making a profit?
Recently, MTV (owned by Viacom) launched SKINS – an Americanized version of the popular British TV show whose purpose is to show the secret lives of teens. Yes, you guessed it – teens engaging in all the things responsible parents try to shield their children from – sex, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, blatant disrespect, profanity, and the list goes on…
Now, while I may not agree with the show’s content, it isn’t the content that I’m primarily concerned with – it’s the fact that Viacom feels no moral obligation, remorse or corporate social responsibility at exploiting teens (ages of 15-18 according to their casting call) for monetary gain. Clearly Viacom executives have little to no regard for the damages these images do to impressionable teens, their peers, parents and society as a whole.
It is any wonder why our streets, parks, political rallies, workplaces and schools are filled with blatant disrespect for one another, or why employees get confused over what is considered acceptable behavior?
Corporate social responsibility is defined as the obligation companies have to develop and implement courses of action that aid in social issues that impact society. Well, fighting against the exploitation of anyone, especially children, for monetary gain is certainly at the top of my list of Corporate Social Responsibility. Kudos to Subway, Schick, H&R Block, Wrigley, Taco Bell, and General Motors for demonstrating true Corporate Social Responsibility by pulling their advertising from SKINS and making a statement that our youth is more important than profits.