Television and commercials are a part of our everyday lives. They are an entertaining way to learn new things, travel the world, and learn about people and culture. We are infiltrated with non-stop advertising while watching TV. According to the Website, “Love your Body”, the number one after-school activity for children ages 6-17 is to watch TV for. Many ads on TV subliminally tell us or make us want or feel something. Ads are powerful messages and content. They can make the unreal, seem real.
Our children can become confused by watching too many ads. Ads target kids, since they are a major buying factor for their parents’ spending. If a kid wants something bad enough, advertisers know the parents will eventually give in and buy it for them. Many researchers from the American Psychological Association agree that ad targeting for children is unethical because it targets impressionable minds. It is also not healthy, mentally and physically, for our kids to be brainwashed by so many ads.
There is plenty of research that shows all these effects on our kids do plenty of damage not only to our pocket books but also not good for the health and safety of our youth. I will be discussing these effects of advertising on our youth to bring more exposure to why we should limit our kid’s exposure to them. Our kids are exposed increasingly to more and more ads every year. Marketers have expanded their campaigns to market to our youth since children are big influencers on their parents spending. Over 2. 5 Billion dollars are used to market to kids (Shah).
They target our youth because they know what big influencers they are. According to Shah, the average American kid watches between 25,000 and 40,000 commercials each year. All this marketing to youth really pays off, since it is reported that children (under 12) and teenagers influence their parents to buying over $130-670 billion a year (Shah). These ads are all targeting our children and confusing them with their wants, needs and feelings. These ads tell our kids that they will be cool if they purchase these products, they will be happier, or even better off.
These children then nag to their parents for these products until the parents finally give in. Our youth live in a make believe world of where they replace real food with junk food and have too many material things. This kind of behavior and thinking is not healthy and there should be more control over advertisers who market to our youth. The number of advertisers who market to kids has skyrocketed over the last 30 years. Many researchers from American Psychological Association, Psychologists and Professors have written recent reports that find targeted advertising to our youths is wrong.
Their findings state it is unethical to try to twist the truth to sell a product to our youth, especially since they have such impressionable minds and believe everything they see. Whiton Paine, a psychologist in Philadelphia, agrees with this by saying, “Telling [children] of the existence of a product and accurately describing that product is under most circumstances probably ethical, Convincing them that they have to have the toy if they are going to be successful with their friends . . . r misrepresenting the toy – [then] you are no longer ethical” (Campbell). Marketers will do or say anything to make a sell it seems. Not only is it unethical to market to kids by tricking them but it has been written in research that these ads are also bad for our kid’s health but also causes physical and mental problems. Sometimes advertisers take it to the extreme. There was a report by the Federal Trade Commission in the 1970’s that banned advertisers from peddling violent material to youth (Campbell).
Other countries like Sweden and Norway already forbid advertising directed at children 12 years and younger. Greece bans toy advertising until after 10 pm, and Denmark and Belgium severely restrict advertising aimed at children (Pediatrics). It is easy to see why they do this, especially when advertisers are constantly try to push boys to see violence as good and telling girls to base their self worth by how they look. There has been a lot of recent research done that is showing how ads are affecting our children’s health, their weight and causing physiological problems.
Recent research links children’s advertising to obesity, parent-child conflicts, violence and aggression, low self-esteem based on possessions, and tobacco and alcohol use in teen years, and (Cooper). According to Shah, the average American kid watches between 25,000 and 40,000 commercials each year. Over half of those commercials are about food, namely sugared cereals and high-calorie snacks and fast food (Pediatrics). Marketers try to tie toys with food during their advertising to entice the younger kids. Nearly 20% of fast food ads now mention a toy in their commercial (Reese).
Research done by Borzekowski, states that young children request more high calorie food and fast food after viewing commercials. The result of advertising to these young impressionable minds may lead to childhood obesity if parent involvement is not taken seriously. The psychological effects have been reviewed recently by researchers. The American Psychological Association reports that “children under the age of eight are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate and unbiased”.
This creates some inaccurate perceived conceived conceptions of the world in the mind of our children. Kunkel states that because of perception these ads “will contribute to a violent media culture which increases the likelihood of younger aggressive behavior and desensitizes children to real-world violence. ” Some kids may relate not looking like the kids on TV or not having the newest toy as being liked as well by others. This is an unhealthy effect that can lead into more psychological problems or lead to other health problems.
A lot of children’s favorite prime time shows have their favorite characters engaging in unhealthy activities like smoking and drinking condemning the other bad behavior (Boyse & Bushman). There are research being done now on the effects of the school work and even linking AHAD to being over exposed to ads (Boyse & Bushman). The negative psychological effects outweigh any good reasons to expose and target our children to such bad outcomes. Parents need to step up to really monitor what their children are watching to protect their children’s future well-being.
Advertisers tend to give false allusions of reality to its viewer for the sole purpose of selling their products. Those advertisers, who market to kids, do so intentionally to sell to their parents but perhaps unknowingly are causing negative health effects emotionally and physically. It is unethical to market to our youth especially when the negative outcome effects a whole generation of consumers and their well being. Parents should be more aware of these effects and limit their children’s ability to view as many ads.
The government should also put stricter regulations on advertisers, to stop targeting children, similar to what other countries have in place. With combined efforts we can reduce the effects of advertising on children with hopes for a brighter future.
Borzekowski DL, Robinson TN. “The 30-second effect: an experiment revealing the impact of television commercials on food preferences of preschoolers” J Am Diet Assoc. 2001;101 :42– 46 Bose, Kyla. “Television (TV) and Children: Your Child. ” University of Michigan Health System. University of Michigan, Aug. 2010. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. http://www. med. umich. edu/yourchild/topics/tv. htm>. Covers topics of tv time and ad effects Campbell, Kim, and Kent Davis-Packard. “How Ads Get Kids to Say, I Want It! ” The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor. com. TCSM, 18 Sept. 2000. Web. 04 Dec. 2011. <http://www. csmonitor. com/2000/0918/p1s1. html>. “Children, Adolescents, and Advertising. ” Pediatrics. Pediatrics, 1 Dec. 2006. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://pediatrics. aappublications. org/content/118/6/2563. full>. concerning the problem with targeting kids “Children Now—Media’s Impact. ” Ch1ldren Now. Ch1ldren Now. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. http://www. childrennow. org/index. php/learn/medias_impact/>. great stats on health, education and impact, great additional resources linked to page Clay, Rebecca A. “Advertising to Children: Is It Ethical? ” American Psychological Association (APA). Sept. 2000. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www. apa. org/monitor/sep00/advertising. aspx>. unethical reasons to market to kids Clay, Rebecca A. “Unraveling New Media’s Effects on Children. ” American Psychological Association (APA). American Psychological Association, Feb. 2003. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www. apa. org/monitor/feb03/unraveling. aspx>.
Has some great background info on the effects. Cooper, Garry. “TV Advertising Is Bad for Children. ” Associated Counselors & Therapists. Associated Counselors & Therapists. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www. beachpsych. com/pages/cc105. html>. A counselors take on the effects of advertising Dittmann, Melissa. “Consumerism–Protecting Children from Advertising. ” American Psychological Association (APA). American Psychological Association, June 2004. Web. 27 Nov. 2011. <http://www. apa. org/monitor/jun04/protecting. aspx>. written by a doctor – great psychological effects stats Harris, Jennifer L. , John A.
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