Commercialization of Children

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Commercialization of Children
Children have been an extremely common advertising target since the 1990s. Since children are easily persuaded and have vivid imaginations, it is easy for an advertiser to portray their product as the must-have toy for any child. Many concerned parents realized this, which lead to the formation of the CARU (Children’s Advertising Review Unit). The guidelines and principles outlined in the article talk about every aspect of marketing, from disclosure and disclaimers, safety, and newly added, the internet. They even go into description of how you can advertise clubs and sweepstakes. I think the CARU honestly has the best interests of children, however there is no way of protecting children from any adult advertising if they happen to be watching a program or a channel not usually watched by others their age. For example, if you are a ten year old child that is taking a sick day from school, the programs offered on channels like Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel in the early morning are usually targeted for a pre-school aged demographic. While a ten-year old would have more knowledge of advertising and understand they would have to ask their parents before calling to purchase something, they would be watching advertisements with products and services meant for adults. All technicalities aside, the CARU has created an extensive list of guidelines advertisers must follow when dealing with children.

The CARU guidelines are very specific, speaking of the situations children should be in (or not be in) and what each situation can portray. I feel that many of the guidelines are targeting ethics. Businesses with good ethics shouldn’t need guidelines to know that in children’s advertisements they shouldn’t try and frighten or portray violence. They also shouldn’t try and manipulate a child by using words such as “only” or “just” or use characters to promote a product that may not have anything to do with the show the character is on. It...
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