Television and Advertisement

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The Effects of Advertising Toward Children and their Family
Gabriela Veloz
UMass Boston

Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explain the research conducted on the effects of advertising targeted to children. These effects include, but are not limited to obesity, childhood diabetes, materialism and household economics. Information from research shows increases in the amount of time spent watching commercials and the negative health and social effects of this spent time. Ethical issues concerning the influences imposed on children through advertising are also examined as well as parental control.

The Effects of Advertising Toward Children and their Family
Many children spend most of their time watching TV; Advertising companies take advantage of the fact that many kids are glued to the television screen. Children’s exposure to advertising has increased greatly over the years. The national science foundation estimated that children view an average of 40,000 product commercials in the early 1990’s (Kunkel& Grants 1992). This numbers have obviously increased since targeting toward children is greater then before. It is very important that we understand where all the advertising is coming from. Advertisers use television as a tool for attracting buyers through commercials, product placement, food advertising and many more. Families feel the effects of advertising toward children’s and it can produce stress in the household. What are the ethical guidelines when advertising for children?

Television advertisements for children have increased intensely over the years. Since the beginning of advertising kids have always been the easy targets. One way that companies advertise to children is through television commercials. According to Langbourne Rust there are several levels of advertising in commercials. Advertisers use strategies for reinforcing identity through definition ads. For example, show and tell explains how a product and its label that is frequently shown in a TV program will gain the attention of children. Another strategy is personification, which is when children see kids that are the same age in a commercial and they indentify with them. This process creates a connection between the viewer and the actor, and that connection leads to the viewer wanting to have what the actor has. Lastly, the plot pivots strategy, is when characters in a specific show are trying to get a certain product by interacting with other characters. This often includes some kind of dramatic chase or adventure to get the desired product, which then creates a desire in the viewer to obtain the advertised product through any means possible. These are just a few strategies that advertising companies use to persuade children to buy specific products. I think this is morally wrong because advertisers are taking advantage of children that don’t know any better. Children do not have enough experience or exposure in the world to understand the reason why the want en specific product. There is no difference for a child when they are watching an episode of The Flintstones getting into an adventure or when they are watching a commercial where The Flintstones are chasing after Fruity Pebbles.

Most kids plug into the world of television long before they enter school. It is very important to understand that the first two years of a baby’s life is a critical time for brain development. In these two years if babies are exposed to TV this might get in the way of exploring, playing and interacting with others. According to the National Science foundation children viewed an average of 40,000 commercial per year (singer 2004 page 376) The following average was estimated in the 1990’s. The level of commercial advertising is lower on children’s program compared to other TV programs. There are still a few programs that are commercial-free, for example; PBS children’s programs are good because they focus more on education for the kids....
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