Children and Advertising
Children are the most vulnerable to advertising. They are the most susceptible because their minds are immature and are unable to distinguish good advertising versus bad advertising.
Television commercials have a huge impact on how it affects children. Commercials are the biggest form of advertisement geared toward children. "Children between the ages of two and eleven view well over 20,000 television commercials yearly, and that breaks down to 150 to 200 hours" (MediaFamily, 1998). Television advertisements geared towards children have the biggest market by far. "The advertising market in 1997 showed that children under twelve years of age spent well over twenty-four million dollars of their own money on products they saw on television" (Kanner & Kasser, 2000). Kanner and Kasser go on to say that advertisers have even hired psychologists as consultants to help the advertisers come up with fine-tuned commercials that attract children (2000). In 1999, a group of psychologists wrote to the American Psychological Association asking them to restrict the use of psychological research by advertisers to help sell their products to children. This letter also called for, "an ongoing campaign to probe, review and confront the use of psychological research in advertising and marketing to children" (Hays 1999). "Some child advertisers boldly admit that the commercials they use exploit children and create conflicts within the family" (Kanner & Kasser, 2000). Kanner and Kasser also say that, advertisers work very hard to increase their products "nag factor". This term often refers to how often children pressure their parents to buy the item they saw advertised on television (2000).
The effects on advertising to children can be very noticeable. There have been numerous studies done that document that "children under eight years old are
unable to understand the intent of advertisements developmentally, therefore they accept the advertising claims as true" (Shelov, S., et. al., 1995). "The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to say that children under the age of eight cannot distinguish commercial advertisements from regular television programming. In addition, advertisers have become sneaky about the way they convey their product" (Shelov, S., et. al., 1995). For example, when the announcer says, "some assembly required" for a toy, it is at the end of the commercial and the announcer speaks very quickly. Sometimes, the disclaimers are written in small print and shown at the end of the commercial, and are not understood by most young children. Excessive television viewing often times causes higher obesity rates among children. Children often see foods that are high in fat and calories advertised on television and end up consuming too much of these foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the bombardment of advertising for food and toys to children may result in the increased number of conflicts between parents and children. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that, "advertising directed toward children is inherently deceptive and exploits children under eight years of age" (Shelov, S., et. al., 1995).
Cigarette advertisements seen in magazines or billboards are an area that is in need of change. "In 1988, teenagers alone spent well over $1.26 billions on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco" (Shelov, S., et. al., 1995). This number has rose significantly since 1988, and continues to rise rapidly. Although there is an advertisement ban of cigarettes on television, logos and billboards are prominent in televised sports. This makes television advertising of cigarettes very prominent. There were two studies down in the early 1990s on cigarette advertisements. This study looked at how familiar children were with the Old Joe Camel logo on Camel cigarettes. "These studied revealed that nearly one third of three-year-old children, and almost all of the children over the age of...
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Hays, C.L. (1999, October 31). Group says ads manipulate children with psychology. New York Times, p. C6.
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Kanner, A.D., & Kasser, T. (2000). Stuffing our kids: Should psychologists help advertisers manipulate children? Retrieved January 30, 2002, from http://www.commercialalert.org/
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