Advertising and Children

Advertising aimed at children should be banned In today’s capitalist society, advertising is all around us. As it has acquired its strong presence on the internet, it seems that there is no way we can escape its ceaseless images and messages in our everyday lives. Of course, we are not a captive audience who is easily duped by the manipulation of advertising. Just as advertising gets more sophisticated and glamorous to catch our attention, so we have developed our insight into its various tactics.However, the problem is that advertising also targets children who are not able to discriminate what they see on TV commercials from fact. Because of their lack of knowledge and experience, young children cannot understand the persuasive intent of advertising and see through schemes used by advertisers.

In this essay, I will explain the negative influences of advertising on children and prove why advertising targeting them should be banned. To begin with, as I have mentioned earlier, children are not mature enough to understand how they are targeted and how advertising works on their mind and purchasing behavior.Recent research, ‘Television viewing and aggressive behavior during adolescence and adulthood’, shows that children aged two to five are not able to tell the difference between regular TV programs and commercials.

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This means they do not even understand that advertisements are there to sell their products, and they tend to believe what they are shown on TV commercials is true. Also, they do not know that advertisers often exaggerate the usefulness and effectiveness of their product to promote sales, and thus they are easy to fall for misleading advertising.Apart from exaggerating, there are other several tactics used by advertisers, which is difficult for children to detect. For example, advertisers make a frequent use of weasel words which sound informative, but actually mean nothing.

William Lutz, the author of the book entitled ‘With These Words, I Can Sell You Anything’, says, “Advertisers use weasel words to appear to be making a claim for a product, when in fact they are making no claim at all. (135pg)” It is obvious that young children are unable to indentify weasel words in adverting like “help,” “virtually,” and “taste of real.. ”.Another method that advertisers use is repetition. When children are repeatedly exposed to certain product, they come to believe that they need the item appeared in the advertisement. Another thing we should pay attention to is that food advertising to children encourages unhealthy eating habits, which leads to childhood obesity, and nutritional unbalance. Among many different forms of food advertising, TV advertising is perhaps the most predominant because it is considered the easiest way to reach children.

In fact, influence of TV advertising on children’s food choice is significant.According to a recent study by Kaiser Family Foundation in the U. S. , food product for children is appeared to be most advertised on TV.

The study found that half of the advertisements shown during children’s shows are for food and beverage, and they are mostly fast food and sugary drinks. Also, another study from Fast Food Facts Report indicates that food industry in the U. S. are spending astronomical amount of money on food advertising designed to reach children.

Specifically, in 2006, fast food industry in the U. S. put about $300 million on marketing for children.According to statistics produced by Korea Statistical Information Service (www. kosis. kr), the average Korean children aged 3 to 10 watch 2 hours and 45 minutes of TV a day, 19 hours 15 minutes a week.

That means that children are exposed to thousands of food commercials a year. There have been no studies conducted on Korean food adverting for children yet, but it is assumed that situation here in Korea is similar to that of the U. S. Though the cause of obesity is complicated, there is a strong cause and effect relationship between food advertising and children obesity.

The Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) proved the link between food advertising and eating behavior in children. According to the study, food advertising to children has an adverse effect on food preferences, and food consumption. That is, frequent exposure to food advertising intended for children increases consumption of unhealthy food, which results in the epidemic of childhood obesity. It is well known that childhood obesity can lead to serious and costly medical problems like diabetes and heart disease. The bigger problem is that children obesity mostly carries on into adult weight problems.The last point I want to make is that advertising to children can encourage increased materialism and distort their values.

Advertisers are targeting younger children with the message that their products make them better persons and more acceptable to their peer group. Marketing aimed at children attempts to build bland loyalty by attaching certain identities to their product in order to create product desires and intention to purchase. Children buy things because they believe that certain items make them look ‘cool’ like the models appeared in commercials.You probably have childhood experience that you nagged your parents to buy you bland-name products like Nike shoes after seeing it advertised on TV or magazine.

Advertising to children also can reinforce a mistaken belief that their identities are expressed by what they are buying. In ‘Lunchbox Hegemony’, Cook says, “The children’s market works because it lives off of deeply held beliefs about self-expression. ” (117pg). Cook shows that children purchase products because they believe bland-name products appeared advertising allow them to express themselves.I think that marketing strategy is only valid as long as the power of their marketing is equal to the level of the consumer’s ability to comprehend and weigh the messages in advertising.

Therefore we must protect young children from unwanted influences of advertising directly targeting them, because they are too young and naive to understand the nature of advertising. Also, food advertising to children should be strictly regulated because it causes unhealthy food choices and childhood obesity.Also, advertising encourages excessive materialism, which can have a negative impact on children’s value system. For these reasons, I claim that advertising intended for young child audiences should be excluded. .Works Cited Cook, Dan.

“Lunchbox Hegemony. ” The Contemporary Reader. Ed.

Gary Goshgarian. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Longman, 2007. Hastings G, Stead M, McDermott L, et al.

“Review of Research on the Effects of Food Promotion to Children”. Glasgow: University of Strathclyde Centre for Social Medicine, 2003. Johnson JG, Cohen P, Smailes EM, Kasen S, Brook JS. Television viewing and aggressive behavior during adolescence and adulthood”  Science. 2002 Lutz, William.

“With these Words, I Can Sell You Anything. ” The Contemporary Reader. Ed.

Gary Goshgarian. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Longman, 2007 www. mediaawareness.

ca/english/parents/marketing/issues_kids_marketing. cfm www. bcbs.

com/news/wellness/study-finds-food-is-top-product-advertised-to-children. html www. fastfoodmarketing. org/media/FastFoodFACTS_Report_Summary. pdf www. kosis.

kr www. apa. org/pi/families/resources/advertising-children.




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