Advertisements Exploiting Children

1837 WordsMay 8, 20138 Pages
Are current practises of advertising to children exploitative? What restrictions should be placed on advertising to children? Up until recently, parents had been the intended target audience for advertising efforts aimed for children of young age groups. However it is now the children who have become the main focus. The growth in advertising channels reaching children and the privatisation of children’s media use have resulted in a dramatic increase in advertising directly intended for the eyes and ears of children (Wilcox et al. 2004). It is estimated that advertisers spend more than $12 billion a year on the youth market with more than 40,000 commercials each year. The current practises of advertising to young children definitely…show more content…
Furthermore research on the language of advertisements, while used to promote products, may be purposefully constructed to confuse younger children at lower levels of cognitive development. Simple correlation research in the US indicates that children typically aged 2-6 years who view more television advertising request more products from their parents. This is known as pester power. It has been found that parents are more likely to buy products when kids ask for them in the shop (nag factor). As children age, they develop the cognitive capacity to contextualise and act critically on the observations made, reducing the amount of requests for products (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2007). Children who are exposed to TV commercials for toys not only develop the initial idea for the toy but repeatedly pester their parents to buy it. This is exploitation on the parents’ behalf as it often causes parent-child conflict when the parents deny their children the product (Wilcox et al. 2004). Another troubling issue relating to child advertising exploitation is in reference to food ads. Half of the advertisements in the UK directed at children concern food. There are little ads emphasising healthy eating and since the start of television advertising, the largest proportion of ads aimed at children has always been unhealthy food products (Gunter, Oates & Blades 2005). The Australian Communications and Media Authority (2007) detailed the
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