Deregulation Of Advertising On Children

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We all love new things: jackets, shirts, shoes, smartphones and apps. Who doesn’t feel good when they have the latest and the greatest thing that draws the attention and admiration of our peers? But why do we feel so good and how did we know what product was going to make us feel so good? Advertisers. The modern American child is clearly a target for companies seeking to make more and more money from kids who constantly want more and more stuff. But advertisers fail to acknowledge the harm they are doing to children and our society, and it is clear that advertising to children and teens unfairly takes advantage of their inability to identify when and how they are being manipulated. Marketing and persuasive techniques are powerful tools for…show more content…
As noted in “Facts about Marketing to Children” from The Center for the New American Dream, in 1983, prior to the federal deregulation of marketing in media, advertisers spent $100 million on television ads targeting children. In contrast, by 2006, 22 years after deregulation, that amount had grown to $40 billion. The documentary Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Kids notes that that is an 852% increase. Companies employ professional researchers and child psychologists to help create their marketing strategies. Some of these strategies include 360-degree marketing campaigns that bury kids in what Michael Rich, MD calls a “media blitz” of over 3000 images per day. Consuming Kids describes the various blitzes and notes how they are all part of watching television ads, listening to radio, and playing video games where products are placed directly in a game. The internet is the newest advertising frontier and even uses the strategy of employing children to market to other unsuspecting children at sleep- overs and during school. The USA TODAY article also describes how 77kids by American Eagle and Webkinz encourage students to download their own image and see themselves as glamorous rock stars, in the products, or “sharing” with friends…show more content…
Psychologists point out that the “media blitz” targets what is known to be a vulnerable group because children lack the ability to “discern when they are being manipulated.” That means that unlike adults, children are being sucked in unknowingly to believe the messages advertisers create. Their mind is being changed without knowing it – adults at least are aware that companies are trying to get them to buy or believe something. Kids simply can’t understand what’s happening to them. As part of the new media blitz, not only are children being advertised to without parents’ knowledge, like at sleepovers, but they are also being marketed to in places that are traditionally marketing free: schools, daycares, and homes. In an American Psychologists Association article, “Driving Teen Egos – and buying – through ‘branding’” a psychologist who supports regulating advertising to teens, Allen D. Kanner, PhD, points out that children suffer because “The message that doesn't reach teens is that what is important is ‘how you think, what you like...and who you are’” rather than what and how much stuff you have. In the same article, Margo Maine, PhD, who works with girls with eating disorders, mentions the effects on girls especially: “Teenage girls spend over $9 billion on makeup and skin products alone, an example of advertisers
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