Blog Entry 9: Your View of Advertising to Children

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Hi all:

Write a paragraph or so on your view of advertising to children as based on our readings last week and for today,

Think of the paragraph or two as a potential start on your paper 2 should you decide to write on advertising to  children.


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Advertising to children is an easy way for coorporations to make big money. Children have the ability to persuade their parents to purchase just about any product being sold. Fast food, toy, and junk food companies have created a prospourous empire by advertising to children. Although advertising to children is probably the most profitable choice for a company to make, it shows that they do not care about the health or well-being of their number one supporters. Companies take advantage of the inability of children to process and think about what they see. "Children age 8 and younger are especially vulnerable to the exploitative techniques used by marketers beause their ability to reason logically and abstractly is not fully developed" (116). It is not fair for companies with the ability to spend millions of dollars on child psychology research to advertise to choildren who can't logically think or defend themselves.

Advertising to children has been the gateway to millions of dollars solely by the influence of a child's persistence for a certain product. It's actually quite disturbing that there are conferences held to attain the goal of selling more junk food to children. Manipulating is key in the industry and sellers know just how to keep a child wanting more. It's alarming that this does not just happen in the US, it happens in basically any location that sellers know children live in. Spending on kids is something that people feel is normal and "fun". Instead of parents spending time with there children, more time is spent on looking for what a child wants thus depriving a child from a healthy childhood. When I look back, I remember that every kid in my elementary school had a gameboy and Pokemon trading cards. If you didn't have those things then you could not play with anyone. Now that my brother is in elementary school, the new craze are Nintendo DS's (now in 3D). The modern world not only changes an adults life but also a childs. There used to be collectibles of dolls, action figures, sometimes cereal boxtops; but now it's who has the best video game or computer. At an international level, this industry of selling to children is insane. Whenever I go visit family in my parents home country, all I see on TV is Nickelodeon and there shows constantly running on Tv. If someone doesn't have a "Fairly Odd Parents" backpack or a "Spongebob" tshirt, then you aren't on the latest fad. This chain of consumerism is everywhere, parents and children all get sucked into it. If there's ever a way to get around this nonsensical cycle of wasting money, then I hope to live to see that day. As of now, keep looking forward on watching Lunchable, Barbie, Spongebob, Superhero, and Toy commercials.

Children have the capabilities to pull the heart-strings of their unavailable parents in ways no one else can; and advertisers know this. Advertisers take control over children in any way that they can. They use every tool in their books, from psychologists to candy, to corrupt children's permeable minds. Many kids nowadays watch television more than they do anything else (besides sleep)which gives advertisers the best opportunity for corruption in history (Schor). Parents are forced to work more which takes away time from their children. This cycle then forces parents to buy their children "pity" gifts. Children hold the power to a majority of consumer products and producers take advantage of the unsuspecting onlookers. Children now known hundreds of brands by age 4 and ask for their "favorites" by name. The kids have no idea about the effects of consumerism on their lives. Children are more interested in shopping than they are in playing and it is corruption the true nature of a having a quality childhood. Children are losing their imaginations because everything they think they desire is handed to them from a silver flat screen. They have lost the ability to enjoy made up games because their new favorite character has already come up with one for them.

Billions of dollars a year are put into advertising for children. The advertising industry thrives by preying on children who can not defend themselves against marketing tactics. Advertising to children is easy and lucrative. The problem with this is that it is unethical, as children "are unable to understand the intentions that underlie commercials" (115). As adults we understand that ads are made to promote consumerism, children, however do not. Advertising has had a negative effect on children concerning their health, and overall well-being, as most ads promote unhealthy products. It is also leading children into a route full of trouble. Because children are exposed daily, to large amounts of media and ads, they are easily influenced by them. These ads effect the type of person the child will become. Statistics say this generation of children are more prone to weight-related diseases, drinking alcohol, smoking,taking illegal drugs, and suffer from behavioral and emotional problems like anxiety and depression. These negative effects have raised rapidly since the increase in advertising to children. Children do not seem to be faring well when being targeted by the advertising industry. So wont somebody, please think of the children?

"The commercializaton of childhood is being driven by a number of factors including broad social trends. But underlying them all is a marketing juggernaut characterized by growing reach, effectiveness, and audacity" Advertisements see children as an easy target when it comes to selling their product. They know kids will continue to buy and they use this to their advantage. They lure kids in with the next new toy or product knowing that they are the targeted consumers. Kids recognize the logos and brands and beging to associate them with personal qualities. Children being so nieve, believe that the new toy at the store will being them eternal happiness and is the next must-have toy. Kids look at other kids and always want what the other children have; this "kid-fluence" really does promote consumerism. This generation of youth is spending more than ever and its getting harder for parents to be strict and say no. Parents really do just want happiness for their child and will tend to give in to their kids desires. Overall these advertisements aimed at children is negatively consuming them.

The advertisements for children are like a gateway drug into consumerism. We are not given a choice whether we can live without consumerism; we are born into it. Children are supposed to be innocent and parents are supposed to know best, but now children are given the choice to be independent. We know brands, advertisements, what we want, what we need, and how to get it. Advertisers take advantage of how much exposure is given to us as consumers. By simply being in school, classmates advertise brands, school's social class advertise a way of style, schools advertise food like Coca-cola and Doritos, teachers advertise a way of thoughts, internet advertises simply any kind of advertisements online and children have been drowned in this economy. Companies do not care about what, how, when, or why these products affect the children. This economy only cares for products, money, production, and how to get better. Children are the basis of the consumer society.

Advertisers seem to have found the jackpot with child consumers. Children seem to be the perfect consumers to target and are seen by advertisers as the “middle man.” The reason being that often times children have the capability of manipulating their parents into buying them whatever they ask for. This act often happens among families who do not spend enough time together. Parents that spend the majority of their time at work and less time with their children tend to feel guilty about it and try to make amends by making them happy, usually with materialistic items, such as toys. Advertisers take advantage of parent’s guilt and prey on children who are defenseless against marketing tactics. Adults are well aware of the games that advertisers play, however, they still get caught up in the trap for the sake of their children who don’t possess the same knowledge. Children only focus on the product, they see a toy that looks awesome a=or sugary snacks that look delicious and they begin to covet it without fully understanding the way they are being drawn in and persuaded. The marketing tactics targeted at children exemplify how ruthless advertisers can be. Their one priority is to sell regardless of the repercussion that it can cause such as family strain and stress.

Children have become a major target in today's modern world advertising industry. Advertisers are well aware that children hold great influence over their parents' purchases whether it be groceries, clothes shopping, or even choosing a restaurant for dinner. They're reaching out to children through tactics of questionable morale such as soliciting other kids to market products or asking adult figures such as teachers or coaches to do it on their behalf. Advertising experts are infiltrating places like school where children should be dedicated to their education rather than having marketing strategies thrown at them.
Television commercials convey a major part of the advertising that is targeted at the minds of vulnerable children. There has been an increase in the amount of hours children spend in front of the television over the past generations. Advertisers have taken note of the incline and now heavily utilize commercials to promote toys, clothes and even expensive technology that appeals to children: "kids are starting to want more expensive toys like computer software, cell phones, VCRs, e-mail, stereos, bedroom microwaves (for making popcorn while they watch movies in their own bedroom theater) And guess what? Parents are buying all these items." (pg 105) Parents who purchase their child's every want only prove to the advertising market that advertisements are working and it serves as encouragement to continue on the quest of targeting kids.

Children now a day have so much power in their hand, but they don’t even know it. It is terrifying if we all think about it. All the movies, TV shows, commercials are all targeted towards adolescence and youngsters of America. With technology and the social media taking over, there are countless amount of ads telling children to buy this and that. Although most do not recognize it, they all compete with one another showing off their latest games, trends, and fashion. With all the free time on their hands they are either watching TV or on the Internet where most ideas of consumption are presented to them. Growing up is already tough but when all the media’s ideas of being well liked are to be rich and having the top brands, it’s hard not to fall into that trap. Even as adults, we can’t help ourselves so how are the young ones to object and fight against that? Kids seem to have more power at their hand because as their parents, we usually want our kids to have a nice life. We want them to have the best life has to offer and we want them to have what we couldn’t. Statistic says an average first grader has about “seventy new toys a year” (101). We spoil our kids so much that we don’t even notice that even they are getting fooled by the advertising business.

"The commercialization of childhood is certainly being driven by the fact that kids have more money and more to say, the explanation most marketers articulate."
Corporations have struck a goldmine with advertisements with children. As children watch numerous hours of television, they are bombarded with the countless number of advertisements that are played. They probably watch more TV than they spend paying attention in school. The central focus of most advertisements today are targeted among young children. All corporations want is the money that the children have, they don't really care about the child's well-being. The minds of children are very vulnerable and in turn are very malleable. Children are starting to have more influence on what is being bought around the household, which in turn makes children the people who manage the money. Children see what they want on TV and they convince their parents that they need it. Convincing their parents is easy as they are the ones that the parents want to please. Children are the individuals that are being exploited in the industry with advertisements and since corporations are able to reach their target variables, they are the one's that are progressing.

Children of the newer generations are raised with advertisements directed towards them before they are even five years old. As these kids grow up, all they trust is the brands plastered on cereal boxes and the television. Most of what is advertised isn't even beneficial to the children! Sugary cereals and video games are pointing these children to a life of unhealthiness. The new couch potato era of kids have Captain Crunch and Batman to blame for their lives. Parents wanting to make their kids happy have no choice but to succumb to their obnoxious cries for the new pop tarts with Spongebob on the cover.
Dreams and aspirations have even become insignificant. Dreaming of playing as well as Michael Jordan has been replaced with working an office job making a lot of money. Kids are too focused on what they want to buy and how to get there that they have lost the real pleasure that comes from doing things they love. I think advertising to children the way it is now is cruel and manipulative. It feeds on their minds' weakness.

In recent years, advertising companies have been targeting a very vulnerable group of people, children. Children are still developing and they are very vulnerable to advertisements when they are young. Advertising companies are partnering up with psychologists to figure out how to attract young children. Violent content and cross-marketing became lucrative approaches to marketing to children. But this violent marketing affects the child, children believing that violence is fun and no one gets hurt. Children also see feed commercials every five minutes for high calorie foods. "Several studies link obesity with excessive television viewing. (120)" Not only are advertisements causing mental harm, physical problems are also arising.

These advertisements are putting a strain on the parent child relationship. At a young age, children feel as if they need to be independent and in control. These products make them feel independent and defines their identity, so when their parents disapprove, it puts a strain on the relationship. Children are very vulnerable to trust as
well, so everything they see on the screen, they trust to be real automatically. "The younger children are, the more they tend to focus on the dramatic and concrete aspects of how things look, rather than on what they hear, and the less they look beneath the surface at motivations, intentions, and abstract ideas. (115)" Children focus their attention on how things look and they don't see the hidden intentions behind the ads.

Companies are taking advantage of children. They're advertising in an unprecedented way to capture the attention of children. Advertisers are raising America's children to be good consumers; by bombarding kids with advertisements often, companies teach kids about what to buy and how to buy it. This advertising to children has serious implications for the future. Social problems are now being transferred from teens and adults to younger children, even toddlers. Because of advertising, children are more concerned about their looks and possessions than ever, and it's not healthy. A child can't discern for himself about the truth of advertising, so he believes what he watches on TV, sees in stores, hears on the radio, reads in books, sees in magazines, and even what he sees on the playground. There is an increasing obsession with self-image due to advertising. Children are increasingly concerned with and emotionally invested in their possessions because they now define self-worth only in their possessions. Advertisers inspire a new kind of want and desire in children. Little ones are overexposed to brand-name advertising and come to expect and accept nothing less. Parents are at a loss with how to deal with their children, so they buy them the items that they ask for. This reinforces exactly what companies tell children. These advertisements intended for a child audience are only creating a stronger consumer base for companies, raising our nation to be materialistic and only value consuming.

Over the years, advertising has manipulated their way into the minds of children for the sole purpose of making them a mass amount of money. What is very alarming is that these advertisers do not seem to care about the health and well being of these kids when they are advertising things such as junk food and toys associated with violent films. Even psychologists who are supposed to provide comfort and support when dealing with kid's vulnerabilities have been trained to use these vulnerabilities to benefit advertisers. Exposing children to advertisements at such a young age has molded their minds in a very negative way. Due to advertisements, kids have become more self conscious about themselves at an earlier age. Levin and Susan Lin address this idea when stating that, "[...] Many commercials are designed to take advantage of a need to belong and to associate the acquisition of products with happiness, fun, making friends or being cool" (121). Instead of living a carefree life filled with no stress or concerns like a child's life is suppose to be, advertisements have made children more aware of things such as brand names, causing kids to worry about not fitting in. The inability of these kids to process the deceiving tactics behind advertisements makes it that much easier for advertisers to sell their products. Children have now prioritized shopping for items they have seen on their television screens, not allowing them to enjoy their worry free childhood. It is sad to see that no concern for the effect that advertisements have on children is taken into consideration when trying to sell things such as greasy Big Mac from McDonalds or t-shirts associated with a violent film.

The articles we read provided information I could relate to from my own personal experience.I did not expect the magnitude of advertising directed to children was to this high extent, but after reading, I am very similar to the children being talked about in the article. Kids today are spoiled and parents are too easily influenced to say "yes" to their children's desires. Television commercials seem to be at fault for this type of behavior. I know I had many happy meals as a kid as well as many new toys a year. Candy was also a favorite consumer product of mine as a child. My mother would always say no but after begging, she would give in to what I felt I would die without. Maybe parents are becoming less strict these days. I never thought about why I loved candy so much but there is a good chance watching television for almost half the time I was awake everyday had something to do with it. There were instances where I even skipped homemade Chinese dinner because I rather eat a hot pocket. Probably not because it was better, but I craved it after watching a hot pocket commercial. I remember wanting to buy pokemon cards all the time because my friends at school had them. Like our consumer society, even at a young age, the things you own seem to make you "cool". I know I spent too much time being surrounded by media. I was in love with television shows and felt I had to watch the newest episodes when it came out no matter what. As a result, I am sure all the commercials in between these episodes always caught my attention and I thought to myself every time, "I wish I had that".

Many people say that the youth of children should be kept where it belongs which is when children are young and immature with nothing to do but play. Youth doesn't mean to stay young and immature, but it means that they are allowed freedom to pass from childish acts; youth gives kids a foundation built on happy "activities" which positively develops their psychological mind. This has seemed to change a bit now that "children and youth are increasingly suffering from emotional and mental health problems" (109). Instead of building a solid foundation for children as they prepare for the "real world", they end up with physical health problems (obesity) as well as emotional health problems. Expected to be optimistic, kids will turn out to be more pessimistic and violent. This is where the parents come in to do their job of nurturing their kids and fighting off false and unneeded advertisements.

From the start of birth, I can see how children are greatly effected by the different "schemes" of advertisement. They are raised in a culture where multi-media messaging has gone viral, and the messages that are sent are only to toy with your emotions and motivations.
As Shor said, children are spending less time with their parents and actually doing something. Rather, they choose to spend their time trying to bargain with their parents to get a new toy of some sort. I believe that children have forgotten about quality time and actual bonding. They are so consumed by the thought of being in fashion and having the latest fads. Levin and Linn also made a good point on how children from a young age are not capable of connecting money and work, but that they believe money comes out of an ATM/machine. This leads to a huge impact on appreciating parents. They do not appreciate their parents for putting a roof over their head and all the costs that they will spend, but rather be upset and fight with them about the things they did not get.
It amazes me on how a little thing such as a television program, or just going to the market can attract so many kids and persuade them into liking certain products. I honestly think that it's a low blow from the marketing companies, but hey, we all have fallen accustomed to it.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Tingle published on December 29, 2012 11:56 AM.

Blog Entry 8: Response to Consuming Kids was the previous entry in this blog.

Blog Entry 11: Response to Kilbourne Video is the next entry in this blog.

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