Advertisements affect children negatively. Responsible parents know to monitor children’s viewing. Luckily, ideal programming for children is now available and abundant. Programs are directed to meet children’s intellectual and emotional needs, leaving most at ease. But what about the time in between shows? This time is normally utilized by corporations to promote products.
Although many commercials seem harmless, one question must be asked, “How do these small, easily influenced minds perceive these three-minute intervals?” Studies have proved that advertising can have damaging effects on young minds. Advertisements affect children negatively in many ways. Intake of this repetitive and persuading program can have many psychological repercussions.
Children do not understand advertisements
Children are just now figuring out the world. They cannot grasp such complexities as marketing and consumerism. When a six-year-old is heavily engaged in a favorite cartoon and the screen changes to a commercial, often the child does not delineate between the actual programming and the advertisement. This causes problems with cognition of the message being communicated.
Kids do not understand who is communicating the message. Therefore, the young viewer is unable to perceive that he or she is the intended target for a sale. Commercials are aimed at making the child viewers desire to attain the given product.
Advertisements affect children in many different ways. Slogans like “every child needs one”, or “join your friends” communicate a message that ownership is necessary to “fit in”. Lack of comprehension can cause children to associate ownership of the product with self-worth leaving them with a feeling of inferiority.
Advertisements are not honest accounts of the products.
In many cases, the actual potential for the product is exaggerated. For example, a commercial shows a small child operating a remote-controlled plane. The child manipulates the plane to perform amazing tasks such as flips in the air and landing perfectly on water. The child viewing the commercial has an expectation of what he will be able to do with the toy. The child does not realize that in actuality the plane was shot several takes to get the perfect effect and operated by an adult. When the child obtains the plane, he cannot do the tricks shown on TV. The result of this scenario is the child feels like he is inadequate compared to others. Think of the consequences of this scenario repetitiously over the course of adolescence.
Products from Amazon.com
Price: $20.40Was: $49.99
Price: $15.99Was: $21.99
Price: $20.99Was: $29.99
Price: $9.13Was: $9.99
A pattern of misconception is formed
After accumulative exposure to advertisements, what pattern is formed? Children often communicate their desires for the advertised product to their caregiver. Whether the item is purchased or not can vary due to economic circumstances. In low-income homes, this leads to disappointment. Further unfulfilled requests for advertised products can lead to frustration in both parent and child.
In financially stable households the products are more likely to be purchased upon request. This cycle is also unhealthy. Child psychologist Allen D. Kanner stated, “The materialistic shift happening in our society is having an enormous impact and major influence on children’s lives that is highly psychological in nature. It needs to be the focus on our profession right now”.
The average child views 20,000 commercials a year.
What are we communicating with the children of today by not being aware of their perception and feelings due to these advertisements? A parent or caregiver wouldn’t allow a stranger to approach a child on the street to solicit them. You wouldn’t allow a stranger in your home to influence your child. Well, this is already happening on television, radio, and internet. This is definitely here to stay, so we just need to adapt.
What we can do to minimize the impact advertising has on our kids
Discuss the concepts behind commercials with children and help them understand who is communicating with them and why. Advertisements affect children. You may not notice how but children absorb information like a sponge. Explain to them that they are a target for a sale.
Ask them to explain why they want the item? For more articles and information on parenting click here.