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School, family and church all have an effect on teenagers, but nothing will ever measure up to the effect that advertising has on our nation’s youth. The advertisements target our youth by way of radio, television and newspaper. Advertisers use special tactics to persuade youth to buy their products.
With the ever growing world of mass media becoming more accessible to children, we must realize the effect advertising has on the youth of today. Multiple television sets are commonplace in today’s homes. “Today, at least one television set is in 98.2% of American households.” (Television Bureau of Advertising, 2001) Television viewing is no longer a family activity. “Fifty-six percent of thirteen to seventeen year olds have a television set in their bedrooms.” (Gentile & Walsh, 2002) Advertising reaches more and more people every year.
Children spend more time watching television than any other activity except sleeping. “By age 18, the average American teenager will have spent more time watching television-25, 000 hours-than learning in the classroom.” (American Academy of Pediatrics) Children are also bombarded by ads every day through television, radio, and print. Advertisers now focus their ads more heavily towards children and teens than adults. Many ads that are “adult” ads are now appealing to younger people by having young attractive people in the advertisements.
Television is the fastest growing market with advertising. It has grown so quickly because the message can appeal to the eye, the ear, and the mind. Television ads are quick, persuasive, and enticing. The advertising and marketing budgets aimed at children approached $12 billion dollars. “Four hours of television programming contain about 100 ads.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999) The cost of owning a television has dropped, therefore making ads reach more people than ever before.
Radio advertising has always profited well in the United States for many reasons. Radio is very cheap and effective to a certain point. Radio does not have the visual aspects that television has but it can contain catchy phrases or jingles. Radio is better than television in the aspect of targeting and audience. Many radio stations have local advertisements to appe...

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...wn on that station. Parents can set the v-chip ratings to suit the age group of their children, so only the acceptable maturity rating television stations will appear on the screen.
Many steps made by the government have helped the screening of inappropriate material to youth. Technologies such as v-chip, parental controls, and television age ratings help to a certain extent but media will always search for new ways to influence young Americans.
Television is the most effective way to advertise in most cases but certainly not the only way. The cheap, appealing, and accessible advertising through the internet has been growing every year.
“Evidence about the effectiveness of this advertising has come mainly from industry reports. Five recent reports conclude that internet advertisements build brands (i.e., increase advertisement awareness, brand awareness, brand image, or intent to purchase). These studies suggest that size, use of interactive elements (such as flash or DHTML), and advertisement position increase branding” (Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2002).]
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