The Negative Effects of Advertising on Children

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What are some the implications media is having on the youth of today? Are parents competing with sophisticated physiologically designed media to keep their children healthy and safe? How and why does advertisement influence the social, physical, cognitive, and moral development of young children? The major influence in the social construct of moral and cognitive development of an individual is the family. Due to the influences on the youth of today, parents need to be more aware, and combat the effects of advertising on children.

“There are twelve billion dollars spent annually on ads directed at children” (Dittmann, 2004). These advertisements target young, impressionable minds, capture the attention of the child and imprint an ideal or message. While watching advertisements, a child develops a like or dislike for an activity or product. The strength of the desire is proportional to exposure. Desire creates action and action creates sales. I observed this principle with a sibling, my younger brother Eron. When a General Electric commercial came on television he, would turn and be mystified by the music and dancing of the actors. Around the age of eight, he expressed a very strong opinion that General Electric products are superior to other products. At this stage in his development, he did not have the cognitive ability to think abstractly to weigh all of the aspects associated with what makes a product of quality.

Children’s exposure to subliminal messages occurs daily and throughout their life. The media conditions and manipulates the developing mind. Without the parents’ permission or even their knowledge, the media makes lifestyle decisions for our children. Advertising Moguls, without regard for our childre...

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...has no content relative to ongoing life. The line between real life and fantasy is often extremely thin and not discernible to the naive and immature brain of a developing child. Television time, and media time, should be limited and monitored (Valley). Parents should aggressively monitor the content of the media that we allow in the home.

Regulation of the tobacco and alcohol industries is mandatory, to warn users of their products potential risk. Advertisers should be required to do the same. Advertisers could develop a comprehensive education program, as the tobacco industry has developed, directed toward informing parents of the potential risks of allowing children to view media content. Our educators, professionals, and culture at large should demand regulation of media content. Until this happens turn it off, unplug it, spend time with our children.

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