The Negative Impact of Targeted Advertising on Adolescents and Children

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At the current time advertising can be represented in many ways - as a business, a fundamental ingredient of entrepreneurship or as an alternative way of communicating (William F. 2004). Originating from ancient times, its main purpose is to sell a product. William F. (2004, 6) claims that “every consumer is exposed to hundreds or even thousands of advertisements every day”. We view advertisements everywhere: on TV, banners, Web-sites, in magazines, newspapers, on sport events or even printed on tea cups, and all this is done with an aim to attract our attention. However, there are some advertisements which are targeted on a particular group of people, depending on age, sex, interests or even religion. These advertisements are defined as targeted. Companies like McDonald`s, Calvin Klein, Victoria`s Secret and Coca-Cola successfully practice targeted commercials, selling apparel, fast-food, perfume, intimates and other products.

For decades, targeted advertisement directed to children and teenagers was a somewhat controversial issue. Every year young people are exposed to 40,000 advertisements on television only, not counting number of advertisements on the Internet or on billboards. This exposure could be responsible for excess weight in children and consumption of alcohol and tobacco by teenagers (Strasburger 2001). Despite existent positive effects of targeted advertisements, negative impacts significantly outweigh them, and it is clear that targeted advertising carries noticeable harm for children`s education, health, psychology and social life. This essay will evaluate impact of targeted advertising on children and adolescents considering its possible positive and negative effects. Which include obesity and ‘sexualization’ ...

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