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With increase in technology and changing lifestyles, television is constantly used by companies as advertising tools. The shift to the use of television has increased because they can reach a greater number of people and it is more influential than the traditional billboards, newspaper and magazines.
With increase in TV channels and advocacy for media freedom, so does increase in lack of decency in the programs and advertisement the sets bring to American society. Children on the other hand are watching these adverts; their character and behaviours are shaped by what they see, listen and observe in adverts (Epstein 109) this paper analyzes negative effects of advertisement on children.
Children learning and Television
Infants and children are constantly learning. They learn what they see adults and their peer’s do, talk and what they watch and hear. It shapes their character, personality and influences how they perceive the world they are living. Uncensored advertisements expose a child to issues that are far beyond his/her age. This creates a mind of “I want to know” attitude which may make the child practice some things that are either computer generated or beyond their reach. These adverts decrease life patience of the child.
Advert that promotes alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking can persuade a child to start using these products. For example an advert of beer is likely to have a statement that shows it’s an important drink in one life.
This may persuade the child to try having beer at an early age. Such adverts may bring conflict with the parents; when the parents try to guide the child on the right way to follow, the child is left at cross roads on whom to believe, is it the TV advert or the parent? This brings a level of mistrust which falls negatively on the parents who spends minimal time with their children that the TV does (Nilsson 322).
Americans are facing a problem on how they can control adulthood and childhood obesity. The major contributor of obesity in the society is unhealthy eating and lack of exercises. Adverts are structured to persuade a person to use some products which they portray to be beneficial to target market segment. When advertising for fast food joints and junk foods, adverts has to fulfil their goal of persuasion. These adverts target children. Children are easily persuaded and they end up demanding for the advertised products.
They may do this from their parents or use their pocket monies to buy such junk foods. This increases the danger of being obese; this is dangerous to a child. When watching television, children are developing liking of a certain programs, which may be used to advertise some products, and prefer it instead of playing. The resultant is children who have not exercised and who are not socialized well. He has limited association with his peers a move that can lead to a child whose cognitive development is slow.
In adverts, successful people are portrayed doing something to capture the attention of the target market. Children may associate themselves with a certain persons used in adverts, but forget that for the person to reach where they are have worked for it. They may think that the person is living the flashy lifestyle portrayed for being say a model, slim or beautiful.
Then the children forget the virtues of hard work and start concentrating with such issues in anticipation that they will be successful like the advertiser they have in mind. This is not always the case. The result is children and society that is highly frustrated. The children have that is hungry for power, status and fame; but they are not working for it. This may result lazy children. Virtues like hard work which can lead a person to this height are ignored.
Some researchers have observed that watching television and adverts may influence language development of a child. This is so when the child tries to imitate the person making an advert. They try to talk and behave with the character they like. Watching so much stuff affects the developmental disorder part of the brains which results to a child with minimal concentration in life.
When adverts are made, they may reinforce gender differences. These are the adverts which seem to reinforce men and women differences. For example an advert that is aimed at promoting a certain dish washing machine is more likely to be brought by a smart looking woman assisted by the machine. This creates a mind in the child that the role of the woman in the family is in the kitchen.
The kinds of cars that are portrayed to be used by women are different from the models used by men. This creates a difference in the mind of the child where they believe that one gender; mostly the men are portrayed as the superior in the society (Gorn & RenÉe 962-987)
A number of adverts use modellers, people with status and celebrities to advertise some products. Children are likely to have these people as role models. As they try to imitate their role models, they develop behaviour of being spendthrifts. This is as they try to imitate what those models dress, walks and the make ups that they are putting.
Some of these products have been over priced for no apparent reason. When such behaviour is planted in children, it can have a long effect on the child and later life. Some adverts have indecent exposure to a child and may result to children being exposed to sex early which is not health.
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Marketing adverts targeting children directly are seen as targeting the vulnerable groups in the society. For example if the adverts are for example selling toys, the kids are more likely to embrace the product without much thought. This is creating a need that was not initially there. This may reduce the value that the child places on more important elements in its life like education (Anderson 446-450).
Technology has lead to better ways of advertising. TV’s have been used as an advertising tool replacing to a large extent the traditional means of advertising like billboards. Modern lifestyles are having both the parent working and TV is playing as an important tool in children socialization.
Children are constantly learning from what they hear and see, and thus their character and behaviour is to a large extent influenced by TV adverts negatively. They include the kind of role models that they take; they get exposed to adulthood behaviour at tender age. Indecent exposure and moulding characters that do not support strong values in children are given emphasis in some adverts to the disadvantage of a child.
Anderson, Daniel R., et al. “Effects of peer presence on preschool children’s television-viewing behavior.” Developmental Psychology 17.4 (1981): 446-453. PsycARTICLES. EBSCO. Web.
Gorn, Gerald J., and RenÉe Florsheim. “The Effects of Commercials for Adult Products on Children.” Journal of Consumer Research 11.4 (1985): 962-967. Business Source Complete. EBSCO. Web.
Epstein, Leonard H., et al. “Effects of decreasing sedentary behavior and increasing activity on weight change in obese children.” Health Psychology 14.2 (1995): 109-108. PsycARTICLES. EBSCO. Web.
Nilsson, Andreas, et al. “Correlates of objectively assessed physical activity and sedentary time in children: a cross-sectional study (The European Youth Heart Study).” BMC Public Health 9.(2009): 322. MEDLINE with Full Text. EBSCO. Web.