Although advertisements help us to become aware of the products in the market, they have their negative effects also. Children today are exposed to all types of advertisements on the various media like the television, print media and internet as well. In fact, everyone is bombarded by advertisements everywhere nowadays. Children in general are more susceptible and get easily influenced by advertisements.
Children are Defenseless
Children are innocent and not so mature. When a marketer advertises a product on television, they do not understand that it is a business and their main aim is to sell. They do not understand that advertisers try to push their products and market in such a way that children want to buy it. Children take everything at face value and believe without a doubt the messages in the advertisements. Advertisements are made in such a way as to attract the attention of children. Children do not understand it to be marketing strategy. Children are an extremely vulnerable target audience and get easily carried away.
Junk Food Advertising and Children
Research has shown that junk food advertisements influence children greatly leading to an increased demand for junk food by children. When children watch young adults in good shape eating junk foods in the advertisements they assume that it is good for the health. They do not know that junk food is not good for health. They are unaware of the fact that junk food does not contain nutritional value. They may even think that by eating these junk foods they might become like the thin and fit models in the advertisements.
A research conducted has shown that children increased their consumption of junk foods after seeing these advertisements. They are seen to be so influenced by these ads that they almost doubled their consumption of these unhealthy snacks and foods.
In a study conducted they exposed children to candy commercials. It was seen that those children who were exposed to the candy commercials were highly influenced. In fact, these children chose candy over fruits as snacks. They preferred candy rather than a healthy food like fruits.
When the commercials were eliminated and the children watched them less it had a positive effect. It encouraged them to pick the fruits over the candy.
Recent statistics show that obesity of children under the age of five is increasing at a high rate. Childhood obesity is on the rise and one of the main reasons for this has been seen as excessive consumption of fast foods and junk foods.
Not surprisingly, it has been seen that childhood diabetes is also on the rise.
Resulting in the Nag Factor
Children may pester their parents for the products advertised. They may insist on a particular pair of branded jeans only and be against the other brands of clothing in the store. They may also insist on living a life as portrayed in advertisements.
Children may make excessive demands on their parents for the products they see in the advertisements. At times, they cry, pinch, pull and will not keep quiet till the parents purchase the product. Some parents who cannot control their children may give in to the tantrums of children left with no choice.
When children see these advertisements it gives a wrong impression on their young minds and they start giving a lot of importance to materialistic joys.
What Parents Can Do?
Nowadays, with so much openness and exposure in media and commercials parents are often worried about what all their children are watching.
It has been noticed that children are often able to remember messages targeted towards adults also. Kids remember the content in advertisements aimed at adults.
A few countries have banned marketing and advertising targeted at children below the age of twelve. One country has banned advertising of toys before 10 p.m. as it is at this time that children are mostly awake.
Previously advertisers marketed children’s products towards parents. Parents were their target audience for these products. But nowadays, marketers aim their messages directly at children. Advertisements are made specifically in such a way that they draw the attention of children. The marketing messages are aimed directly at the children.
Parents should teach their children of how to be critical of ads and how to become less influenced by the messages in the ads. Parents need to teach their children the importance and value of money.
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