Effects of Advertising on Children

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  • 0:04 Children & Advertising
  • 0:34 Advertising's Intent
  • 1:13 Brand Preference
  • 1:48 Negative Effects
  • 3:00 Positive Effects
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Are children really all that susceptible to advertisements? This lesson gives you examples of its possible negative effects, like parent-child conflicts, and examines whether advertising may have any positive effects on children and adolescents.

Children & Advertising

Growing up, you most likely saw tons of commercials for cereal, toys, and video games - even cigarette ads. Did you ever want to buy or eat something because you saw it on television or on a billboard? You almost certainly did.

It's been said that advertising often targets children because they're more susceptible to being influenced by those things when compared to adults. Is that true, though? In this lesson, we'll discuss whether advertising really influences children or not, and what positive and negative effects it may have on them.

Advertising's Intent

Let's answer the most pressing issue. Does advertising actually affect children? The answer is yes. Children younger than eight are essentially defenseless against ads and commercials because they don't understand their intent. In general, children can't comprehend the concept of something being sold to them with an underlying intent, and many times they take what they hear and see literally. If an advertisement says the new robot is the best toy ever, kids may believe it to be true. Time to go pester mom and dad to buy the best toy ever!

Due to their susceptibility, countries like Sweden and Norway have forbidden advertisements to be directed at children younger than 12 years of age.

Brand Preference

Additionally, research has indicated that advertising usually achieves its intended effect of establishing a brand preference in a child's mind. Children can easily recall the content of the ads they see and they may begin to prefer one product over another with as little as a single exposure to an ad. Further exposure to the same ad or a similar one will only strengthen their preference for a product or service aimed at children.

Not surprisingly, this preference also affects parents' purchasing decisions. Since children aren't the ones actually buying the product on most occasions, that's the end goal of the ad, isn't it?

Negative Effects

As you can imagine, most of advertising's effects on children are negative. Research has indicated that ads affect a number of areas, and negatively so. One area is the parent-child relationship. Ads targeting children may increase parent-child conflicts if the parent denies something a child wants to get.

Many ads are created by fast food and junk food companies that target children's eating habits. Increased consumption of everything from candy to snacks and fast foods has been noted in children as a result of such ads, thereby increasing a child's risk for becoming obese or developing diabetes, along with many other health problems.

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