The average child is exposed to more than 40,000 television commercials a year. My focus is devoted primarily to the examination of television advertising for three reasons. Firstly, marketers who seek children for commercial purposes rely primarily on television because it is the easiest and most effective media for reaching large numbers of children nationwide. Secondly, television has an impact on children at much earlier ages than printed media can achieve, largely because textual literacy does not develop until many years after children have become regular television viewers. And thirdly, much is known about how children understand and are influenced by television advertising, while almost no evidence is available in the public domain regarding how children respond to advertising in new media environments such as the Internet. In the following sections, I will review what is known about the nature of children's exposure to advertising, before dealing with children's ability to recognize and defend against advertising messages, and in a third and last part I will expose the effects of advertising on children. With the globalization of mass media, the style of consumerism associated with modern industrialized societies of the western world has spread all around the planet. Young people can thus be recognized as a unique all-important market in their own right. Interest in young people really began with the baby boom generation after the second world war.
[...] But as we already know, on one hand children under the age of seven years focus more on how something looks than what it is said about it and thus cannot take benefit of this method; and on the other hand it has not been established whether media literacy training actually moderates the persuasive impact of the advertisements once children are away from the training. Bibliography Barrie Gunter and Adrian Furnham, “Children as Consumers”, London and New York Brian Young, “Does Food Advertising Influence Children's Food Choices? [...]
[...] However, these studies are most of all qualitative studies for several reasons: “Preschool children cannot read and cannot complete a written questionnaire Questionnaires of a certain length require great patience on the part of the child, so neither telephone interviews nor personal interviews are suitable Depending on the child's age, her/his vocabulary the type of questions that can be asked Small children, in particular, find it difficult to comprehend several different types of scales Flemming Hansen (2002:12), Children, consumption, advertising and media, Copenhagen Business school press Capacity to differentiate programmes and advertisements Children must acquire two types of information in order to understand the messages in advertisements. [...]
[...] McNeal (2004), Chinese children's attitudes towards television advertising: truthfulness and liking, International Journal of Advertising, WARC, Vol No In sum, even if the impact may be indirect, television commercials targeted at children are very effective and accomplish their goal of promoting product sales. The “parent-child” conflict The second effect of the influence of advertising on children's desire for products is the parent–child conflict that emerges when refusals occur in response to children's purchase attempts. Parents obviously cannot accept all purchase requests triggered by television advertising, given the volume of commercials that the average child sees. [...]
[...] According to an article of the Advertising and Marketing to children's journal, three quarters of children demands for products in Malaysia are for advertised products on television (Noor Hasmini A. Ghani Osman M. Zain Malaysian Children's Attitudes Towards Television Advertising, Vol Issue WARC). This pattern can be observed in different countries. Furthermore, if we compare families from China, Japan, England, or the United States we will find the same relationship between the amount of television children watch and their product-purchase requests. [...]
[...] Finally, we must point out that this understanding is linked to the development of the child's cognitive capabilities, and heavy viewers of television are in no way better than their same-aged counterparts at recognizing the persuasive intent of television advertising. III) Effects of advertising on children The impacts of television advertising on young children are numerous. For example, a cereal advertisement may have the immediate effect of increasing product consumption and the product-purchase, but it may also contribute to create a misperception about suitable eating habits or even create conflicts with parents. [...]
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