Television Ads For Children


Advertising is a method of marketing designed to persuade people to take a specific action or to keep doing so. It could be done for commercial purposes or to garner political or ideological support. Advertising in modern times usually makes use of the mass media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet. Television Ads for children can then be defined as the form of television based advertising that is targeted at children.

Historical Growth of Ads for Children

As early as 1874, The British Parliament made an enactment designed to protect children from being exploited by commercial marketers. This was done to protect children from being enticed to buy products and, hence, become indebted. This shows that ads for children had existed for long and along with this, concerns over the effects of these adverts on children and their somewhat grave implications. However, several developments spurred a growth in advertisements targeted at children. The advent and the widespread adoption of television was a major factor. The emergence of cable television caused a tremendous growth in children adverts with programmers developing whole channels for children viewing and in the process creating endless opportunities for commercial interests to take advantage through children adverts. The advent of the Internet further widened opportunities for children adverts. Research has shown that majority of American children have television sets in their rooms, effectively privatizing children viewing. These two trends have occasioned tremendous growth in children adverts with statistics showing that children have access to 40,000 TV commercials annually and advertisers spending more than twelve billion US dollars on these ads for children.

What are the Key Issues against TV ads for Children?

The major issues against TV ads for children border on children’s cognitive powers and the appropriateness of these adverts especially with respect to their potential to mislead children to undesirable conclusion or harmful actions and behaviour or the formation of bad habits which could mar their lives and affect their future. Two cognitive aspects are necessary for any individual to comprehend an advert. Firstly, the viewer has to be able to differentiate commercial from non-commercial content which most children aged below 4 and 5 cannot do consistently. Secondly, they would have to be able to discern the persuasive aspect of these adverts which children below 7 to 8 years cannot do. It is as yet unclear at what age children definitely develop these two aspects of cognitive power, more research is needed in this area.


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