The Exploitation Of Children In Television Advertisements

Essay by A PerriUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 1996

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Across America in the homes of the rich, the not-so-rich, and in poverty-stricken

homes and tenements, as well as in schools and businesses, sits advertisers' mass marketing

tool, the television, usurping freedoms from children and their parents and changing

American culture. Virtually an entire nation has surrendered itself wholesale to a medium

for selling. Advertisers, within the constraints of the law, use their thirty-second

commercials to target America's youth to be the decision-makers, convincing their parents

to buy the advertised toys, foods, drinks, clothes, and other products. Inherent in this

targeting, especially of the very young, are the advertisers; fostering the youth's loyalty to

brands, creating among the children a loss of individuality and self-sufficiency, denying

them the ability to explore and create but instead often encouraging poor health habits. The

children demanding advertiser's products are influencing economic hardships in many

families today. These children, targeted by advertisers, are so vulnerable to trickery, are so

mentally and emotionally unable to understand reality because they lack the cognitive

reasoning skills needed to be skeptical of advertisements.

Children spend thousands of

hours captivated by various advertising tactics and do not understand their subtleties.

Though advertisers in America's free enterprise system are regulated because of societal

pressures, they also are protected in their rights under freedom of expression to unfairly

target America's youth in order to sell to their parents, regardless of the very young's

inability to recognize the art of persuasion.

In the free enterprise system, the advertiser's role is to persuade consumers to buy

their products/services. They are given a product/service and are required to use their best

creative effort to make this product desirable to the intended audience (Krugman 37).

Because of this calculated and what many deem as manipulative way of enticing the target

audience, the advertising industry is...