In the modern world, we all affected by media. The media appears as one of the most influential power in the life of a young generation. We receive a lot of content every day from TV screens, either useful or empty, important or futile. While the children are growing up, advertising is a powerful tool of negative influence on their minds. Children are the easiest target for advertisers because they are not old enough to sort content which media provides. Their minds can be captured by advertisements easily. At the same time, television can be entertaining and educational, can open new prospectives for children. However, they are mostly learning negative things from TV. It can affect children’s behavior, lifestyle, and way of thinking. In according to the research of Kaiser Family Foundation Study (J.Rideout, F.Roberts, & G.Foehr, 2010), children aged 7-11 spend 16 hours a week in front of TV. The main negative areas of advertisement are tobacco and alcohol, food and toys industry.
Tobacco & alcohol advertising provoke desire to try
American media has always been full of commercials of tobacco products. For instance, cowboys were always portraying in advertising on TV as smokers of cigars or cigarettes. In addition, a lot of popular brands of cigarettes were produced in the US. So, to maintain national production advertisers created commercial towards this. Recently, the number of tobacco advertising on TV screens decreased in accordance with the fact that major anti-smoking organizations, such as American Cancer Society, American Heart Association continue to struggle against them. Alcohol advertising is an important issue as well. Children are easy to catch beer brand names or another sort of alcohol. During NHL or NFL live games, there are usually short commercial blocks of alcohol, mostly beer during game breaks. “Bud Light “is beer brand with the most recognizable and popular advertising in the US. It is the official sponsor of NFL. They are always portraying their production as a part of successful watching of sports. “Watching your favorite team football game? Do not forget to grab a beer before” this is how usually a company creates own slogans to attract customers. (“Bud Light Commercials & Ads – Videos”, 2016).Children may like to watch a football game; however, they see alcohol commercials also and unconsciously memorize brands, what can be the reason of interest when reaching brand in life. ”Ooh, I saw Bud Light beer commercial on TV. It is so popular! It must be good.” (Wallace,2016). That is how children’s brain may work. This is the part of the modeling effect. Besides, children are easy can be affected by cigarettes commercials. So, children take risks to be addictive in the future. The more they see cigarettes on screens, the more desirable they become for them. Also, since tobacco production is always prohibited for children to buy or try, it is associated with something negative but wanted, because forbidden fruit is always sweet. The modeling effect cannot be ignored here. This applies when children try to imitate in life certain behavior or action taken from the screens. The most harmful ideas which cross children’s minds during modeling effect are: behavior in media must be attended in life, must be retained and encoded into memory.
Food commercials causes health problems
The problem of fast food in the US is still very relevant. In according with American Heart Association, about 65-68% of children are overweight in America, what causes heart problems and others (“Overweight in Children”,2016). Children are the most appropriate category of society for advertisers. Due to many food additives and rich taste, fast food seems to be very delicious for them. Because of massive advertising of fast food, child obesity has reached critical proportions in the USA (“Childhood Obesity Facts | Overweight & Obesity | CDC”, 2016). McDonald’s and Burger King regularly produce television advertising aimed at children. They are two companies who are affected children more than others by constant advertising of Happy meals.They pay children’s attention to benefits of visiting the place, such as having a toy in kid’s meal, providing a special room for a birthday party. Toys are present in 69 percent of children commercials. The sound in these advertisements is mainly connected with toys or cartoons characters. (“Fast-Food TV Advertising Aimed at Kids”, 2013). In general,on the picture we can see that American kids aged 7-11 watch a lot of fast food advertising (Richter,2013).
Recently, all major fast food chain in the United stated decided to create healthy food commercials aimed at children in terms of the fight against obesity. Advertising was presenting on children channels “Cartoon Network” and “Nickelodeon” in the period of 2011-2012. The research has shown that about half of children did not recognize milk portrayed in McDonald’s and Burger King commercials. In addition, only 10 percent of children identified that sliced apples in a Burger King advertising were apples, not fries. The advertising of sweets is also an issue. It seems a very controversial pleasure. On one hand, the sweets associated with something positive and all children like them. On another hand, promotion of chocolate and candy brands through TV contribute formation of caries and decrease general condition of children’s teeth. Thus, food advertising towards kids on American television is still a topic which requires solutions and changes.
Advertisers in America have always carefully monitored the intensity of the release of new toys on the market. Immediately they create colorful eye-catching commercials on kids. Barbie, Lego, Transformers, Minions, plush toys are always interesting and attractive for kids. Advertisers try to make toy advertising brighter and more colorful, as it possible. The bad thing is toy commercials have a poor effect on child development. It does not teach children anything. It is more entertainment in accordance with special effects and sounds. Boys oriented commercials are mostly portrayed as something heavy, massive, when it is guns or tanks toys advertising. Basically, it is always accompanied by rock music and sounds of destruction. Such tactics can cause a desire to destroy, to break something. At the same time, girls oriented commercials are portrayed in another way. Barbie commercials are the most sensational and effective on girls. There is a too much pink color which appears everywhere during the commercial. Lips, hair, dresses, tables, and chair-everything portrays in pink color. Often, girls want to behave like a Barbie doll in advertising. However, there is a stereotype that Barbie dolls are foolish and can’t think about anything but beauty and themselves. Unconsciously emulating behavior from TV screens, kids put themselves in an awkward position in society in according with a stereotype of Barbie dolls. Another reason is that advertisers are manipulated adults through their children. When children watch advertising they always want parents to buy a toy. Because of their young age, they do not understand the feasibility of buying a toy, is it worth it or not. Per a strong desire have something that saw on the screen, children begin to ask their parents for toy and are annoying. Finally, parents agree to spend money and buy the toy for kids and confirm that the purpose of advertisers reached.
Finally, there is a total nonprogram content time by CAs, PSAs, and TV Promotions for the most watchable American cable channels and time slots (Powell, Szczypka, Chaloupka,2016).
1.Richter, F. (2013, November 14). U.S. kids watch hundreds of fast food ads per year [Digital image]. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/chart/1627/fast-food-advertising/
6. Powell, L., Szczypka, G., & Chaloupka, F. (2016). Exposure to Food Advertising on Television Among US Children. The Jama Network. Retrieved 4 December 2016, from http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/570536