Advertising’s Effect on Children

Well after the poll that I think 8 people voted on, this topic was the most favored. Now since the topic doesn’t really specify a negative or a positive effect, I choose to focus on the negative effect. So…here it goes.

Advertising has a rather negative effect on children in today’s age. Commercials, billboards, magazines, etc. all have some sort of effect on the person looking at it. In the modern age, advertising as a whole has become a lot racier than it used to be. They’ve become more capable of portraying things that are relatively hazardous to be something that’s good or needed or “cool”. The bad thing about all the new type of advertising is that it has become more accessible to children via the internet, television programs/commercials, and out in public through the use of magazines or billboards. Companies are beginning to take more liberties with how they advertise a product and, in most cases, it’s giving something negative a positive skin. The bottom line here that can’t be argued is advertising affects children in negative ways and I believe that it affects them in positive ways less and less.
Mainly, I think the advertisements today are slowly teaching children that there’s a certain “image” they need to follow or be a part of. Basically, “this is what you need to use, what you need to wear, what you need to look like, and what you need to act like in order to be part of the cool crowd”. So, more or less bandwagon techniques are being used more and more. The funny thing is that pretty much any advertisement for pretty much any product is doing the same exact thing. Yeah, it gets that company a sale, so who cares, right? Nike shoes, for example, always have some person doing all these athletic things like jumping really high in the air, or someone that’s running a marathon, or something of that sort and it always looks ‘really cool’. Basically, those are just the absolute bestĀ  shoes you can possibly have, and children see this and suddenly they feel like they need to have them to fit in. The same goes for any name-brand clothing item.
This technique holds true with every other item on the market right now. iPad, iPod Touch, Droids, Kinect, Wii, television sets, headphones, games, everything. It’s teaching children to think they need to have the best of everything there is on the market, which slowly causes them the be spoiled by their parents that buy them what they want. Then when the next advancement comes out, suddenly they need to have and what it replaced suddenly becomes a pile of dog shit. Advertising is causing kids to have no regard for the little, simple things of life and it makes them want to have the best of the best.
Girls are effected by advertising when it comes to the magazines that have all these models in them and advice columns for how to behave to make friends or other stupid shit like that. Makeup ads are teaching young girls that they just absolutely need to look great on the outside to get noticed, and now it’s becoming about how long your eyeliner stays. Young girls see these types of ads and strive to conform to them, which I think is causing somewhat of a lack of self-worth.
This type of advertising is everywhere, really. A majority of it is aimed at adults, but little children see it as well and watch as their parents fall into the same trap of buying this and that because the ads make it look like the best thing since sliced bread, so the children follow suit.

Now we all have to admit it here; we’re all guilty of wanting to haveĀ  something because an advertisement made it look like the best thing in the world. But as we grow older, we begin to develop a sense of what’s needed versus what’s wanted and if it can be afforded or not. Children, on the other hand have no knowledge on any of that, they just automatically think that they need whatever it is and have no worry about how obtainable it is. I think because there’s the lack of knowing what’s needed versus what’s actually wanted in children, they become more susceptible to growing that mentality of “this is the best thing out there right now and I obviously can’t live happily without it.”
To make the issue even worse, parents know the value of the dollar. When a child takes interest in the newest name-brand technology, for example, and they want their dad to buy it for them but the dad knows it’s too expensive and he settles for a generic brand that’s close to the same as the name-brand. So they give that generic to the child and bam, it’s the end of the world because it doesn’t say ‘iPhone’ or something like that. So not only are the advertisements teaching children that they need the best of the best, it’s also teaching them to settle for nothing less than the best of the best.
It’s just all negatively impacting the children I think and setting them up for a rude-awakening later in life when they can’t learn to differentiate between necessities and desires.

To make matters worse, the advertising just gets better and better at doing what it does, which causes the negative effect to become stronger and harder to avoid.
So how far is too far when it comes to advertising? All these companies are doing what they can to make things look needed and that there’s nothing better. Does parenting come into play?

Tell me what you think about it. This was somewhat difficult for me since I’m not as in tune with advertising as I used to be, but I’d like to hear what your views are. Is the effect of advertising good or bad on the children?

Advertisements