Why Should the Government Forbid Advertising to Children?
In the modern world, children from the earliest years have access to smartphones, tablets, laptops, and a large number of other modern technologies. Despite the fact that some people believe that access to modern technologies and the internet can be extremely harmful to children, the main danger lies in what children see on the internet, and not the technology itself. Modern computers, smartphones, and tablets have parental controls that allow parents to create restrictions for children so that they do not have access to inappropriate content.
But the only aspect parents cannot control is advertising, which is on most sites on the internet, on YouTube, and practically all other platforms. Given the fact that children do not have critical thinking and do not understand the principles of marketing, they should not be exposed to advertising and the government should restrict advertising to children by law.
Statistics on Advertising and Children
According to Yankelovich, a market research firm, each person sees more than 5,000 advertisements every day, that is, people are always confronted with advertising and cannot get rid of it (Story). Moreover, these studies were carried out almost 12 years ago, so it can be said with confidence that with the growth of the internet, each user is much more prone to advertising than before. Despite the fact that children spend significantly less time on the internet, even three-year-old children watch YouTube every day, which contains a large number of advertisements. Indeed, the leadership of Alphabet and YouTube understand how serious this problem is, so they gradually struggle with inappropriate content and advertising for children (Ong). But despite the efforts of a private company, the government is not doing anything to protect children from intrusive advertising on children’s products.
Manipulation of Children’s Purchasing Decisions
Moreover, it is extremely important to take into account the fact that when companies target children as an audience, children are not final buyers, since they do not have the money to make purchases. Unlike adults, children do not know the value of money and they cannot make critical decisions about the appropriateness of purchases. It is much easier for marketers to attract the attention of children than adults, and, unfortunately, they use it and try to sell as much as possible. Due to the fact that parents often cannot refuse their children or it is easier for them to make concessions, they make senseless purchases that may not have any value.
Political Implications of Advertising Targeted at Children
Finally, modern advertising for children can have political overtones. Unlike adults, children have limited knowledge about politics, and therefore absorb all the information they receive from TV or the internet. Marketers often use children for marketing purposes, in order to transfer through them some information for adults (Olson and Thjømøe). Marketers can use a cartoon format to appeal to children and inspire them with various political thoughts.
It must be said that advertising for children has no value either for children or for their parents; advertising for children has value only for marketers who use children to make their parents spend money. Due to the fact that children do not have sufficient cognitive abilities, they cannot think critically, which often leads to unreasonable and senseless purchases. Finally, marketers use children to promote various political thoughts that have both short-term and long-term negative consequences. It is because advertising for children has only a negative impact that governments should work with private companies to minimize advertising for children on the internet, on television, and on the street.
Olson, Erik L., and Hans Mathias Thjømøe. “The Relative Performance of TV Sponsorship versus Television Spot Advertising.” European Journal of Marketing, vol 46, no. 11/12, 2012, pp. 1726-1742. Emerald, doi:10.1108/03090561211260068. Accessed 19 Jan 2019.
Ong, Thuy. “Youtube Pulls Ads on 2 Million Inappropriate Children’s Videos.” The Verge, 2017, https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/28/16709214/youtube-autocomplete-search-function-child-exploitation-ads.
Story, Louise. “Anywhere the Eye Can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad.” The New York Times, 2007, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15everywhere.html.
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