The Dangerous Effects of Advertising on Youth

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… and Why Kids and Advertising Don’t Mix

Take a seat with your children in front of the television sometime, if you’re not already aware of just how much advertising is geared to kids then you’re in for a shock. What are the dangerous effects of advertising on youth? Not only are all the television shows riddled with product placements, but the advertising between skits is 100% targeted to young minds.

From lunchbox treats and new toys to family vacations to DisneyLand, every sellable second has been bought by a big business trying to hook your kids on their latest product. Marketers have long known that kids influence billions of dollars of spending each year, and they are directing more of their marketing to them every quarter.

Marketing to kids is big business, and millions of dollars of research have gone into ensuring everything that marketers do is highly effective.

How Marketers Target Our Kids:

  • Well-loved children’s characters on packaging
  • Toys bundled with products
  • Coloring in and drawing templates on or in packaging
  • Mazes and other games on packaging
  • Secret codes to unlock online games and prizes
  • Sponsored “free” children events

You’ve got plenty of need to be concerned with how much influence strangers are having over your children’s buying habits. Discussing marketing and advertising with your children is an important talk every parent should have.

Not only should you outline the differences between what is “promised” and “reality”, you should encourage responsible consumption and money management.

Today’s television advertisements are looking more and more like TV shows. They are running for longer, and have a more involved story line. It’s easy for young minds to mistake them for part of their favorite show.

There are a number of different types of advertising marketers use during children’s shows:

  • Wannabe ads – where everyone is having more fun because of a certain product
  • Famous people ads – if the world’s best basket ball player uses this brand then so should you!
  • Cozy ads – make you feel happy and safe inside, these ads really appeal to children who feel detached from their parents
  • Fact ads – scientifically proven, and 9 out of 10 doctors agree you’ll make big business a lot of money if you buy this product …
  • One-time offers – playing on scarcity these ads encourage viewers to rush out and buy it before it runs out!

Given the constant harassment of advertising messages all day long, it’s no wonder children are influencing buying decisions. It’s important to remind children that advertising doesn’t always live up to what it claims to be.

Many poor quality products are sold by the millions because marketers got the message right to the right people – kids. Learning to responsibly use your money is part of growing up and needs to be an ongoing lesson in today’s chaotic world of advertising.

If you want to find out more about teaching your children to see through advertising smoke screens and be wise with their cash, then check out Fran Christie’s debut book “101 Money Tips for Kids and Parents” here.