Free Essay: Advertising Directed at Children; Parents or Government’s Responsibility?
Advertising is a promotion method that supports the economy of many countries via campaign and trading of products and services to clients including children and adults. Product and marketing directed to children has in the past years increased tremendously and is an increasing interest on child clients. The flexibility of children’s income is one of the reasons behind the trend and how they influence the acquisition of their parents.
Additionally, there is an increase in the number of television networks, a fact that has led to reduced viewership of every channel. Social network platform as well as other digital networking facilities have also in the recent past offered new avenues effectively advertise to kids therefore, promoting a media space that flourishes for children, their facilities, products and services (Advertising Association).
The question as to who is responsible for regulation of advertisement content directed at children is the basis of this paper. Through thorough analysis of different books and articles, the paper will seek to prove that it is the parent’s responsibility to regulate what their children are exposed to as well as minimizing the amount of time children spend on TV and other electronic devices.
The role accountability and business limits, specifically when it comes to products adverts that are not ideal for children, will also be the focus of this paper.
Background Information on the Issue
Marketing is vital because of its role in driving the innovation of a product, brand competition and in ensuring economic growth. It also finances pluralistic and various media form that entertain adults and children. There are many delicate providers of media content and a lot of content for the kids. Such enterprises employ a substantial number of individuals who can benefit from the freedom to advertise to kids responsibly.
In the event where there is reduction in the form of new restriction on programming as well as editorial, the subscription charges becomes more detrimental to competition thus, putting the economy of the United States at a disadvantaged position compared to other evolving economies (Advertising Association 8).
The engagement of the US government in child advertisement regulation can be traced back to the times of Hebert Hoover in 1929, when he facilitated a White House Conference on Child Health and Protection. By the end of the conferences, it was acknowledged that children were self-regulating and has individual concerns which are also unique to them (Calvert 207). This report also counseled parents to allow their children to possess toys and personal equipment. This means that every kid should have a sleeping room.
The report also recommends that kids should go shopping and pick products of their own choice. Such experiences were aimed at creating a sense of personal dependency among the children and teaching the child that his or her character can be developed through things. The conference clearly altered the place of children in the American society. Kids became and are still leaders of the consumer market with the cost power that surpass that of adults.
The purchasing power of kids is intense directly and indirectly because they have ability to influence and to manipulate their guardians in their favor. Advertising directed at children is additionally not just concerned the kids’ products purchases but they affect other products in the market as well. The planned and unplanned outcome of advertisement is also currently a concern of many parents because of the impact they have on a child’s socialization (Calvert 208).
Supporting Evidence or Facts
The disapproval directed at parents for the nature of their irresponsibility on issues relating to their young ones is ideally rightly founded. Many kids display less or no effects of harmful advertisements. Such kids have good values instilled to them by their guardians. Even so, there is still competition among parents on a wide range of commercial entities that employ experts in psychology as well as sales and marketing fields to keep up with their marketing trends (Advertising Association 7).
This also means that parents have issues in influencing their children positively and advice to their kids in many cases of socialization that generate conflicting influence from the outside. The kids deserved and with freedom to wants is indeed a major contributor to the challenges that many parents experience with their kids.
Despite the challenges, parents still have a crucial role to play in content regulation in promotions directed at children and what the kids consume. The concerns of parents on issues and matters surrounding their kids are also a focus on the issues that would affect their future negatively.
Many of the concerns originate from advertisement and marketing. They also direct their attention on pragmatic business ensuring that their kids grow up to be reasonable individuals who are also healthier and fit (Advertisement Association 13). All these are additionally achievable via consumption of correct details and products during early growth and development stages.
The role of content regulation in advertisement cannot be left to the government entirely because they stand to lose revenues that are collected from companies targeting children as their prime clients. in as much as the government has a duty to protect its citizens from harm originating from other sectors, it is also true that there are advertisement aspects that the government exempts and can have a lasting impact in the minds of kids especially if they do not understand the intended message.
This also means that it is the parent’s sole responsibility to ensure kids are protected from any inappropriate content. They should also clarify and interpret the content their kids obtain from different forms of media (Calvert 213). Manipulation of the point of views of young people is also a major objective for many advertisements that target young children. These include image manipulation and fake news.
The situation is further heightened with endless bombarding images that define what perfection and beauty is supposed to be. In the end, many health related complications arising from stress and anxiety have increased among the children. Tobacco industry for example advertises its products in different media channels.
Despite the fact that many of the advertisements are directed at adults who intend to smoke, they also intentionally or unintentionally address children who are potential clients. Kids are known as the future of business and thus, such companies start exposing them to smoking at a tender age (Calvert 217).
The inability of a child to understand images or messages passed in advertisement could have a negative impact especially if literally taken. The government in such cases may not offer effective solutions and hence, it becomes the duty of a guardian to demonstrate to the kids how tobacco images and adverts are designed to manipulate them. This also involves dissemination of information with inappropriate concepts of adulthood, charm, freshness and loveliness.
The discussions may also include the objectives of tobacco businesses in child recruitment as future cigarette smokers (Calvert 218).
Research from the American Psychological Association (APA) discloses that kids below 8 years did not have ability to clearly understand televised promotion messages. For this reason, they are more likely to accept the adverts as precise, honest and impartial. Additionally, the studies reveal that kids have the ability to remember advertisement content that they have been repeatedly exposed to.
The particularities of the products affect the consumption desires of kids and it pressures their guardians as they decide what should be bought. This generates parent-child fights especially when the kid’s wishes are not met. The end result of such beliefs could be evident in harmful eating habits are reflected in obesity epidemic among the youth in America.
APA also argues that the efforts to reduce such occurrences are achievable through restriction of promotions targeted at children (Schor 112).
There is also increased concern in regard to adverts that target adults and pose risks to kids. Beer advertisements in football programs especially those of Guinness and Heineken are good examples of such promotions because they are showcased in programs that are widely viewed by kids across the globe. The promotions create brand familiarity among the kids therefore, encouraging positive attitudes towards alcohol consumption among the children of as early as 10 years (Ramsey 374).
Commercial promotions with content that showcase violent scenes for example video games and movies also promote the creation of a violent culture. This increases the possibility of children displaying destructive behaviors. Organizations are also creating product awareness progressively and dependability via video games. A game that is successful translates to successful product as the consumer who is mainly kids are involved, absorbed and entangled on the product (Calvert 212-213).
Research studies by the American Medical Association journal also revealed that children between the ages of 2 and 17 years spend up to 15, 000 and 18, 000 hours on television compared to 12, 000 hours the spend annually in their studies in schools (Advertising Association 14). This makes children the ideal targets for television advertisements whose effect surpass that of any other media platform because there is reduced influence by those of older generations.
This also calls for parent’s immediate response because the government via its machinery for example the Committee on Communication of the American Academy can only make endorsements to be implemented by parents. According to a report released by the committee, children below the age of two should watch TV at any time because it interferes with their brain development that relies on relations of humans for successful growth.
Parents also have the responsibility to reduce the amount of time spent on TV by their children if they are to grow normally and develop their cognitive aspects are required (Calvert & Barbara 424). Different companies have also generated ways of ensuring that their products reach the children. The methods include new children markets exploration via wireless and online media. Such promoters employ stealth strategies in which clients are immersed in new environments, most often without their knowledge on the type of promotions they are viewing.
Advertisers through their expertise also analyze the interests of children patterns carefully focusing on games and communication software for teens. Government restrictions on TV can also be the major cause of a change in marketing strategies for different companies (Calvert 212-213). Products such as tobacco can also be advertised on TV only because of specific terms and conditions.
The modern world however that is less restricted also displays smoking as a hip action. As a result, promoters use virtual bartenders in alcohol related websites to build cordial relationships between the children and the product. This is implemented by use of comedy, sporty and stylish language to entice kids. Additionally, many advertisements on TV and online platforms reveal intense marketing of products especially junk foods and they focus more on harmful advertisements to kids such as alcohol and tobacco (Calvert 214).
One of the most significant areas of concern on the impact of advertisement on children is the analysis of changes that are based on the ability of a child to comprehend commercial messages and their objective specifically. A child below the age of eight years believes the purpose of commercial promotions is to enable them make the right purchasing resolutions. They are not aware that such commercials aim at enticing them to buy specific products.
To achieve this objective, organizations design marketing campaigns that are directed at getting the kid to focus on the communication, aspiration and to distinguish as well as reminisce the product. The level by which kids understand the intention of an advertisement also touches on the realization of the commercial. Organizations will as a result, utilize any strategy to embed their adverts into fascinating content to help create an attitude that is favorable about a merchandise without the user’s knowledge (Calvert & Barbara 424- 425).
A Discussion of the Issue
In the United States, the role of the government in children protection against deceitful marketing campaigns is limited to burden of restriction by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The commission has a duty to ensure the Children’s Television Act is implemented, limiting the duration taken by adverts targeted on children in different commercial television stations.
Additionally, the administration limits the kind of content on commercials. Even so, the government may not decide entirely on what viewers watch because there are many medial channels especially online services that are mainly utilized marketers to promote their products and services (Wilcox, et al 8).
When promoting products that are directed to kids, it is essential for a business to disseminate information that is relevant to target audience. This kind of information should be easy to understand and candid. This is also applicable when product advertisements are not directed at children for instance cigarette and beer adverts.
Observation of the business code of ethics is essential in design as well as execution of a marketing strategy. Businesses must therefore identify their target clients, the intention of an advert and the unplanned results that might have effect on the entire population especially if the product is known to be harmful to the kids (Calvert & Barbara 426).
Additionally, the government regulates content and it institutes business limits that are to be respected and strictly followed. The entities do not decide on the audience to watch or purchase any of the advertised products. This is usually the role of guardians and parents. Parents are aware that their kids are exposed to many adverts as they carry out their day to day activities (Ramsey 373).
While kids get exposed to many adverts, a very small percentage is targeted at them. The content of advert and intent of kids directed ads should be of great concern to parents based on the fact that they impact the thinking and kids’ product preference or choice. As primary socialization agents, parents have a duty to shape the lives of their kids as far as making of crucial life decisions is concerned.
The manner in which a child perceives an advertisement is directly related to the type of products they will end up purchasing (Wilcox et al 12).
It is also clear that kids in the United States spend most of their leisure on media channels including the internet, television or playing video games. With availability of the channels, different organizations make the most of the opportunities to promote their products. Research also has revealed that many guardians accompany their children and watch with them different programs on different medial channels; parents’ comments online on the content of promotions enable kids to achieve a better understanding of what they watch.
Regulation of the time that kids spend on media channels and more specifically TV and online is also imperative in limiting exposure of kids to unauthorized content (Schor 110).
Advertisement is a significant strategy by which organizations and other institutions promote their products and services. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure marketers abide by existing regulations in the implementation and planning of their strategies. Restrictions while advertising to children is of distress to parents as well as the government.
Even so, it is a major concern for guardians bearing in mind that they are the primary socialization agents who shape and finance their kids’ purchases. Parents also have a duty to ensure that they impart the right measures for instance explanation of advertisement content to their kids thus, limiting the amount of time they spend on media platforms (Schor 112).
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