Can the Relationship Between Kids & Advertisements Change?

There have been some steps taken towards bettering the way kids see advertisements,

Nickelodeon has told kids watching their channel that they should put down the remote and go outside and play. In an article from FOX News, they talk about how Nickelodeon is trying to encourage a balanced lifestyle with the children that are watching their station. Sunday nights at 8:30 they show how children like the ones watching have made a difference in their family or in the community to improve eating or exercise habits. Marva Smalls, an executive vice president with the Nickelodeon cable channel said, “Our hope for the outcome is we will have great traction in this movement, in this journey, to create the healthiest generation of kids among our audience” (2006, para. 10). Nickelodeon tries to influence a balanced lifestyle by not watching tv all day, and they have signed up as many as 100,000 kids to help in the community to either switch out junk food for healthier food in school or encouraging other to workout.

Melissa Dittmann, writer for the American Psychological Association, makes us aware of how much effort is put into advertising different things toward children through an online article, Protecting Children from Advertising. The APA has designed a task force to help stop harmful effects of advertising on children. This is broken down and given to us in sections of statistics of children watching, how many commercials they see and how much money is used for it. For example $12 billion is spent by the advertising industry on ads geared toward children. Also Dittmann breaks it down by informing us on advertising effects and also the increasing efforts toward children.

The article, Television, Commercials, and Your Child,  talks about a research study from 2010 that focuses on how much television kids watch and how it affects them. Depending on what acts they are seeing happen on the television can shape how they decide to act, it could be violent, sexual, inappropriate, but it can also be positive. It all depends on what the child is allowed to watch, and if there are any time restrictions. There is talk about the Telecommunications Act in 1996, and this Act created a rating system to determine what content is contained in the program and if it would be appropriate or not for children. This article mentions that there are three different ways advertising can influence children; the use of multimedia techniques to hold children’s attention, young children struggle with knowing the difference between commercials and programs, and they also struggle with knowing the difference between reality and what they’re being told. On child friendly networks there were both positive and negative content, there was a study based on 12,004 commercials airing between 7AM and 10PM. Positive content showed role modeling, encouragement, medical and health benefits, and positive interactions. Negative content included violent behaviors like harmful physical violence, threatening, harm to an animal or oneself, destruction of property, and disturbing behaviors like unexpected accidents, graphic bodily disintegration or disasters. There were also negative content including sexual behaviors and negative modeling, like smoking and drinking.

As a parent, it is important to inform your child on the purpose of advertisements and the difference between an advertisement and a program. Kids need to know that the purpose of advertisements is to sell a product, no matter what the product is. It could be useful to monitor your child’s media intake and set boundaries on the time they spend and content they are consuming through all mediums. Also, there are options to install ad blockers on computers to filter the ads that are allowed to pop up. One step at a time, the relationship with kids and advertisements can be improved. 


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