Wednesday, March 30, 2011

To what extent should advertising aimed at children be regulated by law?

Think back on your day, how many bill boards did you pass on your way home or to work? Did you watch TV? Did you listen to the radio? Or did you read the newspaper or any magazines? All of these examples are sources of advertisements, and usually meet the eye at least one individual that either sees, hears, or reads about them. The most easily impacted of those that witness any of these advertisements would be children. Children are not as conditioned to advertisements as young adolescents, or adults, so they are more tempted to fall for them. The next time you go to the grocery store take a walk down the cereal isle a look where all the sugar filled, fun colored, cereals are located. In all grocery stores these cereals will be on the bottom 3-5 shelves right at eye level with the children.

The children usually recognize the characters that help represent these particular cereals: the rabbit from Trix cereal, the rooster from cocoa puff's cereal, or the leprechaun from the lucky charms cereal. Now think about where these children would have viewed the advertisements for these cereals...TV, and if you monitor it you will find that these commercials are usually on in the mornings, the primary time when children will be viewing. The children grow interest in the cereals through the characters that represent them which leads them to wanting those particular cereals. The same goes for fast food, and the easy example: Ronald McDonald.

He is used to lure children in to wanting to eat at McDonald's. I think that advertisers choose to appeal to children because they are easy targets and are easily influenced, and for the most part, their parents will buy them whatever they want so they will stop crying or throwing a fit. I would like to see this be regulated, but I don't know if it ever will because children make the big corporations too much money. One other solution to this problem would be teaching the parents better ways to control their child's urges, like the NEED for the particular kind of cereal, but thats a whole new discussion topic.

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