Children should never be targeted for marketing purposes. Everyone can see it, it is as plain as day. It must be stopped, and here is why. A child’s mind cant quite think through exactly what they are seeing, this problem contributes to obesity, kids form lifelong habits, kids are becoming more and more exposed to
technology every day, and most of marketing does it.
A child’s mind can not think through the ad that they are being shown. The facts are that kids under the age of twelve can not critically analyze the ads. Kids below the age of eight believe most everything that they see. Kids under the age of five can not distinguish the ads
that they are seeing with unbiased programming. Even older teens are vulnerable, because their self-restraint is not yet fully developed.
Habits from childhood often stick with us all the way through the rest of our lives. Many people form these sort of attachments to going to a specific place for lunch every day, companies know that we do this and take advantage of it. If you have a younger sibling or a young child you know that they might form an emotional attachment to a cartoon character, marketing companies might buy the rights to put that character on the front of their product to get young children interested. Marketing knows these facts and will do whatever it takes to get your lifelong business.
Obesity is quite common nowadays, but we could help change that. The average American diet has about 50-75% of processed or low-nutritional food. The things that we put in our shopping cart are often influenced by large food companies spending billions of dollars trying to get you hooked on their food products. According to Physical & Health Education Journal “Researchers estimate children are exposed to between four and seven food and beverage ads each hour. More than 90% of these ads are for products high in salt, fat, sugar or
calories.” This means that most children are exposed to almost 300 different ads for unhealthy food or drink products every week.
Kids of this latest generation are exposed to a whole bunch of it. If kids are watching something, whether that is YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or cable, they all have something in
common. That thing happens to be advertisements. There is one piece of unnecessary
technology that is always being used, and that is TV. If a child watches eight hours of television in one day, then they will see about hour or more of advertisements. I do know that eight hours is a bit of stretch, but I am not off by much. The average daily screen time of a child is six hours. With that information you can say that every week the average child watches about five hours of just advertisements.
This is such a widespread issue, almost all of marketing does it. First of all, large fast food chains do it all the time. The best example of this is how McDonald’s buys the right to whatever children’s icon is most popular, and they use that to get children to want to go to McDonald’s. Some Youtubers are also guilty of selling to children. A great example of this is Jake Paul, most people don’t consider this to be a children’s show though. The criteria for something being a kids show is the following, it doesn’t show open profanity, it likely will have something animated, it has to have a substantial amount of actual content, and should serve some educational purpose. Apart from that last one Jake Paul lines up perfectly with this rubric. In almost every single video he spends at least 10% of the video advertising his merchandise to these children, and that is not even counting the actual ads that occur once or twice every video. They do it, because they know kids have such a large potential for spending. According to Physical & Health Education Journal “Kids between the ages of nine and fourteen spend $2.9 billion annually.”
To recap, we need to stop marketing to children, because their young minds can’t quite grasp what they’re seeing, childhood habits go on to adulthood, kids are being exposed to lots of screen time, and most of marketing does it. If we don’t stop this, the problem will just get bigger over time. In two-hundred years how big do you think this problem will have gotten.