Effects of Advertisement on the Physical and Mental Health of Children
Unlike previous generations, children today, have access to much information and media. The most pressure that is believed to fall upon the current and following generations is that of television advertising. Currently, children start using internet and watching television at a very young age, which allows them to watch and hear advertising all the time. Many researchers believe that this exposure to advertisements will affect the physical and mental health of the children.
One reason that the advertisements gain attention from children is because of the exaggeration. Words like newer, better, astonishing, etc, seem to get the attention of adults let alone children. When the children find out that owning a certain product will make them better, they want the product even more. Advertisers also specially use such characters and conditions so that the child would start to relate with the character in the advertisement and would create a similar relation with the product.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, drugs, tobacco, obesity and alcohol are the primary health-damaging effects of advertising. For example, junk food advertisements that are targeted towards kids and are specially televised after school hours and on Saturday mornings, make the children want those products. These products have high calories and low nutrition. Moreover, exposure to alcohol and tobacco through sports programs’ advertising and content integration of such elements in video games and movies makes children curious about their effects and makes them experiment with these products at a younger age.
Researches also prove that children younger than eight years perceive advertisements for their face value. At this point, they do not know the purpose of advertising and hence, would believe everything that they see and hear.
Sweden and Norway have forbid all advertisements that are directed at young children. Greece has also banned toy advertisements until after 10 pm, while Belgium and Denmark have also restricted any advertising that is directed towards children.