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Advertising Directed at Children; Parents or

Governments Responsibility?

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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 childrens income is one of the reasons behind the
trend and how they influence the acquisition of their parents.
Advertising Directed at Children
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 parents 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 counselled 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 amongst 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 childs 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 amongst 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
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
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 parents 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 amongst 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 partialities 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 kids wishes are not met. The end result of such beliefs could be evident in harmful
eating habits ae reflected in obesity epidemic amongst 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 amongst 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
This also calls for parents 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 212213). Products such as tobacco can also be advertised on TV only because of specific terms and
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 users 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 Childrens 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 governments 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).

Works Cited
Advertising Association (AA). Parents, Children and the Commercial World: Facts Issues and
Solutions. SW1P 1RT, London. 2011. Retrieved on October 16, 2013 from
Calvert, Sandra L, and Barbara J. Wilson. The Handbook of Children, Media, and Development.
Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 424- 426. 2011.
Calvert, l. S. Children as Consumers: Advertising and Marketing. The future of children. 2008.
Retrieved on October 16, 2013 from
Ramsey, W. Rethinking Regulation of Advertisement Aimed at Children. Ramsey Final, 373-375.
2006 Retrieved on October 16, 2013 from
Schor, J. Regulation, Awareness, Empowerment. Young People and Harmful Media Content in
the digital Age. Nordicom. P. 110- 112. 2006

Wilcox, B, Kunkel, D, Cantor, J, Dowrick P, Linn, S & Palmer, E. Report of the APA Taskforce
on Advertising and Children. American Psychology Association. 2004. Retrieved on October 16,
2013 from
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