SLT - role models: Piaget's stage of pre-operational thought, age 2 to 7, young children use animistic thinking, believing that imaginary events and characters can be real ie during the Christmas, TV is flooded with commercials that foster an interest in the toys that Santa will bring in his sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Young children "buy in" to these fantasies and the consumer culture they represent. Pre-operational modes of thought put young children at a disadvantage in understanding commercial intent and, thus, in being able to make informed decisions about requests and purchases of products. Therefore, parents should be extremely mindful about the adverts that young children watch.
Remove the influence - Banning advertising to children: Children should not be seen as consumers, and research has linked the commercialisation of childhood with low self-esteem, unhappiness, bullying and premature sexualisation. Sweden has taken the step of banning all advertising to children, assuming that by removing the influence, children will then not have the opportunity to be influenced by advertising. But is it realistic to ban children from advertising completely?
Taxes on advertising - Punishment: Given that advertising has detrimental effects on society, it doesn't seem unreasonable to tax it appropriately. Cigarettes and alcohol are taxed. Taxes ought to be used to subsidise things we want more of and to discourage things we want less of. This principle follows a behaviorist one, in the sense that it sees that we should punish those who create the adverts in response to the damage they create.
Educating children on the intent of adverts - Media Literacy: Pine & Nash (2002) Reviewed studies and found that many children below the age of 7-9 years of age lack an understanding of persuasive intent, meaning that they do not know when they are being manipulated. New educational opportunities have been developed to help children create a critical awareness of mass media and advertising, and being able to evaluate media sources. The impact of this is that it helps children make more informed decisions about what they've watched. Guidelines on how to educate children at 7-11 years.
This would support Bandura's theory of role models: can understand that advertisements are trying to sell them something, can recognise some advertising techniques like advertisements overstating how good products are, To limit the effects of advertising on school-age children, the most important thing you can do is talk about advertisements and encourage children to think about what they're trying to do.
You can also ask your child about the strategies that are being used to sell a particular product. This can help your child work out how an advertisement makes its product look good. Here are some questions to help children start thinking:
Does the advertisement use popular celebrities or sports stars to promote the product?
Does the advertisement link an idea with the product - for example, does the ad make children seem more grown up when they use the product?
Is the advertisement promoting the product by giving you something for free - for example, do you get a toy if you buy a kids' meal from a fast food chain?
This will help make the point that you can't believe everything you see on TV, online or in other media - especially what you see in advertisements.
Hanley (2000) found that imitation in adverts was increased if it included factors such as humour and jokes, seeing anti-social behaviours as acceptable, celebrities etc. If these factors are removed from advertisements it could potentially decrease the effect that advertisements have on children's behaviour.
Another strategy that can be used to reduce the impact that advertising has on children is stricter guidelines and policies. Story (2002) found that eating behaviours and food choices in youth are largely effected by advertisements. If this is the case then it might be effective to put curfews in place, where certain adverts are only played after a certain time e.g. 9pm when most young children will be in bed.
2nd EditionMcGraw-Hill Education
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