The Issues About Television
Advertising to Children
This chapter introduces the issues related to advertising aimed at children and describes the concerns that it generates. In particular, the debate about television advertising is discussed. This debate has raised many questions about the nature of advertising. Is it fair to advertise to children unless they fully understand the intent of the advertisers? If young children do not understand that intent, then when do they develop that ability? Is television an effective way to market products to children? Are the products (such as food and toys) typically aimed at children, the type of products that children should be encouraged to buy? Are children encouraged to buy or try unsuitable products (such as alcohol or tobacco) from viewing advertisements even when those advertisements are not aimed at them? Does advertising encourage a more materialistic attitude in children? Or is it appropriate that children learn to be effective consumers from an early age? Does encouraging children to buy products lead them to pester their parents and cause family disputes? Does television advertising present an accurate or misleading image of the world to children? Should advertising aimed at children be regulated? If so, how strict should that regulation be and, in a global market place, should regulators draw up common guidelines across different countries and cultures? Should we educate children about advertising, and if so, who should take on the role of educator?
All these questions have generated debate and research and will be discussed in this book. Given the controversial nature of television advertising