Are Kids Overexposed to Ads?

The other day in my advertising class we were discussing effective ads that have been imprinted into our minds.  The conversation instantly focused around the amazingly obnoxious 90s commercial ads and jingles from our childhood. The class erupted into regaling every detail of the Goldfish slogan, fruit-by-the-foot tune, 1-800-safe auto commercials, etc. To this day, I still can never get the Baby Bottle Pop song out of my head.

When I think about all the commercials and ads that my friends and I remember from our youth, I cannot help but be amazed by the amount advertisements we were (and still are) exposed to. Even more so, as we enter into a digitally-obsessed and consumed society, the amount of advertisements in which today’s youth is exposed. From commercials, websites, radio ads, billboards, cereal boxes, and even toys, children are being slapped across the face by advertisements and they don’t even know it.

Take a look at this Infographic designed by Carlos Montiero:

data-kids-01-2014

(Click the picture for link of larger view)

It’s crazy to think that children ages 2-11 see on average 25,600 ads a year!  No wonder we are such a materialistic society. Though these advertisements can relay both healthy and harmful messages, this amount of exposure is worrisome.  By being so exposed to the market world, children are at incredibly high risk of social conditioning–brainwashed to think, feel, and act in specific ways and to purchase certain products.  I worry about such overexposure while these children are in their integral years of cognitive development.  Children are such easy targets, easily swayed and manipulated, which is great for marketers; however I think it’s important to take a step and think about the psychological and social impact advertisers are making on today’s youth.

What do you think?  Are children overexposed? Should advertisers scale back and target children less?

 

References

Lucia Moses. (2014, March 11). A look at kids’ exposure to ads children see a lot of marketing messages, regardless of platform. ADWeek, Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/look-kids-exposure-ads-156191

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6 thoughts on “Are Kids Overexposed to Ads?

  1. Interesting post. I completely think children are overexposed to ads. In general, I don’t think they are harmful, but I also don’t think they’re improving the quality of life. Virtually every media source is responsible for featuring ads, so it’s inescapable. Kids with smartphones are completely inundated- I get so annoyed with the ads on every app I’ve downloaded. I know there’s legislation surrounding advertising to children, but I don’t think it’s strong enough.

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  2. I’m not sure if they’re necessarily “harmful”, but I don’t really think they’re that great for them either. On one hand it worries me when a 4 year old is better with an IPad than I am, but on the other it’s cool to see how technology can shape us. But I think the exposure can definitely be too much.

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  3. I couldn’t agree more with the other comments. Kids are definitely overexposed to ads. It would be beneficial for parents to be conscious of these numbers and monitor their children more. It is an inescapable part of society and it worries me thinking how I will have to monitor my own children in the future. Interesting post and infographic!

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  4. I think that children are over exposed to ads. But I don’t think that it’s harmful or anything negative like that. Society is changing and while it can be overwhelming, I don’t think that it will be slowing down anytime soon. But topics like these should continue to be discussed, as it is an important development to recognize and react to.

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  5. While ads are everywhere and it’s scary to think that kids may be overexposed to advertisement, I think it’s important to note that the buying power still lies with the the parents. I agree that many ads have harmful messages to kids, but with proper monitoring, parents should be able to protect their kids if they pay attention.

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  6. Kids are definitely overexposed to ads. I have a two year old niece already understands ads and asks for them to be skipped. She doesn’t like to watch tv because of it. She likes to watch netflix because she doesn’t have to wait. I think it’s a weird world we live in when a two year old doesn’t like watching tv just because of the ads.

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