Introduction Children are always considered as a group that is particularly vulnerable and hey need more concerns from adults. A young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority is called child. Many people believe that they are at the age to imitate adults and things they have seen. Jones (2009) thinks young children have the ability to imitate since 2 years old and they copy the actions of others. So they are easily affected by others because young children cannot protect and defending themselves against damages unlike adults.
In the modern society, mass media plays an important role and advertisements can be found every. Ere along with the development of modern technologies. According to Key Note’s survey of advertising market in 201 2, UK advertising profits grew 2. 6 per cent in the year of 2011. Moreover, digital marketing grows fast in advertising industry as consumers tend to use digital media platforms instead of tradition media (Key Note, 2012). Although the global economy is experiencing recession, the global advertising grows every year since 2010 (Key Note, 2012).
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However, there exist some among advertisements which is blamed to be harmful to children in the I-J. For example, Bennett (2013) criticized that kids in the UK could watch Gambling advertisements on TV 211 times per year. Foci even declared that there is a fifteen times’ rise in the number of advertisements about gambling and children aged 4 to 15 could watched 473 times of this kind of ads on television in 2012 (Bennett, 2013). As a result, many critics appeal the restrictions of advertising is not enough at the moment and there should be more strict regulations to protect children from harmful advertisements.
Therefore, a heated argument towards whether advertisements should be controlled more rigorous when they can be approached by kids under the age of 12 years old. The purpose of this essay is to discuss whether there would have a more rigorous control of advertising to children under 12 years old. Firstly, literature review about the definition of advertisement and the definition of children, childhood and children’s consumer behavior will be presented. And then the relationship between children and advertisement will be explained. Besides, the necessity of more strict control over advertisements to children will be argued in detail.
Last but not least, further control of advertisements will be talked. 2. Literature Review 2. 1 What is advertisement The history of advertising is quite long and the definition of advertisement is implicated. Black (1913) explains advertisement as “a written, printed, inscribed, or otherwise visible and intelligible public notice, made, circulated, or exhibited for the purpose of attracting purchasers, customers or business”. Tells (2004) regards advertising as “any paid message that a firm delivers to consumers in order to make its offer more attractive to them”.
Millard and Choc (2003) points out that advertising communicate products, services and particularly brand values between the producers and consumers. Therefore, advertisement can be defined as a commercial activity that delivering assuages about goods, services and ideas to customers through various ways like print media, television, Internet and so on. Besides, it is conducted by organizations to inform their consumers and aims at change their thinking pattern or buying behavior. In the modern society, advertising is one of the most important tools for marketers to improve benefits and profits.
Firstly, advertising is a good way to shape customer behavior. Advertising has informative effects which means advertisement can raise and hence awareness and knowledge of the brand (Buckling 1965, Leaving and Steiner 1961). Besides, advertisement could persuade customers to buy products, especially low-involvement products. The reason is based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model, people would pay more attention to execution information of the advertisement rather than other elements because the peripheral route to persuasion dominates their thoughts under low involvement situations (Petty, Capo and Schumann, 1983).
As advertising plays a critical role in the modern market, organizations spend more money on making advertisements. According to Johnson (201 3), worldwide advertisement expenditure will rise 5. Percentages in 2014 and remains growing in the next few years and will be spent on various platforms. From the pie chart below, it is obvious that television is still the major platform for advertisements and Internet becomes more important than before as about 20. 6% money spent by marketers in 201 3 (Johnson, 2013).
Apart from TV and Internet, Newspapers and Magazines are also considered as useful tools because 17. 0% and 7. 9% of advertising budget is spent respectively (Johnson, 2013). [Figure IS Worldwide major-media spending in 2005 and 2013 Currently, there are many restrictions in this industry as advertising industry rows rapidly. Take the LIKE for example. The CAP Code (CAP, 2003) standards requires advertisement should be ‘decent’, ‘honest’, ‘legal’, truthful’ and show responsible to consumers and society.
Besides, the provision of Foci requires that only seven minutes of advertisements can be shown on commercial public service broadcasters (Spas) off peak time, like Channel 4, Chain Nell 5 and SAC while 9 minutes advertisements are allowed on other channels (Foci, 201 1). The reason is that many people get tired and unhappy with too much ads on mass media and many advertisements mislead audiences and deliver improper message. For instance, if audience are exposure to advertisements that use physical attractiveness and beauty, they may Want to be prettier even using some unsafe means (Downs and Harrison, 1985). . 2 The definition of children, childhood and children’s consumer behavior Children can be defined as a human between the stage of birth and puberty generally and they need to be protected. Aries claimed children were naturally innocent and should be taken good care because they are too easy to be affected (Christensen and James, 2008). Another image of children is that they learn fast. In that case, childhood is a free and wild time or children to do what they want.
Childhood is a construction changes based on other social concepts changes and it develops century to century (Handball, 1986, 1993; Kafuffle, 1991; Allison and proud, 1997; proud, 2000). Young (1990) explained what childhood is in his book in detail as well. He States that adults would like children to be differently from adults and always reward children if they behave in a sweet simple and adorable way (Young, 1990). Young (1990) thinks that the child is treated as simpler versions of adult to some degree and they are also regarded as potential anarchist and hyperactive maniac.
He also believes that kids are particularly vulnerable because they no ability to make any judgments and defend themselves from onslaught (Young, 1990). So when we consider social issues, we should concern the influence and protect children from negative effects. As children grows, their consuming behavior pattern changes at the same time. Since children are born to be Innocent, they learn the world and form their own view of life and value. Many scholars have done some researches in the forming process of children’s consumer behavior.
According to John’s (2008) ark, stages of consumer colonization development, there are three major Steps, perceptual Stage (3-7 years Old), the analytical Stage (7-11 years Old) and the reflective stage (1 1 through adult). The first stage is perceptual stage and John (2008) thinks children’s consumer knowledge is based on their perceptual features from their oven observations. He finds that young children (aged 3-7) have a limited understanding of commercial advertisements although they have the ability to identify commercials from other programs on TV. But they always regard advertising as entertainment (John, 2008).
Besides, he also mentioned Robertson and Rosette’s (1974) study on 6 to 7 year-old children. Based on their study, only 50% kids thought commercial advertisements aim to selling products Noon, 2008). The second stage is the analytical stage when kids grow up to 7 to 11 years old. In this stage, children show more thoughtfulness during decision-making process through use different strategies. John (2008) points out kids in the analytical stage can understand the advertising intent and those who aged over 8 are even seen as having abilities to defend themselves from unfairly persuaded advertisements.
In the last stage, the reflective stage, children’s (1 1 to 16) advertising knowledge develops further but they still cannot detect misleading advertisements until adolescence (John, 2008). 2. 3 Arguments on advertisements and children When advertisements related to children, there are many aspects should be operate carefully by marketers for they are naturally innocent and cannot judge things properly. As a result, there is an argument on advertisements’ influences on children’s purchasing behavior. Currently, the child becomes an important target for marketing. Beery, Payola (1968) and McNealy (1999) give here major reasons.
Firstly, children would spend pocket money to meet their needs and wants. Besides, they can also influence family purchasing decision making. Finally, marketers could cultivate children’s preference to turn them into future market. As a result, more advertisements are be made towards children market. Take television advertising for example. The number of advertisements in television programs that can be easily accessed by children is increasing. Captor and Versa (2008) found that many parents admit that television advertisements affect their kids’ purchasing decision aging and argue children deserve special protection.
In fact, kids are more easily approach to advertisements than before along with the technology advances like Internet at present. In fact, according to Foci (201 1), between the year of 2006 and 2010, the number of advertising seen by UK audiences rose by 20. 9% which means may be more children watch more advertisements than before. In that case, advertisement industry has set up many regulations to guide advertisers advertising towards children. Advertising Standards Authority (AS) set rules to ensure and regulate advertisements in the I-J being social and trustful.
AS claims that ads that could result in child’s physical, mental and moral health problems will be banned (AS 2014). In order to reduce advertisements disadvantages, advertisement time also has limitation. Foci (2011) has declared that less than 10 minutes’ advertisements can be shown during peak time. 3. Discussion 3. 1 Advertisement should be controlled, especially towards children As mentioned above, children are born to be innocent and have limited abilities to identify harmful information so they need special protection.
In fact, advertising will cause many social problems, like alcohol problem, obesity and so on, although it could create values to the company. The following paragraph will explain why children should receive protection to get rid of negative advertising influences in detail. Firstly, children are too young to identify message delivered by advertisers critically and they are susceptible to messages provided by marketers. As Captor and Versa (2005) states, children are likely to accept advertising ideas for lacking identification. In that case, when delivering messages that may be detrimental to children’s health would be careful.
Take alcohol advertisements for example. It is common that alcohol industry usually sponsor sports events or related alcohol advertising to sports elements. But based on the research of World Health Organization (AAA, Bibb), alcohol causes about 2. 3 million people dead every year and is ranked the third among factors led disease burden. However, the information that drinking is harmful for health Cannot be got by kids. So children may associate alcohol with sport and sporting success if they are exposed to a large number of this kind of alcohol advertisements Cones, Phillips and Barrier, 2009).
They may imitate the drinking behavior because they think success means drinking. This is the same happened in food industry. Deserters and Holt (2007) present the findings of the Federal Trade Commission’s report and found out that TV food advertisements, such as advertisements of snacks, junk food, often use cartoon characters to endorse their products. But children cannot identify the information which too much food will lead to obesity. Sometimes, advertisers build a fantastic and magical image for their products which makes harder for kids to notice mage information.
Besides, disadvantages brought from advertisement may have negative effects on kids in the long run. In Armstrong and Brick’s (1988) article, negative advertising effects on children have been listed. Advertisements have the opportunities make children into impulsive shopper. As a result, children may make their purchase decision within a short time if the advertisements of the goods are attractive like endorsing by popular cartoon character. If they get used to buying products without consideration, it is possible for them to become impulsive shopper when they grow up.
In act, many critics blame that advertisement fosters impulsive shopping behavior because some ads encourage and tempt kids to buy or want useless or harmful products like expensive and unneeded toys, junk food and so on. Washes more, family problem will also be caused by advertisements to some degree. Parents always make rational choice while children are more likely to be emotionally. If children want something in advertisement but their parents cannot or do not want to give them, children will be unhappy and unsatisfied with parents. 3. 2 Why under 12 years old?
As advertisements have negative physical and physiological influences, facial protection must be given towards this vulnerable group, especially for those under 12 years old. As mentioned above, Armstrong and Bricks (1988) argued children should be protected from too much advertising exposure for lack of cognitive ability and life experience. Based on Reader’s (1 981 ) children’s behavior process model, children under 12 years old could find information on themselves or with the help of others. In that case, they will have reaction on advertising information.
Referring to stages of consumer colonization development (John, 2008), advertising knowledge of children ender 1 1 years old, they cannot have a critical attitude towards advertising and kids aged 3 to 6 years old only watch advertisements just for fun and cannot understand advertising properly. In that case, they cannot identify harmful elements in advertisements. Although children at this age cannot understand this advertisement clearly, they may remember it for a long time which may affect their behavior subtly in the future.
That is to say, before 7 years old, kids start to understand what advertising talks about but have no idea about it tries to sell products. For instance, when children watch McDonald’s advertisements, they can understand what the advertisements talk about is that the McDonald’s food is delicious. But they cannot notice the purpose of the company is trying to motivate them to buy more hamburgers to boost the sales. While, for those children aged between 7 to 12 years old, they can understand advertising quite well at these ages. But advertising to these children should also be careful because other ethical issues emerge.
At this age stage, kids begin to develop their own value and would like to imitate other people. When they watch sports events, they may see alcohol advertisements. They will be associate alcohol with sportsmanship and success automatically which increase the risk for them to drink in the future (Jones, Phillips and Barrier, 2009). In fact, the age of twelve is regard as a cut-off point generally because kids grow to the age 1 2 are thought to have formed their behavior as consumers, could identify advertisements and use critical attitudes towards it.
However, children under 12 years old only can use limited tools to receive messages from advertisements and cannot understand what the advertising intend to deliver completely (Reorder, 1981). As a result, children who are under 1 2 years old are particular susceptible and vulnerable which means rigorous advertisements control should be taken. 3. 3 Is more rigorous control possible ? Children, under the age of 12, are not capable to protect themselves from harmful information provided by advertisements.
In that case, some people argue that there should have more rigorous advertisements rules to protect them from negative influences on their physical, mental and moral heath. At the moment, AS expect all advertising online to be "legal, honest and trustful” and ensure them to follow UK Advertising Code (AS 2014). In fact, the UK Advertising code has already set up rigorous rules on advertisements to protect children. However, it may be difficult to make more rigorous rules to regulate advertising because of more advertising tools used currently for several reasons.
Firstly, there are various marketing tools adapted to promotion campaign because of the development of technology which means children have more chances to access to unethical advertisements than before and it is hard to form a perfect control plan. In the past, TV, newspaper and magazines are regarded as three major advertising tools. While based on Johnny’s (2013) research, Internet has made up of 20. 6% of advertising market, ranked as the second among all advertising platforms, especially marketers use searching engine and videos to enhance their brand awareness (Creche, et al, 2013).
Currently, children in the UK spend more time on surfing the Internet than before, like watching videos, looking for information. So it is difficult to prevent children from damage advertisements complete. Besides, a new form of advertisement comes out called ‘advertises’. Advertises are electronic games that are used to advertise a reduce, brand or an organization and often used on social media sites, companies’ own websites and as downloaded content or APS on mobile devices (CAP, 2012). Referring to Marin and Hang (2012), children under 15 cannot recognize advertises are advertising.
But marketers should follow the regulations when they use advertises to promote their products. According to above analysis, it will be hard to set up more rigorous control to advertising. In fact, advertising cannot be banned completely to children because it is almost impossible to forbid kids access to media, especially in the modern society. Moreover, other people have no rights to deprive children’s rights to learn to pick up and accept correct information from damage messages by themselves. As a result, it is nearly impossible and difficult to set up more rigorous advertising regulation to children. . Conclusion & Recommendation Advertising is an efficient and effective wars for companies to increase sales and build their brand awareness. However, sometimes messages delivered by advertisements may lead to social problems, like obesity, drunk and so on. On that occasion, regulations should be set up to control advertising to hillier because they are naturally innocent, especially for those children under 12 years old in that they have limited ability to prevent them from negative influences.
However, rigorous regulation on advertising to children is not enough, all of advertisers, families and school should also participate in preventing children from unethical advertisements. Firstly, advertisers should follow I-J advertising Code Advertisers efforts and make it easier for children to distinguish, understand and process advertisements. They should use positive elements in their advertisements, particularly when their target arrest is children. Besides, families should also make efforts on reduce children’s exposure to advertisements, especially those parents have kids under 12 years old.