- Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking
- Back to School
- Cellphone Parenting
- Character Strengths and Life Skills
- Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls
- Early Childhood
- Facebook, Instagram, and Social
- Learning with Technology
- Marketing to Kids
- Mental Health
- News and Media Literacy
- Privacy and Internet Safety
- Screen Time
- Sex, Gender, and Body Image
- Special Needs and Learning Difficulties
- Technology Addiction
- Violence in Media
Is advertising harmful to kids?
Some advertising has been shown to affect kids' well-being and lead to unhealthy choices. But even though health problems such as childhood obesity, tobacco use, and underage drinking affect large numbers of kids, it's difficult to prove that they're caused by the advertising of unhealthy products.
The harm lies in the persuasive techniques advertisers use to influence kids. Kids are impressionable, and marketing takes advantage of sophisticated devices -- demographic data, psychology, developmental characteristics, and behavior traits -- to determine the most effective ways to influence them.
Digital media allows companies to reach kids more directly than traditional media like television and magazines. It also cuts out parents as the voice-of-reason middlemen and adds more advertising possibilities -- some of which aren't obvious.
It's pretty easy to identify TV commercials and talk to your kids about them. But digital media has dramatically changed the landscape to include immersive websites, advergaming, viral marketing, mobile ads, social media marketing, and precise behavioral and location targeting, blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment for even the savviest media consumer. It's also made it more challenging for researchers to study advertising's impact on kids.
Media education -- teaching kids to think critically about advertising -- can help them see through persuasive techniques. Of course, you can't discuss every ad your kids see, but you can help them to be on the lookout for ads embedded in content, to learn how to analyze ads, and to think about how ads make them think and feel.