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.

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Comments

Kid, 10 years old

Just make sure your kids embedded in their heads ads are meant to trick you, then they can laugh, talk and do all that without being in danger with ads.
Parent of an infant year old written by Holly R.

It depends on what is being marketed and if it is useful in any sort of way. Alot of toy crazes that dominate kids channels are GOING to attract kids and they might get caught up in that must have toy or game. That can either wind up being a waste of money on the parents part if they spend money on a toy that might only be played with once in awhile and then abandoned for the next thing. I'm not sure if this has been suggested but I plan on raising my child on the concept that what is bought and not played with must be "exchanged" if she grows bored. I don't want her to be like I was with a huge hoard of toys everywhere that NEVER get played with.
Parent of an infant year old written by Holly R.

It depends on what is being marketed and if it is useful in any sort of way. Alot of toy crazes that dominate kids channels are GOING to attract kids and they might get caught up in that must have toy or game. That can either wind up being a waste of money on the parents part if they spend money on a toy that might only be played with once in awhile and then abandoned for the next thing. I'm not sure if this has been suggested but I plan on raising my child on the concept that what is bought and not played with must be "exchanged" if she grows bored. I don't want her to be like I was with a huge hoard of toys everywhere that NEVER get played with.
Teen, 17 years old written by Ryu_Hayabusa

No. ive grown up with ads all my life from commercials (that i still see today) to seeing ads on a website when im playing a flash game really i dont think it will affect most kids i think they will just find it annoying (like i did) i just think csm is being a bit over protective
Adult written by vinelearning

Kids are always eager to see for those things whose have colorful and meaning less activities and they want to get that things at any cost. And now a days many ad have a lot of interesting and creative things involved that are more attractive mainly kids are affected a lot. Any how advertisements are harmful for kids but not in all aspects it can beneficial in the manner of teaching kids via creativity and imagination.