The effects of commercial advertising on children

Reinhold Berger

This paper examines recent published research into the effects of advertising on children in the light of public concern. It states a series of hypotheses on which much public criticism appears to be based and demonstrates that they are not supported by the evidence of researchers into child psychology and advertising. It argues that undesirable and anti-social behaviour by children is not the result of some simple stimulus-response mechanism. Up till now, no serious study has been able to prove a direct and exclusive link between advertising and juvenile purchasing or other forms of behaviour. However, a number of studies have shown that the most important influences on a wide range of children's attitudes and behaviour are parental, family, peer-group and other social factors.