Is Television Advertising Good for Children? Areas of Concern and Policy Implications

Subir Bandyopadhyay
University of Ottawa
Gurprit Kindra
University of Ottawa
Lavinia Sharp
McGill University

INTRODUCTION

The roles of children in modern society are changing. Children continually assume larger roles in their homes, and are becoming further entrenched and involved in the shopping and buying habits of the households in which they live. Children are influenced by their surroundings, and this includes television and radio content. Studies show that nearly 61% of parents say 'Yes' to the demands of their children based on what they have seen on a TV advertisement (Hite and Eck, 1987). Hence, responsibility for this vitally important sector is becoming increasingly necessary as various controversial facets of television advertising continually emerge. Some of these controversial issues are as follows: Are children consumers? Is the selling intent of advertising understood by children? Are advertisers unfair to children? Are television commercials distinguishable from television pro gramming? Are children affected negatively by commercials? Finally, are children ready for interactive television?