It was at this time the networks discovered that to remain financially viable, they would have to find additional advertising audience outside of the adult prime-time audiences that the advertisers had previously catered to (Adler, 1980).Allen Kanner, a psychologist from Berkley University warns, “Advertising to kids is like shooting fish in a barrel” (Cooper, 2004). Kanner is one of 60 psychologists who have voiced their concerns to the (APA) regarding television advertisements to children. They are not alone in their concern. Several countries have legislated restrictions for the advertising to children. Greece, for example, prohibits toy commercials between the hours of 7 a. and 10 p.; Sweden prohibits all television commercials targeted at children younger than 12. Norway, Finland and Denmark do not permit children’s programs to contain commercial advertising. Another example, Canada’s Broadcasting Code “severely restricts children’s advertising, bans ads implying that a product will make a child happier or more popular” (Cooper, 2004). According to findings in these countries and in studies conducted by the APA, eight-year-old children and younger can’t understand the concept that advertisements serve a different purpose than does other television shows. They totally believe what the images and sounds on the television tell them so advertising to them is ‘like shooting fish in a barrel.’ Advertising to young children takes full advantage of their naiveté, a practice that, in any other context is generally illegal and unquestionably immoral (Kunkel et al, 2004).Television commercials promoting foods often misrepresent their products to impressionable children, as well as adults, regarding the product’s nutritional values, or lack of. “Health experts believe that constant promotion of high-calorie food is contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States by encouraging preferences for junk food and contributing to poor eating habits” (Byrd-Bredbenner & Grasso, 2000). To no one’s surprise, a strong association is present between obesity and the amount of time spent watching television. The wide-spread problem, known as the ‘couch-potato’ syndrome, is likely caused by the ingestion of snack foods which are high in calories and fat content while watching television. As children watch their favorite shows, they are enticed
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