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Advertising & Marketing Findings

Kids today are bombarded by marketing and advertising at a dizzying pace. The combination of Big Tech and Fast Food or Junk Food make for a very sinister combination. Below we have aggregated and analyzed key research to show how children are being tracked and manipulated at the cost of their health and well-being, and eventually at the cost of society. If Big Tech is unregulated, its unsavory marriage to junk food and other unhealthy industries can wreak havoc on childhood. It already has, according to multiple research reports. We invite researchers in this field to send us your research so we can add to the open dialogue we must have with Big Tech and Fast Food. 

Research Summary

As children spend more than 9 hours a day online, they are being tracked by advertisers and marketers who have one goal in mind. To make billions of dollars at the expense of our children. We aggregated research reports that show a clear path between advertising and children's decisions which are taken when they are in key cognitive developmental stages. Big Tech collects data on our children, and there is little regulation in place to protect children from receiving constant messaging from aggressive advertising (AA) This has serious implications and outcomes for kids.

Key Takeaways

  • Teens and tweens are online between 7 and 9 hours a day, and this does not include educational screen time. They are bombarded by images and messages that are curated for them, by tracking their taste and choices.

  • Children are exposed to junk food ads and marketing, with beautifully filmed videos of food, ultra-processed and high in sugar and sodium . This leads to a range of health problems, many of which are long term and will last well into adulthood.

  • Children develop a taste for unhealthy food, and may also be exposed to alcohol and nicotine advertising. If parents aren't aware of the thousands of hoops they have to jump through to protect their children, there is a high chance their child is going to be exposed to marketing that is not appropriate. 

  • New social media platforms are popping up everywhere, and appeal to younger children.

  • The pandemic forced parents to hand technology over to children at much younger ages, and for longer hours, and the total outcome has been a rise in obesity, an unprecedented increase in childhood diabetes and fewer minutes of movement each day.  This is all very bad news indeed.

Sources

[1] McAlister, A. R., & Cornwell, T. B. (2009). Preschool children's persuasion knowledge: The contribution of theory of mind. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 28(2), 175-185.

[2] Moses, L. J., & Baldwin, D. A. (2005). What can the study of cognitive development reveal about children's ability to appreciate and cope with advertising? Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 24(2), 186-201.

[3] Rozendaal, E., Lapierre, M. A., Van Reijmersdal, E. A., & Buijzen, M. (2011). Reconsidering advertising literacy as a defense against advertising effects. Media Psychology, 14(4), 333-354.

[4] Buijzen, M. (2007). Reducing children's susceptibility to commercials: Mechanisms of factual and evaluative advertising interventions. Media Psychology, 9(2), 411-430.

[5] Lapierre, M.A., Fleming-Milici, F., Rozendaal, E., McAlister, A.R., & Castonguay, J. (2017)  The Effect of Advertising on Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 140(140S2). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1758V

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