Advertising to children is unethical

Advertising to children is unethical

Advertising to children is unethical

Children, in all their innocence, are often subjected to the ill effects of advertising gimmicks. They don’t know how to differentiate between reality and fantasy. They start believing in anything and everything they see without the least bit of awareness that what is shown could just be a fictitious representation of the reality which apparently differs a lot.

Everyone falls for well advertised products, let’s accept that first. Even adults are easily lured to buy some products that they did not intend to buy in the first place or might even have absolutely no necessity of. It is all about the marketing strategies that focus on how to lure customers into buying whatever they are selling.

When an advertisement targets children, they make in a way so luring that children go to the extent of throwing tantrums and stubborn crankiness just to make their parents get the product for them. Advertising to children has many cons which makes people think of it as unethical.


1. Altering opinion: Advertisements are so fascinating sometimes that kids begin to form an opinion based on what they see. Health drinks, for instance, are shown to be the reason behind the growing strength and stamina in children. They might start believing that those who take that particular drink are going to grow taller than them and perform well in exams and sports which is total rubbish. Parents might understand this but again children believe more of what they see than what they hear. This kind of opinion building based on advertisements could be harmful in growing children who are supposed to learn the opinion making skills with logics and reasoning.

2. Easily persuaded: Children below the age of 10 are mostly unable to understand that advertisements are mainly persuasive content. They are easily misled into believing that a certain product is what could make their life pretty much fun. Advertisers totally ignore this and sell out unethical advertisements targeting children which are more fictitious than reality. The vulnerability of a child is unethically misused to sell products.

3. Health damaging: The worst of all kind of advertisements to children are the ones where they lure children to try out food products that are unhealthy. Packed and processed junks are made to appear so delectable that even adults couldn’t keep their hands off. Children these days are known to suffer from various kinds of nutrition related syndromes and deficiencies and a major part is played by these unhealthy content advertisers. Advertisers must be careful that their ads do not send out wrong messages targeting children to indulge in unhealthy eating habits.

4. Stunting violence: Apparently our advertisers believe that kids playing around in mud are an excellent example of doing good deeds and later using their products to wash off the dirt. They totally ignore that children could get sick while doing that. Kids jumping around showing skills in bicycles are encouraged by those cycle selling advertisements that show kids fighting goons with the help of their bicycle. What are they teaching children just for the sake of making them restless to get their hands on that bike?

5. Materialism: Some amount of materialism or sometime even largely is promoted through advertisements targeting children. Obtaining a certain product could make a kid powerful and superior while not having them will make one inferior and the peer at school won’t be impressed. This kind of nonsense is well promoted in advertisements without being careful of what children learn from it. It is also astonishing to see that only highly expensive toys are advertised largely. Not all parents can afford them which again are bound to make the child more materialistic than ever. They start believing that they are suffering because they could not get that toy which is very popular among their peer group.


1. Consumer awareness: Advertisement companies have the sole intention of making their products popular. Children also form a big part of the consumer category and hence a large part of the advertisement if dedicated towards selling products to them. Study material and things that could help children develop their skills are also advertised which are mostly beneficial for children. These kinds of products are safe for advertisements to children and cannot be called unethical.

2. Parental guidance: Guidance of the parents is necessary for children in all spheres of life. In order for the children to understand what reality is and what fiction is, it is important that parents bond with the children enough to make them see through the persuasive content of the advertisement. Large billboards are targeting towards products meant for children and if parents are not available with the children to make them know the difference, they are not going to know it.

3. Start teaching them to differentiate: Advertisements of unethical products could be used as a lesson for children to be taught quite early. It is necessary that parents start explaining to the children to differentiate between good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, lure and reality, gimmick and its harms. This way the child will grow up to be more responsible and considerate of things around them. There is evil in everything and they have to be taught to categorize accordingly.

4. Learning skills: Kids these days are smarter than they used to be. They are not easy to persuade anymore. They know that everyone talks good about themselves and they can see past that. When Maggi was banned, it is astonishing to see reports that children were not the ones threw tantrums demanding the product that they once liked. Once they were told of the harmful effects of the product, they immediately withdrew from asking for it.

Parents are definitely accountable for what their children, see, eat and buy. The advertisement companies too need to more responsible while targeting advertisements to children. However, it is absolutely essential that advertisements that are deemed unethical be removed and banned completely. Only the products that impose no harm should be allowed to be advertised.
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  • RE: Advertising to children is unethical -sammy (08/09/16)
  • I am of the opinion that can have strong impact on childrens minds. As with great power comes great responsiblity. So media should be responsible while deciding which products to advertise and also they could advertise the products targeted towards kids which will teach them moral values.. general knowledge.. arise curiosity in current affairs for eg amul. Such use of advertising media for a social cause will only increase the good will of the brand being advertised.