The Effect Of Television Advertisement On Children Mental Development

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

The Effect Of Television Advertisement On Children Mental Development


The general purpose of advertising is to create awareness and educate consumers on the existing products promotion in television and also new products. This pre-supposes that advertisement is effect because people see how the product is advertised on television. Most kids play into the world of television long before they enter school. NTA-Oyo State is an existing and prominent television station in the East and applied the use of advertisement to sell out product and services. The question this study tends to resolve is how advertising has and advertisement impacted the mental development of children

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Television is incorporated within the child?s experience as it becomes part of the child’s inner world. In discussing about television and evolutional development of T.V, someone may wonder how television affects a child of ten to eighteen year. But it is apparent that the young child is dominated by this TV. Children learn to read pictures they understand. In the watching of television, all the children see in reality and events do not follow the social order of the story. It is by observation of social relationship and by minor reflections of self that the child is socialized. Dumped mostly prematurely into the twentieth century, it is hardly surprising that the child still relies on what he sees as the deception of reality.

Television is one of the strongest medium of advertisement, because due to its mass reach, it can influence not only the individual’s attitude, behavior, life style, exposure and other aspects but even the culture of the country. Children of course are the most awful victims of TV influences. Its effects on the children are universal in nature. But magnitude of TV influence varies from child to child, depending on factors like age and individuality of the child, their viewing pattern that includes duration of TV watching, types of programs, and direction provided by the parents. Total population of Nigeria is nearly 180 million. And 43.40% are children of age group between 11-15 years (Federal Bureau of Statistics, 2009). Nearly 66% of Nigerian households have one or more teenagers. 30% of the household contain children under the age of 10 year who will be the next generation. Total Nigerian population of 180 million contains nearly 30 million adolescents (10-19 year old). Girls aged 20-24 years married by the age of 18 are 32%. 30% of teenagers in Nigeria have never gone to school, although this figure is greater for girls i.e. 44% and 36% for adolescents living in rural areas of Nigerian. Approximately one third of adults work in either paid or unpaid employment (excluding housework) but lot of adolescent girls holds housework activities (Office of the Population Association of Nigeria, 2009). TV viewing has its positive and negative aspects. On the negative side, excessive TV viewing brings laziness and idleness and thus creates childhood obesity, and materialism. Children who watch excessive television may be the ones who do not take participation in games and are consumers of fat and high energy snack foods.

Commercials could be attributed as misleading. They do not expose the foods children should eat to keep themselves healthy. Television viewers consider it a mode of relaxation, when they are watching TV, and this state continues until television sets are on. Different sports and hobbies consisting physical work are the source of energy whereas Television viewing is a source of useless energy (Bartsch and London, 2000). On the other side, positive impacts of television viewing are that it helps in enlightening audience knowledge, provide information, educate them and make available skills how to handle different people in different situations. Television is a persistent medium which is everytime available to nearly all children. Most of the children around the globe almost spend about three to four hours daily watching television. In the start, children face problems in understanding television programs. But being immediate learners, they can make balanced decisions about right or wrong under proper guidance of the parents. Thus it is desirable for the parents of young children to monitor the TV viewing habits oftheir children (Bartsch and London, 2000).Children are the most precious asset for the parents. Now, nowhere is a component that more friendly with them (with the development of the working culture of both parents) and sharply reflect messages than TV. In South Asia, especially in the Sri Lankan context, a very few number of studies have so far investigated the consumer behavior of children. From those, not a single study revealed the impact of television commercials on the behavior of children. In Sri Lanka, more than twelve TV channels air over 20,000 advertisements per day through their TV programs: including children’s programs and non-children’s programs. Other than station owned TV channels, cable TV networks are also dominant in some areas of the country. There are several product advertisements that are specially aimed at children; breakfast foods, sugared snacks/drinks, healthy foods, fast foods and some of the services (bank accounts, insurance schemes, restaurants, etc.). Most of the advertisements aired by TV stations come under food categories -breakfast and sugared products. In Nigeria, more than 260 millionsnaira per year is spent on milk powder advertisements andover eighty percent of that money goes to TV advertisements which are mostly targeted at children.

The advertisements aimed at children specially using fun/happiness appeal to address children. There are several advertisements that target parents using very attractive child models. These advertisements capture children’s attention, recalling of particular advertised product, enhanced. But it is very difficult to define who the ‘children’ are and what the ‘children aimed advertisements’ are? In general definitions ‘children’ are below the age of 18 years and ‘children targeted ads’ are those which give advice, information and influence them. But in accordance with the survey, ‘children’ are below twelve years of age and advertisements which use child-models, cartoon characters, animations and those which are able to get their attraction, recalling power and active participation are considered as ‘children targeted ads’. Children are assuming larger roles in house hold decision making and have also emerged as independent consumers (George Willson& Katie Wood 1994). So, children can be identified as a primary market component through implementing their own buying decisions and them as an influencers on their parents decision making process. Childhood experiences that they get through television interaction will be highly influenced in the future, as they are also the potential adult consumers. Children pass through the following five stages of their development and the influence of television through the advertising campaigns to create purchasing and consumption attitudes of advertised products in children’s mind is considerable (Mcneal 1993). • Observing the advertised product through the interaction with the advertisements. • Making requests by pointing, gesturing, and making statements to parents when they see the products which they are familiar through advertisements. • Making selections by choosing and taking the particular products. • Assisting parents in family decisions. • Making independent purchases.

Commercial appeals to children, however, did not become common place until the advent and wider spread adoption of the television. A variety of studies using different methodologies found that children recall content from the ads to which they have been exposed and their influence on the family decision making process, pestering power, imitating advertising heroes have also increased by the repeated exposure of kids targeted advertisements. Parent- child conflicts occur when parents deny their kids’ requests that were stimulated by advertising and it has a cumulative effect on children’s habits. Several studies had found strong association between increases in advertising on non nutrition foods and rates of childhood obesity. Children targeted TV advertisements in Sri Lanka will be the most common problem in the near future rather than the current situation, unless parents are aware of this disaster and if responsible authorities do not take necessary action to ban or minimize the harmful effects of TV advertisement

As we accept that television and advertising affects the children’s linearity in thought starting with the onset prints, since the young child is exclusively concerned with here and now of the present which is sufficient by demanding of his intelligence. Advertising through television presents awesome advantages; they always make sure that through television advertising, each person’s idea, viewpoints and services are given equitable space to express veritable information about their products for the wellbeing of the society in general.

There are some advertisements of some products which are not good for the seeing of children. In this study we will be looking at one of the products:

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The general purpose of advertising is to create awareness and educate consumers on the existing products promotion in television and also new products. This pre-supposes that advertisement is effect because people see how the product is advertised on television. Most kids play into the world of television long before they enter school. NTA-Oyo State is an existing and prominent television station in the East and applied the use of advertisement to sell out product and services. The question this study tends to resolve is how advertising has and advertisement impacted the mental development of children?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study were:

  1. To ascertain the influence of television advertisement on children.
  2. To find out if children are guided when watching television.
  3. To find out some anti-social behaviors children copy when exposed to television advertisements.

1.4 Research Questions

The study had the following research questions.

  1. To what extent are children influenced by television advertisements?
  2. To what extent are children guided when watching television?
  3. What anti social behaviours do children copy when exposed to advertisements?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following research questions were relevant to this study.

  1. H0: Television Advertisements does not influences the mental development of children negatively
    H1: Television Advertisements influences the mental development of children negatively.
  2. H0: The television rights of children are not protected on TV watching.
    H2: The television rights of children are protected on TV watching.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study looked at the effect of television Advertisement on the mental development of children in many ways; countries present how children learn from television advertisement. In a nation like Nigeria, efforts have to be put in place for effective growth and development. Therefore, this study is necessary in other to have a better understanding of this media of communication as television on how it influences, impacts and affects out behaviors mostly on children and also to eradicate the ignorance that is common with administrators.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study of television advertisement on children is a topic that concerns the moral development of children. The research is de-limited to a product which is not very suitable for the seeing of the children.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Operational definitions of the terms were used


Influence is defined as an element believed to determine someone’s character or individual tendencies or the ability to change the development of fluctuating things such as behaviors.


Advertising can be defined as a form of paid public announcement intended to promote the sale of a product or service to bring out some other effect desired by the advertising agency or is a form of communication through such diverse media as posters, billboards, newspapers, magazines, radio etc.

Mental Development:

It is basically the construction of mind activity such as thought process, memory, problem solving and decision making as well as overall intelligence.


Television is a system of transmitting and reviewing of images over a great distance which means seeing at a distance, it contains both sound and visuals.


A child can be described as a young human being boy or girl, newborn who has not reached the age of discretion. We talk about a child?s upbringing for his home of today does not go together with counseling from parents that could lead the child to end up in a hard way. However, the child is a gift from God and parents are but caretakers.

Cultural Factor:

The cultural background of the child also determines their intellectual growth.

Genetic Inheritance

Children can inherit quite a number of behaviours from parents, for example intelligence can be inherited so also gentleness, meekness etc.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the impact of television advertisement on the mental development of children.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of television advertisement on children mental development.

5.2 Summary

With a considerable group of children and their parents, this research explored, to measure the extent to which children influence their parent’s decision making with regards to product choices and consumption patterns. Both parents and their children in this study agreed on the influence exerted by the children and the study found out that the children have pestered power, and their own disposable income. Furthermore, Consequences of over exposure to TV advertising make children more vulnerable and violent.

5.3 Conclusion

The focus of the study was to determine the effects of television advertising on the mental development of children. Television advertising on children could influence determinants such as unnecessary purchasing, low nutritional food, and materialism. In today’s media oriented society, almost every children is bombarded continuously with mass media messages including over hundreds advertisements every day, from television, radio, movies, video/computer games, Internet, music CDs, billboards, newspapers, magazines, clothing, packaging and other marketing materials. Many of these messages include low nutritional food, violent and materialism contents that are usually attractive to children as they are largely intended target audience in most commercials and advertisements. Such daily exposure to many forms of the mass media has a tremendous impact upon thinking, values, purchases, food intake, attitude, and actions of children.

5.4 Recommendations

Research evidence tends to suggest that television advertising results in obesity, created by taking food that is unhealthy, low in nutrition, and high in SSF. It is also suggested that over a long time, heavy watching of brutal advertisements and programmes enhance the likelihood of a disposition towards aggressive behavior amongst children. Cultivated as consumers at very early ages, children are trained to desire foods and beverages whose typical consumption may compromise their health

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