Effect Of Television Adverts On Children

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Effect Of Television Adverts On Children


Television advertisements are considered as one of the most effective source to influence the children’s buying behavior. In this study we examine how TV advertisements are associated with children’s behavior in today’s children from AMAC area of the FCT. We investigate the impact of different types of TV advertisements that was Food Advertisement, Violent advertisement, Music advertisement, Exposure in Advertisement and Repetition of Advertisement on children’s buying behavior. This research goals to answer the questions that whether the residential background of children i.e. rural, urban has a changeable impact on the behavior due to the television advertisements. We also compare the impact of television advertisements among having different educational background and among those having different income level households. For this purpose, we visited different areas in AMAC and checked the response of children’s parent. The current study is based on primary data which is conducted on a 5 – point Likert scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, / 2 = Disagree, / 3 = Neutral, / 4 = Agree, / 5 = Strongly Agree) questionnaire. Different households were selected at random and a total of 175 questionnaires were circulated, but we recorded 150 questionnaires so the response rate was 87 %. The collected data was analyzed and we run correlation and regression analysis through SPSS. The results exposed that there is positive and significant relationship of all independent variables with Children’s behavior. The results of the research paper show that all class of people are agree with the statement that television advertisements have considerably influenced their children’s behaviors. Finally, we have some findings, limitations, conclusions and suggestions which has been written in this study.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Television advertisement represents one of the several stimuli to which children are exposed, like other kinds of stimuli existing within their environment. Television advertisement has a powerful tendency to influence children’s behaviour and general way of life, thus study examines the kind of influences or effects advertising on television can have on children.

Seventy-six years ago, in 1928 to be precise, a new dimension in communication and publicity was introduced into the Nigerian commercial and social life by the United African Company [UAC]. This new dimension was advertising. Through its West African publicity, the company was able to execute and implement its advertising objectives in the whole of West Africa with Nigeria as its headquarters.

During this period however, little attention was paid to the impact which advertising had on children, instead emphasis were laid on the eradication of the monopoly posed by foreign advertisement, creation of awareness among the people of the new service and the winning and retention of clientele (Nwosu 1.1987).

Nigeria was not alone in this struggle; even the United States of America has its own share of society of research in this area of study. In this regard, Brown (1976) had noted the in-availability of studies in this field when he pointed out: “surprisingly, little published research exists in this area”. Investigators in America have examined the effects of television programmes on children, but they have not been concerned with television advertisement. However, much research in the united state of America has examined the effect of television adverts, but the focus has been on adults rather than children.

Palmer (1980) remarks that the concern over the effects of television advertisement on children can be traced back at least to 1969, when the National Association of Broadcasters in Britain adopted guidelines regulating toy advertisement on television to children. However, only within the past few years has children television emerged as a major national policy issue. Today, the principle that children are a special television audience deserving special protection in terms of advertising has been widely accepted by both industry and government policy makers.

One reason why advertising aimed at children did not emerged as an issue until relatively recently is that for many years, broadcasters did not consider their audience of children viewers as a particularly valuable market for advertisers. For instance, the first major study on American children and television makes only passing mention of advertising.

Other surveys of audience attitudes about effects reported that listeners disliked commercial which used “hard sell” techniques, commercials which interrupted programmes (lazarsfeld and Kendall, 1948). The possible adverse effect of TV advertisement on children was not mentioned as an issue at all. Infact, nowhere in the surveys were children mentioned as a subject of special concern in terms TV advert.

It was only recently that concern over the effects of TV advert on children began to draw the attention of some consumer groups in America, Britain and other advanced countries. Planner (1980) acknowledges that concern over the effects of TV advert on children started as a result of effects by consumer groups, such as Action for children TV (ACT) in 1971 and the council on children, media and merchandising with assistance from the accumulated research evidence on the effects of TV adverts on children.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The problem associated with the effects of TV adverts on children can be social, economic, and psychological. According to Earl and Martins (1977), the social problems associated with it includes, tendency towards drug and violence, imitation of stereotypes seen on TV and a general tendency towards crime. In terms of economic costs, it involves the more money required to deal with its undesirable effects.

Studying the “Incidence of drug abuse among Nigerian youths”, Jorgenson 1 (1988) found that other long-term problems which TV adverts might have on children and the family at large include shattered homes, wreckage on the child and increased societal lawlessness and crime. Jorgenson further pointed out that such adverts give the child the feeling that whatever is presented in a TV advert is the absolute truth.

Dr. Theophilus Okoro2 of the psychiatric hospital Enugu addressed the issue, in a paper titled “Advertising, that benefits for children”, Dr. Okoro observed that TV advert has the ability to make the child less his true sense of personal judgment. He cited the coca-cola advert as a typical example in which children that has been exposed to the advert for a long time to regard and identify every soft drink as simply coca-cola. Libert et al (1973) have linked this behaviour to the amount of time children devote to watching TV.

A study conducted in America by Wright et al (1978) has discovered that the typical child spends more of his or her time in the company of the TV set. Such children have been found to exhibit such characteristics as reciting off hand the jingles associated with the adverts and at times acting in synchronization with the actors as the advert is relayed on TV. The effects of TV commercials on children give more concern on realization that many kinds of bejaviour exhibited by children are learned by observation.

Bendura (1969) has pointes out the increasing resemblance of children’s social behaviour to that of adult models, parents and TV stars. Because the child’s age and level of reasoning cannot enable the child to efficiently evaluate information he is exposed to, he/she seems to evaluate these aspects of life that seem ideal to his own aspirations. Thus, the influences and effects are made on the aspirations. Thus, the influence and effects are made on the child unconsciously, perhaps this is why Wright et al (1978 ) have cautioned; “children being vulnerable to influence their case warrants especial consideration”.

It is based on these that the effects of TV advert on children require an independent and serious study since adverts influence on the child will affect the family and society at large. Kemiston (1974) has noted that the wish of parents that their children grow into responsible and influential members of the society is shattered when children come into direct contact with external stimuli in their environment. He has identified TV with his borage of adverts and programmes as an essential instrument in this formation, noting that the entire societal ecology-from TV to packaged foods are responsible for the child’s future personality.

Some researchers are however undecided on the actual effects of TV adverts on children. Wright et al contend that determining whether TV advert does or leads to the corruption of children by instilling values which are not acceptable in our society is a difficult assignment”. Wrights assertion further show why it has become more imperative to really establish the actual effects of TV adverts on children.

This research therefore, examines the followings:

  1. The extent to which children rely on stereotypes presented on TV.
  2. The various control measures aimed at reducing the negative effects of TV adverts.
  3. The role which a child’s sex, age and other independent variables play on the child’s belief and attitude towards the TV adverts.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of our research is to find out the theoretically and experimentally the relation of the TV advertisements with children’s behavior.

Our specific objectives include

  1. To find out either parental education matter in the condition that TV advertisements have impact on children’s buying behavior or not.
  2. To find out that TV advertisements have positive effect on children or negative.
  3. To find out that which factors have more impact on children buying behavior.
  4. To find out that the children from different residences (Rural, Urban) are equally affected by TV advertisements or have any difference in their behavior.
  5. To find out the responses of TV viewing hours towards the TV advertisement on children buying behavior.

1.4 Significance of this Study

In one way, this type of study is very essential and helpful for every sort of industry who wants to increase the sales of their product. By this research we can evaluate that how the business zone and all the advertising agencies can progress in their commercials to attract a major portion of the population. This research can play a vital role because we can take decisions according to the results of the research. If results of the research show that television advertisements haven’t influence on children’s buying behavior, then companies can take the decision that they shouldn’t make those type of advertisements in which they attack on children’s buying behavior and vice versa.

But in another way, this research is also helpful for our society to guide the future of our children against the objectionable and undesirable effects of TV advertisements. It is also expected that this research would significantly add to already existing body of facts and figures, mostly, on the influence of television advertisements on children’s behavior and on media effects.

1.5 Hypothesis of the Study

In order to achieve the objective of this study, the following hypotheses were formulated and tested

  • H1: Exposure in television advertisement significantly impact on children behavior
  • H2: Children’s age group significantly impact on children behavior
  • H3: Gender power advertisement significantly impact on children behavior
  • H4: Repetition of television advertisement significantly impact on the children behavior
  • H5: Food advertisement significantly impact on the children behavior

1.6 Research Question

Advertisements from any source about different products always have a great impact on children’s behavior but as children mostly watch television advertisements so the mostly pay their intention on TV advertisements. Children always want to buy and taste new brand or they purchase new products due to their most favorite and ideal personality. That’s why it is important to point out the reason of children’s buying behavior due to TV advertisements, the following question comes in the mind.

“How the children’s buying behavior is change after watching the television advertisements?”

1.7 Scope / Limitation of the study

This study was carried out in Amac area of Abuja. Nigerian capital city.

Limitations of study

As my research is academic research so there is some limitations, because it is impossible to control all variables. I only selected Gujrat city households and there nearby rural and semi urban areas as my study population because it is easy to me to approach them. I only selected sample of 150 based on both male and female respondents because of limitation of time.

Chapter Five

Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

Now a day’s television advertisements have a very strong grip in conveying any material or information regarding to any product and item they want to sell in the market. Day by day TV advertisement is regularly and consistently changing and coming up with brand new ideas, improvements and innovations to show its products on TV for the viewers especially for children to get influenced and then buy that advertised product. In our study, we are checking that TV advertisement impacts on children’s behavior or not. TV advertisements mostly targets children as we all know that children have some weak insights about the goods and products which are best for them and which aren’t best for them. So the product advertised on the TV have a great impact on children. In our research the results of our study are helpful and positive and the average response rate of the study lies between satisfy or agree and strongly agree or satisfy. So, we have come to a conclusion that the respondents are almost agreed with the statement that TV advertisements have an impact on children behavior and their buying attitude. The results of average describe that if children watch more television advertisement then they influence their parents to buy something that were advertised on TV.

The results of the correlation analysis describe that there is positive linear correlation with dependent variable that is children behavior and overall except few cases. So, it means that there is a linear relationship between most of the factors with children’s behavior. If the correlation between the variables is positive, then it means that variables do help of each other and have coordination among each other.

The children influenced very much by those products which are being advertised on TV. We also conclude that the too much publicity and exposure of the specific products shown by TV advertisements effect the children. Children’s perceptions and awareness about the products is getting stronger and stronger day by day due to the repetition of the TV advertisements. So, the repetition of the television advertisements also put a very strong impact on the children’s mind and behavior to buy that specific product which was advertised in the television advertisement which is being repeated frequently. So, the repetition of the advertisement has an impact on the children’s attitude.

The negatively shown in the television advertisements by the reverse gender acting and performing in the TV advertisement is also putting a strong effect on the children’s behavior. It is influencing negatively on the child due to the opposite gender is acting in the television advertisement. The violence shown in TV advertisement is also influencing on the behavior of the children, as we know that violence leads children towards aggressive and destructive behavior and aggressive attitude leads children towards violence. So the violence in television advertisement is influencing strongly on the attitude and behavior of the children towards violence after watching the violence advertisement.

The Food advertisements have an effect on children as the children copy the food which is advertised on TV and acts done by their favorite celebrities or their personal favorite superstars performing in the advertisement. The child tries to buy and eat the food items and goods that entertained on television shown in advertisements. The acts of celebrities performing food acts influence on the attitude and behavior of the children a lot. So in the end we conclude that the television advertisements lead the children towards influential, forceful and aggressive attitude that results leading the children towards a change on their behavior.

Children’s Age group isn’t matter a lot but it also has an impact on children’s behavior as the age of the children increase they’re more influencing their parents to buy that particular product which is being advertised on television screen. So, we can conclude that by changing in the age, children are more impatient about buying that specific product which might be food item or any other item.

5.2 Recommendations:

The evaluation we did from the study of this research and we hereby recommend some steps to the parents to make some recommendation for their children. Parents have to serve as model and make a time table of how to watch television, as gatekeeper permitting or disproving approach to the TV and also interpret the content of television that which type of channel their children can watch. Parents have to watch television when the child is watching television because the parents could monitor and operate television and child learn which advertisement they have permission to see and which is not. Parents most of time did not remain with the children every time so the parents have to negotiate with children’s and tell them about the advertisement what is it for. Make rules and strict to them, but allow them up to some extent. Don’t allow the children to break the guidelines and rules that you made for them and the timing you set for the watching of television. In start early ages, because in early ages you can growth and mold their children at any place in any shape but not when it gets older. Defines the time limit for them to be in there and slowing develop that if any advertisement occurs just change the station. The parents can make them earn their television period by finishing the homework or tasks or playing outside for a while. If the child watches, see advertisement which really make him happy just open permission to him about that advertisement to watch than the child more attracts towards that advertisements instead of the others. Don’t let your children to watch anything, which just dangerous for him in its early age and the separate television set for the children in its room also creates the problems so parents have to call their children when the parents are watching television, which make habit of children to watch television with parents mostly.

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