We may not realize it, but the advertising our children are exposed to is shaping their lives, and not always for the better.
In the U.S. the average child is exposed to between 25,000 – 40,000 TV commercials annually. In the UK that number is 10,000. It is estimated that between $15 Billion, to $17 Billion is spent on advertising per year, and in 2009, $4 Billion was spent on fast food alone. This may be good for big business, but it is having an economic, social, health and environmental impact on society as a whole.
Children in the U.S. on average are watching 4.5 hours of TV a day, listening to music 2.5 hours, on the computer 1.5 hours, playing video games 1 hour, and reading 38 minutes. The average American child eats 3 snacks a day between meals. The average teen eats 34 teaspoons of sugar a day. Americans spend over $6.5 billion on candy each year and it is broken down as follows: 1 billion for Valentine’s; 1.4 billion for Christmas; 1.9 billion for Easter; and 2 billion for Halloween. With stats like those it is no wonder that 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese.
Being bombarded with advertising of unhealthy foods does not help the matter. Many countries have now banned advertisements of junk food during prime children viewing hours. Countries leading the way include: Europe, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Korea, and the Russia Federation. Where is the U.S. in all this mess? Oh right, the Government is run by big business, and there is certainly a lot of big business benefiting from advertising and selling unhealthy meals to our society.
For more information and additional stats check out: Targeting Children with Treats. This article “Children as Consumers” is another great article addressing the global issue of the economic, social, health, and environmental issues impacted by advertising to children.