This is an extract of our Children And Advertising document, which we sell as part of our Children & Youth Markets Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Exeter (Business School) students.
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Children & Advertising (Young, 2010)
What Do Child Psychologists Tell Us?During the first two years of life the child is in the sensori-motor period of development. Most of the child's behaviour is driven by information that is available through the sense which the affects the way the child behaves.According to Piaget, the world is not yet mentally represented by the child with thoughts and ideas. Childs minds at this age do not yet have symbolic representations. They have what he called a schemata, or mental structures, but these are only based on their actions.During the sensori-motor period from birth to two years, the child begins by acting on their surroundings with little regard for the nature of the environment.Gradually the child learns to act on the objects in their environment and take their characteristics into account when exploring them.At the level of action children develop from being egocentric at the beginning of the sensori-motor period to being allocentric later in that period.The next stage of development according to Piaget is the pre-operational period (2-7 years). During this period the child thinks that the world that they see is what the world is actually lie.Early on in this period the child is egocentric and thinks that their view is the same as everybody else's.This is followed by the concrete operational period (7-11 years) and the formal operational years (11+ years). It is not until the concrete operational period that the child can think and reason systematically about the world of objects or concrete reality.When children become older and enter the formal operational period they begin to reason abstractly and systematically. But they are still egocentric at this new level of abstract reasoning and cannot take into account other peoples views.During each period there is a gradual development from being egocentric to being allocentric.Little has been written about the children's consumer behaviour in infancy. However, it is known that:
From birth to 6 months the child will have made the first trip to the supermarket
The child will have established an association between the sights, smells and sounds of that place and the experience of being there will often be pleasurable.
oDuring the latter part of the second year of life the child can walk and talk so can start making requests.
At this age advertising is not seen as anything more than fun or entertaining and there is a general consensus that children under the age of 5 years do not understand the intent of advertising.Between the ages of 3 and 4 the child becomes more aware of the intentions and beliefs of others and more importantly begins to understand that these psychological states may differ from their own.This is important in regards to the child's understanding of advertising as advertisements are a form of communication where the sender often has different interests to the audience at the receiving end. Advertising is able to use rhetoric and present the virtues of the brand in a way that optimises the chances of a member of the audience being persuaded to buy.Between the ages of 6 to 7 children begin to separate advertising from other forms of communication.By the ages of 10 to 11 children are able to attribute persuasive intent to advertising. Children of parents with higher educational levels will tend to attribute persuasive intent at an earlier ageOlder children will tend to see adverts functioning more as persuaders than providing helpful information.
Do We Need To Regulate Advertising To Children
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