Sunday, February 12, 2006

Impressionable Young Minds

In church this morning, a group of children were asked what they could buy for a penny. The reverend's 8 year-old son responded that he could play the penny slots at the Argosy Casino for a penny. Everyone else laughed. I didn't, because I knew exactly where he got his answer. Advertising.

I guess the young boy's response was no surprise because children are incredibly impressionable and the pull of advertising is so strong. At what point do children differentiate advertising from content anyway? Young kids watching the Disney Channel probably don't flip channels during the commercials because are meant to be entertaining and maintain the same tone as the show they are watching. There is no question that this is effective, but is it right?

Clearly it is wrong to market cigarettes, alcohol and gambling to children, but as that little boy proved, they still soak up those messages. I think it is easy to forget how much advertising can affect people. It is a powerful tool, and we must remember that and respect it.


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