How does media affect your children?
A few days back I went to my cousin’s place and found out that her 3 years old daughter wasn’t having dinner because they didn’t buy her some expensive new doll from the toy shop, that she saw on the Disney Channel. I couldn’t believe how a child that age can react so aggressively towards buying something. I started researching on this topic and found out that these days marketers even target kids of ages 2-5, for their influence over parents’ spending (using the nag factor to sell their products!).
I do think it’s a fascinating how saturated the kids’ market is with advertisements, TV shows only targeting children and I personally think these marketing techniques are something that parents need to become aware of. As I researched, I started thinking about my childhood. To be honest, as a child, we weren’t even aware of all the fancy options we had. So what has changed? I think it’s the only source of entertainment we have in Pakistan, the TV. And more importantly the media. With new sources of communication like cable and Internet etc, the rate of consumption has definitely increased, but how does it affect children? Well, half the times, parents aren’t even aware of the kind of TV shows their child is watching, for them anything on TV that keeps the child busy is good.
If you study today’s marketing in depth, you’d notice that things are now advertised as “buy this or you can never be happy!”. It’s now a compulsion to own something rather than an option. And a child’s innocent brain certainly can’t judge these weird tactics or look beyond the message that is given by the marketers. If we observe the kids these days, as they have more exposure to the idiot -box (the TV), they watch all these “harmless and innocent” animations, cartoons, TVCs, all trying to sell something to them one way or the other, which results into this strange, stubborn attitude that if he doesn’t have the product that’s being advertised they will either hurt you or themselves. It’s disturbing. And then the parents ask where does this behavior come from?
Another major problem is that since there is no concept of parental guidance in Pakistan, children are exposed to all sorts of media entertainment and it naturally has a great impact on the their personalities. As children’s behaviors change it also changes their attitudes towards wanting or buying goods. The only solution is that the parents need to keep an eye on every source of entertainment or knowledge that is imparted to their children.