Marketing Our Youth

American advertising is a large and formidable industry with expenditures approaching $250 billion in the United States alone, and more than $450 billion spent worldwide (Sivulka). A few of the largest advertisers are the manufactures of food, soft drinks, beer, and tobacco; a fact which has put many parents and child advocates on the defensive for years. Currently the US uses a system of voluntary corporate self-regulation to control and monitor the majority of advertising activity, which places very few restrictions on what type of advertising can be shown during which shows and how often. One of such restrictions was enacted in 1990 by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which ruled that advertising to children younger than 12 cannot exceed 12 minutes per hour on the weekdays and 10.5 minutes per hour on the weekends (Advertising Educational Foundation). This legislation was enacted in response to the reporting by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children younger than 8 years old lack the capacity to critically assess the commercials they see,” which means that you…



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