Adverts 'pose little threat to children'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Television advertisements aimed at children are not a threat and do not need further regulation, it was claimed yesterday. Despite multi-million pound campaigns by advertisers, parents have far more influence over a child's attitude to spending money, a new study suggests.

Television advertisements aimed at children are not a threat and do not need further regulation, it was claimed yesterday. Despite multi-million pound campaigns by advertisers, parents have far more influence over a child's attitude to spending money, a new study suggests.

Adrian Furnham, a professor at University College London, says in his new book, Children & Advertising: The Allegations and the Evidence, that there is no evidence to support calls for stricter controls on the advertising of sweets, toys, music and other goods aimed at children.

"Parents have nothing to fear from advertising," he said. "Children are far more sophisticated consumers than popularly imagined. When children are as young as three they can tell ads from programmes and by the time they are seven they realise that advertisements can mislead.

"Data show that children between three and 13 spend only 1.4 per cent of their waking time watching TV ads."

Professor Furnham's findings are based on more than 20 studies which he has carried out on children as consumers.

But he is not arguing for complacency. Parents should teach their children to handle money more responsibly, he advised. "Parenting styles and peer influence are central in forming a child's pattern of consumption.

"The evidence shows that an authoritative parenting style which lays down rules and expectations, but also explains decisions to children and values the child's point of view, is more likely to nurture responsibility in children," he said.

"Agreeing rules about pocket money and what it should and should not pay for helps turn children into responsible consumers."

Comments