Effects of Fast Food TV Commercial on Children

Fast foods are foods that can be easily and quickly prepared and are readily available in snack bars and restaurants as quick meals. In the modern world, fast food continues to be popular due to the ease of preparation. Because of the different varieties of these foods, companies embark on aggressive approaches to entice consumers. Competition in this industry is stiff and requires the companies to uphold even stringent measures to attract more customers. One of the platforms that are mainly utilized is TV commercials. The ads tend to reach a wider consumer base. However, they also pose significant threats to the kids. Most of the adverts use children to pass the message, and in the process, they entice the same group. In the process, the kids become addicted to fast food, which is dangerous to their health. As this paper will strive to illustrate, fast food TV commercials are harmful to children.

Fast foods are typically associated with obesity. In other words, the heightened levels of junk foods consumption correlate with increased obesity levels. Obesity is a common issue across the globe. The condition is also associated with other ailments such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases, among others. Some of the contributing factors to obesity include TVs, fast foods, and video games. Children spend more time on TV than running around outside. Such kids face social issues like ridicule from peers that leads to depression and low self-esteem. As such, the heightened levels of fast-food TV commercials are injurious to the health of these kids. Fast food advertisements also tend to influence the kid’s dietary choices. In most of these adverts, the meals are portrayed as sweet and delicious, particularly through words and gestures as well as facial expressions. For instance, when someone is taking a bite on the ads, they normally gesture to imply the deliciousness of pizza or hot dog, among other foods. In the process, the kids are swayed to believe the food is delicious and purchase them. The television adverts convince innocent kids that junk food is good. Since the kids are susceptible and easily influenced, they should not be the target of the adverts. The kids cannot make their own informed choices; rather, they are swayed by other kids (used in adverts) to make their decisions. Prohibiting the adverts will, therefore, assist in reducing consumption, thereby lowering obesity.

Fast food TV commercials severe parent-child relations. These adverts are ethically unsound since they attract children, yet they cannot afford them. Whether cheap or expensive, children have to persuade their guardians to purchase the products for them. Instead of using a direct approach to parents, i.e. advertising directly to the parents, the corporations indulge in a “nag and whine” promotion that results in a bad feeling between the kids and their parents. Using the pester power to force adults to purchase the foods they are not willing to buy contravenes business ethics. Moreover, the kids have the propensity of liking and wanting all the advertised products, whether they comprehend them or not. Even as obesity rates are increasing, it is hard for children to be educated on the negative aspects of junk foods, yet many outlets provide persuasive messages on the same. The kids would rather believe the adverts than their tutors or parents on the issues surrounding fast foods. Therefore, it is imperative that the fast-food television adverts be prohibited so as to enhance the parent-child relations and prevent worsening of relationship.

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The television adverts mainly convey wrong information. Often, the foods are portrayed to be healthy and entail essential nutrients. However, most of the adverts are deal with commercials for fast food, snacks, and sweets. As per a 2007 research conducted by the American Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half the time used for advertisements on kid’s television is dedicated to food commercialization (Jolly, 2011). None of it is directed towards vegetables and fruits. As the study established, though the fast-food adverts extensively utilize taste to entice the consumer, the products are also linked to fun, contests, and newness. Other advertisements associate the products with physical activity and outline the health benefits gained through their consumption. Furthermore, the products are depicted to have essential nutrients. Using inappropriate means to attract consumers is not ethical. The adverts only utilize the vulnerability aspect among the kids to sell their products. When the children see how the products will make them grow bigger and faster, they are enticed into purchasing them. In that regard, prohibiting fast-food television adverts is the only way of safeguarding the children.

Counter Argument

On the contrary, everyone has the freedom to choose what to eat. There is no law prohibiting people from purchasing the kind of food they wish to eat. Therefore, kids are at liberty to consume fast foods. Even as the obesity rates are rising, the causes of this condition are abundant and prohibiting the commercials will not end the issue. As elucidated above, obesity is also caused by lack of physical activity and video games, among others. Even if one consumes healthy foods, without exercise, a person can still be obese. Therefore, restricting or stopping the ads does not imply that obesity will be lowered. It is also worth noting that this industry is one of the most prominent in the entire globe. In other words, the number of companies, especially in America selling fast foods is quite high. Some have even achieved globalization through these products. Banning the ads can result in loss of jobs due to reduced profits. In the process, it will affect the lifestyles of many people who are involved in this industry. It is the responsibility of parents and tutors to educate the kids on the dangers of fast foods. Since the kids have no money to buy the foods, parents make the ultimate decisions. It is, therefore, not sensible to imply that fast food advertisements are harmful to children.

Conclusion

As elucidate above, fast foods have severe effects on human health. Continuous consumption of junk foods leads to conditions such as obesity that also result in chronic ailments like diabetes. The kids cannot make independent decisions and are susceptible to influence. Through these adverts, children are swayed to believe that junk foods are healthy and fun. Without adequate guidance on the same, the children are enticed into begging for the foods. In that regard, it affects the parent-child relation since the parents are forced to buy what they are not willing. These aspects are harmful to kids. Nonetheless, no law prohibits the sale of fast foods. Even though they are harmful, it is the responsibility of the consumers, i.e. parents, to restrict kids from consuming the foods. Furthermore, limiting television adverts does not mean the rates of obesity will reduce. Without consideration of other factors like physical activity, it would be hard to eradicate the impacts of fast foods. In general, although the contrary views may seem to be justified, they do not outweigh the fact that fast food TV commercials are harmful to kids. The detrimental aspects of junk foods are abundant and need to be regulated. As such, the companies should be controlled on what to advertise to the kids. This might reduce the effects of junk foods, in particular among the kids.

 

Reference

Jolly, R. (2011). Marketing obesity? Junk food, advertising and kids. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1011/11rp09