Journal Issue: Children and Electronic Media Volume 18 Number 1 Spring 2008
Marketing to children and adolescents is a way of life in the United States. Children have both their own disposable income and influence over what their parents buy, and marketers attempt to determine how those dollars are spent. Television now reaps most of the advertising dollars, but newer technologies are providing new ways for marketers to reach children. Marketing practices such as repetition, branded environments, and free prizes are effective in attracting children's attention, making products stay in their memory, and influencing their purchasing choices. Immature cognitive development, however, limits the ability of children younger than eight to understand the persuasive intent of commercials. Thus, public policy regulates how advertisers can interact with children via television. Online environments are now and probably always will be less heavily regulated than more traditional media. Although marketing and advertising fuel the U.S. economy, the cost of that economic success requires considerable scrutiny.