1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Television advertisement represents one of the several stimuli to which children are exposed, like other kinds of stimuli existing within their environment. Television advertisement has a powerful tendency to influence children’s behaviour and general way of life, thus study examines the kind of influences or effects advertising on television can have on children. Seventy-six years ago, in 1928 to be precise, a new dimension in communication and publicity was introduced into the Nigerian commercial and social life by the United African Company [UAC]. This new dimension was advertising. Through its West African publicity, the company was able to execute and implement its advertising objectives in the whole of West Africa with Nigeria as its headquarters. During this period however, little attention was paid to the impact which advertising had on children, instead emphasis were laid on the eradication of the monopoly posed by foreign advertisement, creation of awareness among the people of the new service and the winning and retention of clientele (Nwosu 1.1987).
Nigeria was not alone in this struggle; even the United States of America has its own share of society of research in this area of study. In this regard, Brown (1976) had noted the in-availability of studies in this field when he pointed out: “surprisingly, little published research exists in this area”. Investigators in America have examined the effects of television programmes on children, but they have not been concerned with television advertisement. However, much research in the united state of America has examined the effect of television adverts, but the focus has been on adults rather than children. Palmer (1980) remarks that the concern over the effects of television advertisement on children can be traced back at least to 1969, when the National Association of Broadcasters in Britain adopted guidelines regulating toy advertisement on television to children. However, only within the past few years has children television emerged as a major national policy issue. Today, the principle that children are a special television audience deserving special protection in terms of advertising has been widely accepted by both industry and government policy makers.
One reason why advertising aimed at children did not emerged as an issue until relatively recently is that for many years, broadcasters did not consider their audience of children viewers as a particularly valuable market for advertisers. For instance, the first major study on American children and television makes only passing mention of advertising. Other surveys of audience attitudes about effects reported that listeners disliked commercial which used “hard sell” techniques, commercials which interrupted programmes (lazarsfeld and Kendall, 1948). The possible adverse effect of TV advertisement on children was not mentioned as an issue at all. Infact, nowhere in the surveys were children mentioned as a subject of special concern in terms TV advert.
It was only recently that concern over the effects of TV advert on children began to draw the attention of some consumer groups in America, Britain and other advanced countries. Planner (1980) acknowledges that concern over the effects of TV advert on children started as a result of effects by consumer groups, such as Action for children TV (ACT) in 1971 and the council on children, media and merchandising with assistance from the accumulated research evidence on the effects of TV adverts on children.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The problem associated with the effects of TV adverts on children can be social, economic, and psychological. According to Earl and Martins (1977), the social problems associated with it includes, tendency towards drug and violence, imitation of stereotypes seen on TV and a general tendency towards crime. In terms of economic costs, it involves the more money required to deal with its undesirable effects.
Studying the “Incidence of drug abuse among Nigerian youths”, Jorgenson 1 (1988) found that other long-term problems which TV adverts might have on children and the family at large include shattered homes, wreckage on the child and increased societal lawlessness and crime. Jorgenson further pointed out that such adverts give the child the feeling that whatever is presented in a TV advert is the absolute truth. Dr. Theophilus Okoro2 of the psychiatric hospital Enugu addressed the issue, in a paper titled “Advertising, that benefits for children”, Dr. Okoro observed that TV advert has the ability to make the child less his true sense of personal judgment. He cited the coca-cola advert as a typical example in which children that has been exposed to the advert for a long time to regard and identify every soft drink as simply coca-cola. Libert et al (1973) have linked this behaviour to the amount of time children devote to watching TV. A study conducted in America by Wright et al (1978) has discovered that the typical child spends more of his or her time in the company of the TV set. Such children have been found to exhibit such characteristics as reciting off hand the jingles associated with the adverts and at times acting in synchronization with the actors as the advert is relayed on TV. The effects of TV commercials on children give more concern on realization that many kinds of bejaviour exhibited by children are learned by observation.
Bendura (1969) has pointes out the increasing resemblance of children’s social behaviour to that of adult models, parents and TV stars. Because the child’s age and level of reasoning cannot enable the child to efficiently evaluate information he is exposed to, he/she seems to evaluate these aspects of life that seem ideal to his own aspirations. Thus, the influences and effects are made on the aspirations. Thus, the influence and effects are made on the child unconsciously, perhaps this is why Wright et al (1978 ) have cautioned; “children being vulnerable to influence their case warrants especial consideration”. It is based on these that the effects of TV advert on children require an independent and serious study since adverts influence on the child will affect the family and society at large. Kemiston (1974) has noted that the wish of parents that their children grow into responsible and influential members of the society is shattered when children come into direct contact with external stimuli in their environment. He has identified TV with his borage of adverts and programmes as an essential instrument in this formation, noting that the entire societal ecology-from TV to packaged foods are responsible for the child’s future personality.
Some researchers are however undecided on the actual effects of TV adverts on children. Wright et al contend that determining whether TV advert does or leads to the corruption of children by instilling values which are not acceptable in our society is a difficult assignment”. Wrights assertion further show why it has become more imperative to really establish the actual effects of TV adverts on children. This research therefore, examines the followings:
1. The extent to which children rely on stereotypes presented on TV.
2. The various control measures aimed at reducing the negative effects of TV adverts.
3. The role which a child’s sex, age and other independent variables play on the child’s belief and attitude towards the TV adverts.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study will focus on selected TV adverts with a view to ascertaining the followings:
a) To find out the various reasons why children watch TV adverts.
b) To determine the extent to which the child’s response or practices behaviours acquired from viewing TV adverts.
c) The study also aims at determining the role of TV adverts in the child’s socialization.
d) To know the particular advert that interests the children most in television.
e) To know if children like other adverts apart from TV adverts.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Children constitute an essential fragment of every home, and society. Consequently, the society and the government in particular pay a lot a attention to all issues affecting the welfare of the children, the effecs, which adverts have on children, constitute one of such issues. If not checked, such effects of TV advert are likely to make the child develop along negative lines. The significance of this study is a therefore to outline and examine these factors in a TV advert which negatively affect the child’s development so that the family, government and society at large can control and educate them. The second significance is to examine how effective the various existing machineries aimed at children have been. Hence, the likelihood is that we shall see greater control by government, the media and the advertisers of TV adverts, (Wright et al, 1978). To contribute to the knowledge already existing in this area of study can be said to be another significance or importance of the study.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i) Are children portraying positively in TV adverts?
ii) Do children behave positively towards TV adverts?
iii) Are children portrayed as special television advert viewers?
iv) DO female perform more in TV adverts than male?
v) Do TV advert inspire children after watching?
1.6 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H1: Children are generally portrayed positively in TV adverts.
H0: Children are not portrayed positively in TV adverts.
H2: Children behave positively towards TV adverts.
H0: Children do not behave positively towards TV adverts.
H3: Children are portrayed as special TV adverts viewers.
H0: Children are not portrayed as special TV advert viewers.
H4: Female performs more in TV advert than male.
H0: Female do not perform more in TV adverts than men.
H5: TV adverts inspire children after watching.
H0: TV advert do not inspire children after watching.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS/VARIABLES
CONCEPTIONAL AND OPERATIONAL
The variable for this study: “The effects of television advert on children” are conception ally and operationally defined as follows:
1. Effects: In this study, effects refer to the results or consequences of one thing or the other. Effects can be operationalised as follows:
i) Positive effects
ii) Negative effects or side effects
iii) Neutral effects
Positive effects refer to those effects, which are in line with the accepted, societal standards and values or which tend to encourage the development of the child along this line.
Negative or side effects refers to those effects which tend to discourage the child from developing along accepted societal standards and values. Several types of behavioural and emotional responses of a negative or antisocial nature may be associated with TV adverts. Among the undesirable outcome that have been studied are – parent – child conflict and child unhappiness: (Palmer 1980).
Neutral effects are those effects, which are neither positive nor negative; it refers to a situation whereby the advert makes no impact on the child.
2 Television Adverts: TV adverts refers to a marketing tool or communication whose aim is to build preferences for advertised brands and services are transmitted through a visual and audio medium. This can be operationally defined as: Adverts that are paid for by the advertiser and aired through the television.
3. Children: Conceptionally children cab be defined as persons that have not attained the age of puberty. Operationally-children can be defined or classified: Biological and socially. Biologically, any one under the age of 13 is a child; this is the age at which a child reaches puberty and thence forth regarded as an adolescent. Other texts maintain that childhood ends at 12. In his book, children and television, Brown (1976) divided his studies into those concerning young children (ages 5-12) and those concerning adolescents (age 13 – 18).
Socially, most people are regarded as children until they reach their mid teens, especially the age 16. This explains why some social events and activities such as admission into Nigerian Universities are restricted to those who are socially developed at least up to the age of 16.Most nations of the world also do not give children under the 18 years of age the right to vote at elections.
The following assumptions were made in order to give direction and strength to the study. These includes:
a) That the children in question are normal and are not mentally retarded and can also reason properly.
b) That children are exposed to and do watch TV adverts.
c) That adverts relayed on TV and to which the children are exposed together directly or indirectly affect them.
d) Those children are not isolated; In that they live in any environment where they can interact with others and at the same time be exposed to other stimuli that can affect them.
1.9 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
Limitation (Osuala 1982) refer to those factors inherent in the research situation that might affect the results, which the investigator must recognize and acknowledge. In defiance, to this assertion then and it is common with all behavioural studies that deals with opinions and attitudes, the researcher cannot but depend on the cooperation and truthfulness or respondents.
Osuala (1982) exposes that delimitations are those factors deliberately removed from a study by a researcher in reaction to problems of finance, time, and other logistics essential to the study. In this case, only adverts carried out in television stations in Enugu Urban will be assessed. Exposure: This research cannot decide whether it is a good or bad thing for children to be exposed to various selling techniques or for children to persuade or for them to want various advertised products. This limitation becomes apparent when the allegation cannot be tied to any advert when the allegation cannot be tied to any advert or unfair consequences. Scope: This research does not study the effect of children television programmes on children, from the research as far done, it was discovered that unlike programmes which make a clear distinction between “children’s programmes” and other kinds of programmes, no such clear distinction has been made between adverts which deal with children’s products and services and adverts dealing on goods and services required by older people. Advert, as it concerns children and adults products and services are therefore generally examined in this research. This is more so when children tend to be influenced by adverts, which deal with their products as well as that which deals with the products and services, needed by older people (Palmer 1980).
What actually looks a distinction is the examination of the types of products advertised to children which some researchers have been able to do. In general, most researchers agreed that the staples of children advert consist of four product categories: toys, cereals, candies and fast food restaurants (Kenniston 1977). Robert C heats (1972) admits that half of all children’s adverts in the united States of America sells food, another 30% toys and 10% vitamins .
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