Term Paper: Effect of Television in American Culture

Pages: 3 (1105 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Topic: Children  ·  Buy This Paper

American culture TV

Consumed by What We Are Consuming

Television in American Culture:

Should television be allowed in the home?

Image: Dora the Explorer Cereal:

http://breakfastbowl.blogspot.com/2006/06/dora-explorer-cereal.html

Turn off the television. This may sound like a simplistic and perhaps extremist statement to make to America's families. But when we as a society get to the point where we are consuming what we watch on television even in our breakfast bowls, it is time to take control of our leisure time and lives. In particular, with children's advertising, the line between entertainment and advertising has grown so blurry that television characters like Dora the Explorer have 'become' cereals, and advertisements for unhealthy processed foods and cheap toys are made to resemble the advertisements of cartoon shows. Because of advertising to children on television, one of the most profoundly important cultural institutions, the relationship of parent to child over a shared family meal has been torn apart. This is because children are cognitively unable to distinguish between advertising and entertainment and because of the savvy marketing techniques used by advertisers to urge children to nag their parents, and to make children into the consumers of the future.

The food advertising industry has promised to better police itself, because of increasing political pressure from parents and child advocacy groups. It has vowed "that at least half of their advertising directed at children under 12 would promote healthier foods or encourage active lifestyles," in a recent joint statement by Kellogg, McDonald's, and General Mills, the later of whom is the producer of the Dora cereal (Martin, 2007). But regardless, whenever a child walks down a grocery store aisle and sees his or her friend Dora, it is hard for them to understand that Dora is really an advertising ploy designed to get them to beg to purchase a more expensive version of wheat or corn cereal that tastes the same as the store-bought version for less than a dollar a box. Dora cereal is especially noxious because Dora is supposed to be an educational television show, directed at Latino children. Latinos are disproportionately affected by the obesity crisis, and to suggest that a children's cereal that encourages Latino children in particular to consume expensive, sugary cereal is educational because of its connection to a supposedly multicultural animated show takes particular 'nerve' on the part of the food industry. How can we trust the food industry when it sells such lies, as well as such cereal to children?

The advertising directed at children is not just focused on unhealthy foods, and targets uncritical consumers. It also encourage the crucial 'nag' factor, encouraging children to beg their tired and overworked parents to buy such food, and essentially the industry tries to make the child in charge of food choices before he or she has reached the age of good nutritional reason, when these decisions used to be in the hands of the parents. This is particularly perverse, given that, according to a 2006 statement entitled "Children, Adolescents, and Advertising" by the American Academy of Pediatrics: "Research has shown that young children -- younger than 8 years -- are cognitively and psychologically defenseless against advertising. They do not understand the notion of intent to sell and frequently accept advertising claims at face value" ("Children, Adolescents, and Advertising,"AAP, 2006).

In short,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Effect of Television in American Culture.  (2007, September 25).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/effect-television-american-culture/88913

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"Effect of Television in American Culture."  Essaytown.com.  September 25, 2007.  Accessed May 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/effect-television-american-culture/88913.