Cover Story

APA's Task Force on Advertising and Children proposed the following research and policy recommendations--which have now been adopted as APA policy--to help counter the potential negative effects of ads aimed at children:

  • Restrict television advertising as well as advertising in the schools directed to children 8 years old and younger.

  • Use advertising disclaimers for children's programs in language that children can easily understand.

  • Research what is new and what is different in advertising targeted to children and teens.

  • Investigate how advertising in new interactive media environments, such as the Internet, influences children.

  • Study the persuasive intent of television advertising targeted to children older than 8.

  • Examine whether understanding advertising's persuasive intent and its effects differ among genders, races, ethnicities and cultures.

  • Develop curriculum for different grade levels to help children understand advertising.

  • Educate parents and professionals who work with children and youth on the effects of advertising.

  • Support continuing-education programs for psychologists on media literacy, in particular on media advertising and marketing to children.

  • Weigh the ethical implications of using psychological research to effectively promote products to children.

  • Encourage more rigorous industry self-regulation, such as publicizing to parents guidelines of the Children's Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

  • Investigate the impact of advertising and commercialism in the schools.

  • Collaborate with other professional and educational organizations to raise public, professional and political awareness of the increased commercialization of schools.

--M. DITTMANN