Free Negative Effects of Advertisements on Teenagers Essay Sample


Advertising (Chauhan, 1995, 3) refers to any money-making communication meant for persuading the audience towards preference of a commodity or service. This is because of the spending of funds on space and time in the mass media. Mass media, on the other hand, is a combination of communication channels that widen information to the public due to their reach-effectiveness. Such channels include television, radio, internet and billboards among others. A teenager is a word used to refer to an individual under the age of twenty years, thus the origin of the word teenager. Advertisers focus mainly on the age bracket of teenagers’ as their ideal target for audience.

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Health Complications

Publicity of junk foods occasioned by advertising has led poor eating habits for teenagers culminating to health complications. For instance diabetes was an ailment long thought to be a preserve of the elderly but is slowly slipping into the youth. (Friedman, 2000)  “The advertising suggests that eating sugared foods is perfectly consistent with the concept of a healthy and balanced diet” (p.58) Advertizing of junk food, has led to dietary changeovers culminating to avoidable diseases.  Junk foods lack important ingredients that play a pivotal role in the normal body functioning. The teens embrace the advertisements in a way that they disregard traditional nutritious foods, possibly to remain in a certain social class and also look young; this is at the expense of their health. According to media critics many teenagers easily fall victims of the advertising content about food and go ahead and use them resulting to dietary disorders. “Most of these false advertisements lead young teenagers to find alternative ways to lose weight and look good, and many are eventually diagnosed with an eating disorder, such as bulimia or anorexia”  (Armaos, 2005)

Behavior Change/Moral Decadence

Gunter, Oates and Blades (2005) assume that a colossal quantity of advertisement is purely designed for the grown-up audience. This is because of the content therein, for example the language used, the scene of shooting the advert and wear code among others. In this perspective such adverts, when viewed by other individuals send a bad signal inculcating bad morals and indecency. This is because the teens will start wearing clothes they saw in advert. The scholars assert that an adverts’ frequency greatly rejuvenate the teenagers perception about a certain product and ultimately determine their behavior. Constant recurrence of adverts only help the teens store the content into their long time memory, thus if the content is vulgar, the perception of the same is stored. Repetition of a condom advert on TV or radio, for instance, easily manipulates the teenagers’ moral character. Moreover intellectual ability of most teenagers is below average and they consume every advert as gospel truth. For instance such repetition of the advert would drive the youngster to involve him or her in premarital sex, due to the conclusion that condoms are family planning instruments, incidentally, many youths who loathe pregnancy would find consolation in condoms. (74)

 Academic performance decline

Many teenagers are school going children as a result advertising plays a fundamental role in their general academic performance. (Gunter and McAleer, 2003) Certain adverts are aimed at the denigration of education. For example a sports advert portraying a successful footballer who never stepped into a classroom would negatively motivate the teenager in regard to his/her academics. Furthermore the dialect used in advertisements greatly influences the teenagers’ vocabulary and diction.  For instance broken English is widely used in advertisements, a lad may think that the language used is universally accepted and therefore use it in school’s compositions which at the long run decrease the individual’s academic merit. “They not only need to develop the basic skills, such as reading, writing and numeracy, to perform the tasks expected of them but also the motivation to want to acquire those skills. Advertising has been accused of hindering this” (p.167) “Interactive agencies say they are more in touch with teenagers than traditional media agencies, and are armed with statistics about teenage internet usage. According to research by, teenagers are online more often than any other demographic” (Bosman, 2005) Such revelations are used by advertisers to put advertisements on the websites thus teenagers are lured into internet usage at the expense of the academic visions.

Cultural Change

Advertising changes a teenager’s culture of living (Biagi, 2007, 267) for instance teenagers tend to change the dress code to make parallel with the new fashion trend displayed in the advertisement. For example the culture of sagging trousers by men was slowly adopted by the male folk’s dress codes, although its origins can be traced at the American collection facilities where detainees were not supposed to wear belts occasioning the sagging. Such cultures were absolved mostly by the teenagers thanks to advertisements.

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Proliferation of stereotypes

Advertising creates room for the proliferation of stereotypes by the teenager’s. This is as a result of the commercial adverts on television (Biagi, 2007) In a feminist view, Biagi argues that the portrayal of women, for instance in adverts accentuate male hegemony. This she asserts affects the reasoning of teenagers who carry on the same ideology in their latter lives. For example many advertisements depict women as the weaker sex thus similar connotations are to be replicated by the youthful audience. “Observers of the stereotyping of women point to past and current advertisement portrayal showing vey few women in professional roles or as strong, major characters” (p.268)  This spiral down to the teenager’s who confound to such pictures and practice them in future. For instance a teenage girl may think that the woman’s place is in the kitchen since many adverts only show them in those places, thus adapting to such situations, at the expense of her education.

Teenagers become victims of Cyber crimes

With Information Technology savvy teenagers, advertising has shifted to the new media mostly characterized by the internet, through social networking sites. The initiative to advertise in the internet is to capture the teen niche. However, such advertising has led to viral marketing techniques that arise through bogus advertisements in the sites. Advertisements in the internet are not regulated as such and thus the teens will be bombarded by images that are obscene resulting to their moral corruption. For example, in such uncontrolled sites advertisements of concoctions to increase libido are everywhere and with the zest to try them, a teenager may end up being an addict. (Willard, 2007, 88)

Change in purchasing patterns

Advertising, in addition, is a determinant in the purchase patterns of the teenagers, for instance, a teenager may opt to buy expensive designer clothes with disregard to quality, since he/she had an advertisement that a certain celebrity wears the same. Furthermore, the flamboyant television display of items enhances impulse buying by the teens.  Advertising has led to the formation of allegiances to certain ideologies and goods in the market.


In conclusion, regulation of advertisements would be a milestone in ensuring that the young individuals consume only the beneficial adverts, for instance airing the adverts at the appropriate time. For example warning labels should be enforced in advertising to reduce the negative impact on the audience. (Bryant and Zillmann, 2003, 468)For instance Smoking is harmful to your health, is an ideal guess for cigarette manufacturers.

With the proliferation of online advertising, regulation of certain sites for teenagers would be a milestone in the realization of a moral community. For instance such sites should be controlled by the various internet service providers, mostly the telecommunication companies. Advertisements can be viewed as the root cause of all behaviors from religion to social, economic to political inclinations. In a nutshell, several legal implications should be put in place to curb negative effects of advertising on children for a prospective future. This involves the censorship of obscene adverts in the prime time in broadcast media, reducing the same in print media and blocking of sites with improper content. For instance establishments of Censorship boards in their respective countries. The only remedy in the realization of a win-win situation would be focusing on morality oriented.


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