Monday, November 17, 2008

Where does marketing to children cross the line?

As a Mother of 2 children I have to wonder how far is too far when marketing to children is concerned. As humans I HAVE to rely on the assumption that marketers are scrupulous and are of high moral integrity; as such I WANT to believe that they will not cross the line when talking to my highly impressionable children. So, this begs the question, where is the line when marketing to children?

Now, I am a woman who is ready to embrace change and all its idiosyncrasies. I am also one to give a chance to Internet marketing (with limitations) as many are quick to question its ethicality. My parents questioned television and Nintendo and as a technologically savvy culture we have moved on from these “antiquated” devices and have embraced Xbox and DVR; are we to be as judgmental on these media as my parents were on the new media developed during my childhood?

One psychologist describes advertising to children as “narcissistic wounding” (Clay, 2000). A very harsh concept used to describe the fact that children feel inferior if they do not have the latest and greatest toy on the market. I do not feel this strong hatred as he, but I do have to question sites that clearly are looking solely at sales and profits as success and not at the well being of our future leaders. I would like to offer two sites that I believe to be ethically sound:

Nick Jr
California Strawberry Kids

My basis for this decision deals simply with content. Both Nick Jr. and California Strawberry Kids contain content that is clearly beneficial to children and helps to expand knowledge and facilitate learning. Of course, I do want to know what you think. Please share other web sites that you feel set the example in marketing to children and those you feel could use some improvement.


California Strawberry Kids Web Site. (n.d.) Retrieved November 17, 2008 from

Clay, R. (2000, September 8). Advertising to children: is it ethical. Retrieved November 12, 2008 from
Nick Jr Web Site. (n.d.) Retrieved November 17, 2008 from


nikkic said...

Hi Stephanie,

Advertising to children is now a primary concern for me as my son will be two in January.

When he was younger to keep him quiet I had the television on a music channel a lot, sad to say.

Now he's gotten older he watches Boomerang mostly and he loves it.

I intend to keep him away from certain things like hand held video games etc for as long as I can.

I'm thinking the less television he watches the less exposure to unwanted advertising. I hope it works.

Stephanie said...


I think Boomerang is a good channel; also Noggin brings children's shows with zero commercials.

I do tend to be wary about hand helds and even cell phones (when she arrives at that age) because I think young children's minds are susceptible to advertising and as such should be left alone.