Thursday, July 23, 2015

UX Syth: Advertising directed at children leverages their "Media Illiteracy"

For those of you studying to cause trouble to society, or for those of you looking to recognize potential threats to society, here's one. In reading through Jack Lule's Media and Culture, I ran across this section that defines Media Literacy as the skill of being able to decode and process the messages and symbols transmitted via media (Lule).

It then goes on to explain that...
"The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains that advertising directed at children under eight is 'inherently deceptive' and exploitative because young children cannot tell the difference between programs and commercials" (Lule).
In other words, it'd be considered a dark pattern if a personal intentionally leveraged this knowledge to persuade a child to ask and beg of their parents for one product or another. 

Erik Wright and Joel Rogers draw to our attention in their book American Society: How It Really Works to what Lucy Hugh described as the "Nag Factor" (Bakan 2004). As the director of strategy for the large communications management company, Initiative Media, Lucy has done extensive research developing advertising strategies to exploit the "Nag Factor". As Wright and Rogers state it, "The basic problem is simple: since children don't have a lot of money to spend themselves, how can advertisers get their parents to buy things form them? The solution is to help cultivate the art of nagging by modeling [to the children] effective nagging behavior in advertisements" (Wright). 

After watching Disney and Cartoon Network for any period of time, it's pretty clear that the toy industry needs a reminder so that they might stop their unethical behavior.

Works Cited
  • Bakan, Joel. "Interviews with Lucy Hugh." The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. N.p.: Free, 2004. 119-22. Print.
  • Lule, Jack. Media & Culture. Washington, DC 20036: Flat World Knowledge, Inc., Mar. 2012. PDF. eISBN:978-1-4533-2918-4
  • Wright, Erik Olin, and Joel Rogers. "Chapter 7: Consumerism." American Society: How It Really Works. N.p.: W. W. Norton, 2010. N. pag. Print.

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