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Communication and Its Effects on Individuals, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 928

Essay

Introduction

Advertising and promotion regarding alcohol and tobacco on television is a complex circumstance when considering children and teenagers because these population groups are particularly vulnerable to peer pressure and to trying these substances. It is important to recognize how advertising on television might play a role in shaping these pressures and behaviors of children and teens in this manner. It is possible that some members of these groups may consider alcohol and cigarettes because their friends have tried them or they have family members who smoke and/or drink. The addition of television advertising regarding these substances increases their visibility and may increase the risk for these groups. Therefore, it is recommended that alcohol and tobacco advertising on television should be restricted only to specific hours during the evening when children are likely to be in bed and teens are busy with other concerns, such as homework or social events.

Body

In spite of the advantages of restricting television advertising for tobacco and alcohol, this is a very difficult circumstance to achieve because these industries have a powerful influence on the lives of many people, including children and teens in some settings. It is important to recognize that tobacco and alcohol companies are multimillion dollar businesses throughout the world and are very attractive to many adults because they promote freedom and a carefree lifestyle when managed in a responsible manner. In addition, these substances allow many adults to let go of their daily stress and to enjoy themselves. At the same time, many people become addicted to one or both substances to the extent that they cannot live without them on a daily basis, which could lead to serious complications, such as lung cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. In the context of television advertising, it becomes necessary to evaluate the different aspects of advertising that are likely to be detrimental to children and teens versus advertising that might provide benefits for these groups through fear and warnings.

Limiting television advertising for tobacco and alcohol is advantageous in that many teens and children will not become repeatedly exposed to messages regarding how these substances are symbols of a less hectic lifestyle and are “cool” in the minds of many children and teens because it makes them feel like adults. These types of mixed messages are not discouraged throughout television advertising and therefore, provide many teens and children with the belief that alcohol and tobacco are not unsafe if they are handled responsibly. However, for these groups, there is no safe and responsible way of smoking and drinking because this behavior is illegal. Therefore, television advertising that glorifies these behaviors should not be shown during the hours when teens and children are most likely to watch. It is important to recognize these concerns and to take the steps that are necessary to eliminate alcohol and tobacco advertising during these hours.

Although smoking and drinking are common practices for many adults and advertising is directed towards this group through provocative and carefree messages, it is evident that when these messages are intercepted by teens and children, they will not always understand what they mean and may take them as acceptable behaviors for their own age groups. There is an important lesson to be learned regarding the impact of these messages on different individuals and how they impact teens and children as a whole. Therefore, television advertising that offers commercials involving alcohol and cigarettes should not be shown during the day. When these messages are shown on a continuous basis, it is likely that there will be a significant impact on teens and children over time, particularly when they are easily influenced or peer pressure is likely to impact them in a negative manner.

Television advertising of all types has a tremendous impact on many population groups, particularly children and teenagers. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are significant factors associated with the high degree of influence of tobacco and alcohol advertising for these groups. It is important for television networks to recognize that it is conducive to air these types of messages only during the evening hours and to evaluate these messages in a negative manner in regards to children and teenagers. For these population groups, these types of messages are likely to only have negative consequences; therefore, their impact and influence on teens and children should be minimized as much as possible. It is unlikely that advertisers and networks would be able to shield these groups from all messages; however, if their exposure to these messages is limited, then it is less likely that their behaviors will not be affected.

Conclusion

There is much controversy surrounding the airing of alcohol and tobacco advertising on television because of its potentially detrimental impact on teens and children. These messages may negatively influence these groups because they drive peer pressure and other negative outcomes. Therefore, it is important to recognize these concerns and how they impact individuals and their behaviors. For television networks, the health and wellbeing of children and teens should be a primary concern because much of their viewing audiences are within these groups. Therefore, it is necessary to protect these groups as best as possible by providing tobacco and alcohol advertising only during the later evening hours when children are likely to be asleep and teens are involved in other activities. This alternative will protect children and teens from unnecessary risks and harm that could play a role in negative behaviors and other potential consequences from repeat behaviors. Networks and advertisers must make wise decisions regarding these groups to avoid problems over the long term.

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