Half of children say TV advertising influences decisions to buy video games and toys

Almost half (49 per cent) of parents think advertising and marketing should not target children, while 39 per cent think children need to learn what advertising is, research from YouGov SixthSense has found.

The research, which surveyed 1,500 parents, also found that a fifth (21 per cent) believed that advertising to children is acceptable as long as it does not look to promote unhealthy foods.

The poll also asked eight to 16 year olds about how they view advertising, finding that almost half (48 per cent) say that TV advertising influences their decision about what video games and toys to buy; compared to 25 per cent when it comes to influence of traditional toys.

James McCoy, YouGov SixthSense research director, said: “Advertising is a major part of everyone’s lives – both adults and children – and its influence cannot be underestimated.

“Although parents are concerned about the corrosive effect it may have on their children, the large number of kids that already understand that ads are designed to sell implies that adults cannot control the influence advertising has on their offspring.”

It was also discovered that 92 per cent of the children surveyed understood that adverts were trying to sell them something.

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