Friday, April 28, 2006

A paper that I am continuing to revise for my journalism class...
Question #1: Why is the government concerned about advertising and children? Also, describe the nature and number of ads aimed at children outlined in the government’s 1979 study of the issue. What was the study’s three conclusions? 30 Points.
The government is concerned about advertising because much of it is directed towards young children. Advertiser’s know that if they can target children, these children’s parents will be forced to be consumers of their respective products. Not only do children gather money from their parents through allowances, part-time jobs, and as presents for holidays, but they also have a supreme amount of power over their parents. Parents want to make their children happy, so they are willing to spend the money for the exact products that their kid’s desire. A study done by John Rossiter in 1979 concluded that "television advertising has the greatest effects on the youngest children in families with parents of low education and most likely low income." Therefore, even families without excess amounts of money are the subject of advertising woes, as they are still forced to buy these same products that higher income families see through ads and are financially able to afford. Three conclusions’ came about from the government’s 1979 study of children and advertising. The first is that advertising adds to the cost of products. This is to say that ultimately, consumers end up paying the cost for advertising, simply because it is another cost in manufacturing a product. The second conclusion is that people buy products that they do not need because of advertising. Goods such as cigarettes, designer clothing, and hygiene products all benefit immensely due to advertising, despite their marginal worth in our lives. The final conclusion is that advertising reduces competition. Because of this, monopolies become the name of the game, as stronger products with more money for ads gather a stranglehold on the publics perception of certain goods and products.
Question #2: Describe the main conclusions in a 1982 study of TV violence and children. Describe what has been the media’s response to the issue of TV violence and why have they taken such a course of action. The answer should include recent devolpments of the media and government in relation to violence on TV. 40 Points.
In 1982, the National Institute of Mental Health released a study on television violdence and its subsequent effects on children. What this study found was that violence on television does indeed affect the aggressive behavior of children. Not only this, but it was also found that it had the same affect on older people. This led to a whole new way of looking at the problems that excessive violence on television could have on not only children, but the American public as a whole. Due to these things, the media and the government have been working together in order to limit the amount of violent shows or advertisments that children can see. For example, the FCC has set about a plan to limit any violent depictions during certain hours, within which children are more inclined/able to watch television. Almost all television channels have also adopted a new form of tv rating guidelines. This system uses easy to understand ratings in order to "grade" shows on how suitable they are for children. For example, a show with a rating of TV Y is suitable for all children. Meanwhile, a rating of TV 14 is not suitable for any child under the age of 14, without a guardian present.
3. The issue of children and the Internet has been a major consideration in federal efforts to regulate online content. Discuss at least THREE problems involving children on the internet, including the figures to back up the issue. Discuss at least THREE solutions that can be used to help lessen the negative impact of children on the Internet.
There are several major risks that go along with children and their ability to access countless amounts of information on the Internet. One is the possible exposure to inappropriate material. Considering that by the year 2000 there were 55,475,000 US households with access to personal computers and the internet, it seems almost stupid to think that kids have no access to the internet in the leisure of their own home. Just as parents need to be concerned about their kids watching crude and violent programs on their television sets, the same can be said for computers and the internet. Countless amounts of pornographic material can be easily found on the web, and are often hidden under false web site names, so as to confuse the user. Children can easily stumble upon pornographic pictures and videos, even if they are not searching for it. More and more children are also being taught to use such things as E-mail and chat rooms, as more than 99% of public schools teach some sort of computer course within their boundaries. Through E-mail and chat rooms, sexual predators can find easy access to younger and less educated internet users. They may then find out information about their victim, set up a meeting, and even commit heinous crimes due simply to the child’s inability to distinguish between a friendly stranger and a possible sex offender. Another issue is the issue of privacy. The internet is a shady network of elaborate web sites and tracking devices. Items such as advertising bugs and cookies can be downloaded to a computer in order to track the user’s movements around the web, or even to determine where the computer is located. This can lead to legal, financial, or worse yet, physical harm, due to enlightened internet users’ abilities to hack into computers and take advantage of less experienced children. Some solutions for worried parents as far as fixing these problems, or limiting them, start with the simple; keep track of what your child is doing online. By keeping track of your child’s habits, you can monitor their web use, and make sure that they are not putting themselves or you in danger. Another solution would be to use services, such as network firewalls, in order to limit the content children can see. Although this may seem like a harsh solution, it will help to protect your child from viewing web sites that may be detrimental to their mental health now or in the future. A final solution would be to simply allow the child to use the internet under their parents supervision. Although they may feel uncomfortable in doing so, it will help them learn what is right and what is wrong on the internet, and they can eventually be let loose once they have grasped exactly how the internet works and the dangers that go along with it.

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