Study Shows Parents May End Up MORE Stressed When Their Kids Watch A Lot of TV

Ally Villar
·3-min read

Some parents might trust to leave their kids comfortably sat in front of the television and use this time to take a bit of a breather.

But a study from the University of Arizona says this may cause more harm than good, even for parents. According to the study, the more children watch television and are exposed to endless ads, the more stressed mums and dads will get.

Television Ads: The Root Of Parents’ Stress

watching too much tv
watching too much tv

Image Source: iStock

Advertising on television is there for a reason and one reason only: to sell.

Matthew Lapierre and Eunjoo Choi, researchers of the study, have found that children are an easy target for these ads as they would instantly ask their parents to buy anything they find appealing in commercials.

Their findings were based on the survey they conducted including 433 parents of children aged 2 to 12 years old. Lapierre says they chose this age range because younger kids are more easily persuaded by ads and often have to shop with their parents.

The results showed that when parents refuse to buy things for their kids, the most likely reaction of a child would be to throw a tantrum until they get what they want. Researchers have found that this can potentially affect parents’ stress levels.

How Television Ads Lure Children To Purchasing

Ads aimed at children are typically made to persuade kids into buying their products by using bright colours, upbeat music and flashy characters. Children are often easily appealed by this and would not second guess its intent for at such a young age, they wouldn’t be able to fully understand the purpose of advertising.

“Advertising for kids is generated to makes them feel excited. They do a lot of things in kids’ advertising to emotionally jack up the child,” Lapierre says in their study according to the University of Arizona. “Children don’t have the cognitive and emotional resources to pull themselves back, and that’s why it’s a particular issue for them.”

It was also mentioned that advertisers have found new creative ways to sell their products on television. This involves tactics such as product placements and ‘incorporating product or company names into a show’s narrative’ as said in the study.

Image Source: iStock

Ways To Discuss Shopping With Kids

Aside from the obvious solution of limiting screentime, this may also give parents a chance to start the conversation of consumerism with their kids. Before you become concerned about the difficulty of the subject, the researchers found three main types of parent-child consumer-related communication to find which one is best to bring up with your child.

What they found in their study are:

  • Collaborative Communication

This involves discussing with your kids on things you buy and asking for their opinion or telling them, ‘I will listen to your advice on certain products or brands.’

  • Control Communication

This is when parents take full control of what they should or should not buy for their kids by saying such things like, ‘Don’t argue with me when I say no to your product request.’

  • Advertising Communication

This gives parents more opportunities to talk with their kids about the ads that they see by saying things such as, ‘Commercials will say anything to get you to buy something.’

With their findings, it was shown that collaborative communication was the best approach parents could use to have less stress on the matter since both control and advertising communication only encourages more purchase initiations from kids.

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