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Psychology 101, Adverts And Social Normality - Has Advertising Damaged And Convinced Society That Wants Are Need?

Updated on April 10, 2012

This psychology 101 article examines what effect advertising has on a society.

I am sure most people would agree that advertising convinces people in society that their wants are their needs, however, this is at a very subconscious level.

The effects of this can be damaging, especially to our children, but how do we go about reversing this effect?

I was inspired to write this article as a challenge from a Hubpages hubber. Please feel free to read on to find out how I tackle this subject.

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Question: Advertising Damages Children

Ali Akbar123 asked me this question: “Advertising has damaged children to a large extent”. Justify this statement with solid reasons. It is here that I will try and answer such a broad subject.

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. .

We All Want To Change The World
We All Want To Change The World

Advertising And Manipulation

'Guns don't kill people, rappers do!' This is a lyric to a song. It is essentially saying that it isn't until the trigger is pulled that life may be diminished.

The notion that the adverts damages children is a comparison I wish to draw on. It is what is behind the intention of the advert that needs to be considered here. Advertising is a force of manipulation. Promotion of items and services creates a thought form that entices the viewer into a realm of want - the advert is to the gun as the rapper is to the manipulation.

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Government's And Censorship

Now, if the advert's intention is to empower and advance a child to a higher state of awareness, this is a good thing. However, most advertising has no intention of this. It can be cloaked as something with good intentions, but the loyalty may only serve shareholders and business owners. Sure, there are many products out there that do enhance, with good intentions, as a way to shape a child's mind in a positive way, unfortunately, in many instances this is not the case.

It is here that we hope our Government's play a part in censorship. Sending out positive messages to our children is the key. After all, we all have a choice as to whether we use that gun, don't we? Until children have developed enough to have an informed choice in life, then it is people in power that need to protect, guide and educate.

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Bandura's Social Construction Of Reality

We are all bombarded with advertisments. Many adults, as well as children, have been damaged by advertising. This level of brainwashing, convinces people that they aren't 'normal' unless that have a takeaway everyday, for example. Children are influenced as they look at their role models and the damage continues.

There is no blame to parents - how can you blame people when this is a social construction of reality (Bandura)?

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Freud: Base Instinct, The Id

What needs to be understood is our innate subconscious desires - out base instinct. Freud called this the 'id' - 'I need, I want, I will be satisfied' self. It is our people in power who need to advocate coping mechanisms for our society to over-ride our base instinct. Reversing and rewiring the brains of society is like advertising in reverse. Educational advertising is the key, empowering knowledge and giving people an informed choice.

I remember a successful anti smoking campaign, backed up with support to help people quit. Yes, people still smoke, but they now know what they are getting themselves into. They have an informed choice.

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Advertising - Our Wants Are Our Needs

“Advertising has damaged children to a large extent” is a fair statement because it tells us what to buy, how to buy it and what constitutes to the norm. Adverts make us think we want something. They provide us with an expectation - on a better life, a happier life. However, this can lead to disappointment, debt and other consequences and is short lived. Ads very rarely tell us it is what we need, they just convince us that our wants are our needs. This is the same for all humans - children and adults alike. It is this where damage can occur.

'Adverts don't kill people, their consequences do!'

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Advertising Blurb: Do We Need This Or Do We Want It?

So as our society, for we are all part of this, can damage ourselves AND our children, so have we the ability to heal it. Through education that empowers people, our Governments are in the strong position to reverse the negative effects of advertising. We have a cultural construction of reality and we all have the ability to help create a world with good intentions. It starts with examples from those in power and ourselves. We are all role models and students. We can counteract the damaging effects of advertising by rewiring our brains and education. When watching adverts, we need to ask ourselves 'Do we NEED this, or do we WANT it?'. In teaching ourselves, we can teach our children too.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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Great Example Here! Educate Children About Advertisments

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Just Click Here and follow the links!

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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      The word from the Bard is always welcome!

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thumbs up for this one!

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      debbiesdailyviews - instead of getting mad, get even! Educate children (like my example on the video) to see beyond the hype. It is a hard task, but we can rewire our brains through education.

      Thanks for reading :)

    • debbiesdailyviews profile image


      8 years ago

      I really enjoyed this Hub, and agree with article, and comments after.

      Parents are under so much pressure today, and at this time of year , Its so annoying, each time the adverts target these kids, the pressure equals more misery for the adults.

      And stores are all set up to psychologically tempt said kids. They strategically place all the expensive stuff just right !

      Oooooo good Hub, it really makes me mad hahaha

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks K9 - Advertising has been here since the humans. To erradicate this would be a somewhat impossible task.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      KoffeeKlatch Gals - advertising is for life, not just for Christmas (or so it seems)! Just check out the MacDonalds ads!

      Thanks for highlighting this issue though.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Jed - ... but it certainly works!

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      vydyulashashi - Education might help prevention. Children can so easily be sucked into the world of consumerism and Ads certainly do provide a want that is confused with need.

      Thanks for your valued comment again, my friend.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Ingenira - It is a no win situation, what chance do the children have?

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      8 years ago from Northern, California

      Ads so often bring a state of desire in children that sets a feeling of need so grand that it almost seems torturous. Gear ads at adults, it's only fair.

      Good work,


    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I have always said that those advertisement they show before Christmas are a menace. They are directed at the children and convince them that they must have whatever it is that is being advertised. After all, according to them they are the most desired, most fun, most rewarding toy there ever was - if they don't get one they will be the only one without.

    • Jed Fisher profile image

      Jed Fisher 

      8 years ago from Oklahoma

      Advertising aimed at children is designed to promote the rewarding sociopathic behavior. Horrible stuff.

    • vydyulashashi profile image


      8 years ago from Hyderabad,India

      The present advertising media has so much impact on people. There are both pros and cons,it depends on how people receive it. Parents must careful with their children and should openly discuss and explain to them about these ads!

      Well presented by you!

      God bless you!

    • Ingenira profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome article !

      I often dislike the advertisements that come before and after a kids program on TV. Children are exposed to all kinds of junk food and toys. They are such a bad influence for kids and bring about struggle for parents who wish to educate the children on healthy lifestyle.


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