“Sexuality in Advertising is Affecting our Children”

November 8, 2016


Young Joon,  Ha Glen A.Wilson High School  9th Grade

Young Joon,
Ha Glen A.Wilson High School
9th Grade

Imagine watching football with your child. You think you’re just going to watch the game, when suddenly you’re seeing an advertisement of a naked woman walking around a park on her way to enjoying a burger from Carl’s Jr. This is just the first of many ads you will see that will target your arousal to get you to buy a product. It was directed at you, but your child has seen it. Why are so many commercials driven by sexuality? What effect has this had on our youngest generation? If these ads currently are making television unsafe for children to watch even a football game, is there an alternative form of advertising that won’t do this harm?An effective commercial arouses an emotion whether it has anything to do with the product or not. When you feel emotions, you are more capable of remembering the commercial that brought you those emotions. Remembering the commercial means remembering the brand. Remembering the brand means you are more likely to buy the brand. The emotions could be anything: laughter, empathy, anger, etc. But making someone laugh is difficult. An easier way to arouse emotions in a viewer is to literally make them aroused. So basically many commercials are targeting sexuality because it is easy, and it works.

Children watching television always come across a commercial that targets adults when watching channels other than Disney Channel with their parents. If these commercials normalize sex, can we point to any effects this is having in the real world? According to CDC Newsroom that sex is becoming more common among youth,” About 4 in 10 never-married U.S. teenagers aged 15-19 have had sexual intercourse at least once in their lifetime.” This includes the shift of attitude about sex for children since 1980s and 1990s according to Healthline News,” That percentage [young-adult sex] jumped to 42 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. It increased to 49 percent in the 2000s and then rose to 58 percent in 2012.” The popularity of “adult” advertisements that are showing explicit content to your child changed the attitudes of sex through years of exposure, therefore making your child more likely to be more involved to sexual activity.

Not all advertisements take the easy way out. Many other advertisements use wit, intrigue, inspiration, etc. For example, Cadbury Chocolate used all three in their 2007 commercial for promoting their dairy milk chocolate brand. Instead of objectifying a woman on screen, they used a gorilla playing the drums on Phil Collins’ ,” In The Air Tonight.” Commercials that invoke these are also effective, because it still fills the viewer with emotions. Instead of using arousal, all commercials should be using less destructive ways of advertising and not just doing what is easy.



  1. Christa Springs

    November 9, 2016 at 6:50 AM

    Great article! And from one so young!

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