Parents are susceptible too

Screening advertisements in the evening allows companies both to extend the duration of their campaigns and to address a group that is just as susceptible as children – their parents. «Greeks may limit their own needs in order to give their children everything, but they convey a false impression of their financial situation,» explained psychologist Alexandra Kappatou. Advertising firms know how to exploit parental fears that their children might be sidelined if they don’t own some widely advertised product. «This is how we compensate for our guilt at not having enough time to spend with our children,» she said. «But by constantly offering them material goods, we don’t teach them that there are some limits nor do we enable them to develop the critical capacity to judge what they genuinely need and want. «Children constantly seek novelty; they want to stand out. So they lengthen their wish lists, adding more and more things, with which they then acquire a proprietary relationship. But no toy can substitute for their contact with us.» Children under the age of eight tend to believe that advertisements present an unbiased view of the world as it is. In fact, at that age, many cannot distinguish between the advertisement and the program they are watching. The solution, Kappatou argues, is «stable behavior. For example, we should teach them to write down their wish list in a notebook, so that we can gradually satisfy it. And when the time comes, we can go to the store with them and get them to choose the toy they really want. It’s also important to let them know that we can’t afford to satisfy every wish.» Even when we give in to pressure, we can still set limits. «A child doesn’t need to play non-stop with their PlayStation or computer. Limits can be set.»