Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Who’s talking to your kids? Hispanics, females missing from children's television commercials

Date:
May 13, 2014
Source:
Ithaca College
Summary:
The ethnic diversity of actors in commercials aimed at children has apparently remained the same since the start of the 21st century, experts have found. The study concluded that Hispanics are grossly underrepresented as presenters in commercials. Though they make up 15 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics only appeared in one percent of the sampled commercials. Females of all races were underrepresented by 14.1 percent, both as lead presenters and as voiceover actors. White presenters were underrepresented by 2.2 percent and African-Americans were overrepresented by 10.3 percent. Asian presenters were almost on-par with their population numbers, but indigenous people were completely absent.

A lot of things change in a decade and a half. Fifteen years can bring major political, cultural, economic, and demographic shifts. But two Ithaca College professors of communications have found the ethnic diversity of actors in commercials aimed at children has apparently remained the same since the start of the 21st century.

Adam Peruta and Jack Powers, along with a team of students, analyzed 196 commercial presenters during weekday after-school programming on the cable station Nickelodeon. They assessed commercial presenters based on apparent race and ethnicity, physical appearance and gender. Then, they compared their findings to real-life population numbers using U.S. Census data.

Their findings mirror a separate study published in 2000.

"Television is one of the ways kids are socialized and learn about the world around them," Peruta, assistant professor of strategic communication, said. "The people speaking to them on a daily basis, like [on] television, could affect their expectations and perceptions of real-life relationships."

The study concluded that Hispanics are grossly underrepresented as presenters in commercials. Though they make up 15 percent of the U.S. population, Hispanics only appeared in one percent of the sampled commercials. Females of all races were underrepresented by 14.1 percent, both as lead presenters and as voiceover actors. White presenters were underrepresented by 2.2 percent and African-Americans were overrepresented by 10.3 percent. Asian presenters were almost on-par with their population numbers, but indigenous people were completely absent.

Peruta and Powers compared their results to a study done in 2000 that focused on prime time children's programming. The results were similar; meaning the lack of diversity in children's television commercials hasn't improved in over a decade.

"The pattern of inclusion of African-Americans and the near-exclusion of all other minority groups observed in 2000 has been reconfirmed here," Peruta said.

Although additional studies would need to be conducted to see how much commercial presenters influence child viewers, Powers, associate professor of media arts, sciences and studies at Ithaca College, argues that commercials could have a significant impact on how children develop self-perceptions.

"Underrepresented groups may be getting the message that they aren't as important," Powers said.

Cyndy Scheibe, professor of psychology at Ithaca College and director of the Center for Research on the Effects on Television, confirms the potential for negative effects of non-portrayal.

"You feel like 'Where am I in this?' And that could make you feel like you can't do some of the things being shown," she said.

"So if it's a commercial that shows people succeeding in some way or being popular in some way -or whatever the product is for -- then you may feel like that's not for you. Because they never show people like you doing [or using] this," she added.

Though Scheibe was not part of the study Peruta and Powers conducted, the Center for Research on the Effects of Television has done similar research on teen shows and sitcoms, and the findings about racial representation are very similar, with African-Americans overrepresented compared to real-world demographics, while Latinos and Asians were underrepresented.

Peruta's and Power's findings were presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication national conference in August 2013 and are currently being reviewed for academic publication.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ithaca College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ithaca College. "Who’s talking to your kids? Hispanics, females missing from children's television commercials." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513142034.htm>.
Ithaca College. (2014, May 13). Who’s talking to your kids? Hispanics, females missing from children's television commercials. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513142034.htm
Ithaca College. "Who’s talking to your kids? Hispanics, females missing from children's television commercials." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513142034.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins