"Children are already a major target audience for advertisers. American companies currently spend $15 billion a year on marketing and advertising to children under the age of 12—twice the amount they spent just 10 years ago. Each year, the average child sees about 40,000 ads on television alone and collectively influences $500 billion in spending annually on fast food, junk food, toys and other advertised products.
Due to their susceptibility to persuasion and the amount of media they consume, children are the perfect targets for television advertisers. Children under the age of eight do not recognize the persuasive intent of ads and tend to accept them as accurate and unbiased. In fact, 30-second commercials have been found to influence brand preferences in children as young as two years old."
This excerpt is from a report by Children Now, "Interactive Advertising and Children: Issues and Implications." These numbers are eye-popping reasons for why we must speak to our children about advertising and the value of money as young as possible. It's unfortunate that kids are preyed upon, but they are and it's essential that we educate them so that they start to think about the messages that they are inevitably receiving.