A new study from the University of Connecticut is warning parents to be aware of what their children are watching on television.
Many of the snacks found in a vending machine, like chips, aren’t always the healthiest, but researchers from UConn found that now, more than ever, advertisements are going after some of their youngest customers.
“I see a lot of the ads but it doesn’t seem like it’s any worse than it’s always been,” said Dave Swerling.
The study found that despite a pledge from some of the biggest food companies, children between the ages of 6 and 11 saw a 53 percent increase for unhealthy snacks on television.
Researchers found that last year, 90 percent of the ads viewed by children on television were promoting sweet and savory snacks, or yogurt.
The study concluded that African American and Hispanic children were disproportionally targeted by the ads than their Caucasian counterparts.
While the food companies, like General Mills, PepsiCo, and Kellogg, may have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, one parent said she doesn’t blame them.
“It’s the parent’s job to determine what would be good for the child and what’s not, and that’s not a corporation’s decision,” said parent Rachel Butler.
The study, which analyzed ads from 2010 and 2014, also found one positive thing—advertising for healthier snacks like fruits and nuts did double.
Despite the news, Butler said she wouldn’t limit the amount of television her 9-month-old child may watch in the future just because of this study.
“She’s going to see it whether it’s in store or whether she hears about it from other kids so she has to learn that she can’t always have what she wants,” Butler said.
The study found that even though companies placed millions of ads on social media, their ads were less prevalent.
For more information on the study, click here.
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