The fact that more and more children are having problems with obesity is an issue raising great concerns in Denmark. One of the reasons might be that the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks, specified as food and drinks carrying a high content of sugar, salt and fat has influenced the children toward irregular and bad eating habits. Assuming that the children are exposed to this marketing of unhealthy food and drinks on the Internet; the purpose of this thesis is to examine in what way children at the age of 10-12 years old experience and understand this marketing. The study is based on a theoretical framework of consumer socialisation and children's use of the Internet. I will furthermore discuss whether legislation vs. self-regulation ('Code of responsible food marketing communication to children') is an option to control marketing of unhealthy food to children. The research is based on 40 questionnaires and six qualitative interviews each of which is carried out with two children. All the children examined in the thesis live in Lyngby-Taarbæk, an upper class community. The thesis reveals that children's relationship with the consumption of unhealthy food and their use of the media is highly influenced by their family and friends. Children's consumption of sweets primarily occurs over the weekends and in company with family and friends. The children are aware and understand that sweets, cookies, and soft drinks are unhealthy, and that these products should not be included in a healthy lifestyle. The knowledge of the children should be seen in the light of the area where they live. They are brought up to have their own opinions. Regarding the children's use of the Internet, their families are involved to a certain extent. Some advertisements are discussed between the parents and the child. The study further shows, that the children have a significant influence of the decision making in the family, and when it comes to sweets they make occasionally use of negotiation strategies. The children use the Internet mainly for entertainment, communication and information, and while doing this they are exposed to advertisements. The children generally like advertisements. Advertisements for unhealthy food are, however, not that common today. Nevertheless the children are aware of the more visible advertisements like web banners, and they have a critical understanding of the advertisements intentions. However, when it comes to less visible adverts, like 'advergames', the children are more uncertain about the intentions of advertisements. The 10-12 year old children do not themselves experience many advertisements for unhealthy food on the Internet, and they generally do not believe that an advertisement for e.g. chocolate have an effect in desiring the product. On the other hand desiring chocolate is more likely if they taste it at a friend's house or see it in the supermarket. There is a good reason to believe that marketing of unhealthy food to children do not increase due to the self-regulated 'Code of responsible food marketing communication to children' and the public debate. The code has allegedly helped to reduce the number of advertisements of unhealthy food in the media or at least in the part of the media aimed at children under the age of 13. This is most likely the reason why the 10-12 year old children mainly do not experience advertising of unhealthy food such as sweets and soft drinks on the Internet. It must therefore be concluded that the assumption put up in this thesis that unhealthy food is being marketed on the Internet is not fulfilled.
|Educations||MSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||140|