Advertisers target your children – is that OK with you?

2955722.largeAds are a very powerful – and very sophisticated – mind control tool. They WORK! Corporations don’t invest billions unless a hefty return can be counted on. Ads are designed to bypass the brain’s filters (frontal lobes) and zap the emotional centers of your child’s brain, to turn desire into despair, and finally infect you. Pester power is a very precise science. Few things in this world are as chilling as marketeers’ self-assured know-how about the average 3-year-old’s spending power. I have seen the charts they use.

Advertising that targets children is a form of child abuse and family abuse. Perfectly legal and sanctioned child abuse, in Australia. It is an example of ‘free speech’ and ‘free trade’ that is making us all sick. Why is it not prohibited, as it already is in Sweden, Greece, Belgium and a growing number of nations? Here is what happens when people stand up to corporations and stand up for their children: In Quebec, child ads have been illegal for 30 years. This caused an $88 million annual drop in fast-food sales, up to 18 billion less fast-food calories consumed annually, and Quebec has the lowest childhood obesity rate in Canada.

What do you think? Should we follow suit in Australia? UK? USA? New Zealand? South Africa?

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11 Responses to Advertisers target your children – is that OK with you?

  1. Dr. Chris Richardson DC says:

    We need to just ask ourselves: to we have consciences – do we care, do we mind that our Children’s bodies and futures are being wantonly and systematically destroyed in the name of GREED?

    • Robin Grille says:

      Agreed. I find it unbelievable that we can allow this as a society. I think strong government regulation is called for in the interests of child protection.

  2. Ros N-C says:

    Absolutely 1000% agree – it’s just astounding what companies will do in the name of a buck. I almost swooned when I first heard Maccas were sponsoring Little Athletics (and don’t get me started on those candyfloss playgrounds of theirs .. carbon copy of that lollypop disguised cage of the Evil Child Catch in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). How on earth can we allow this as a society of caring adults?

    I didn’t know that about Quebec – those are stunning statistics, thanks for sharing and I’ll share with my networks. What’s infuriating and surprising is that it was 30 years ago yet we’ve made no moves in the same direction ourselves.

    I think this problem needs to be approached from 2 angles – yes we absolutely need to put pressure on government and industry to ban child advertising, and second we need to teach our kids about advertising and corporate greed. My 4 year old has been taught these themes right from the beginning and is totally on to it. Some might think these themes will go over the heads of little people, but if you tell it as it is from the start they absolutely get it. The Lorax is a great book giving kids a window into people losing their heads over money and we extend on the themes of this often in all sorts of situations (marketing, consumerism, throw-away culture etc). We also often talk about the big billboards on the side of the freeways e.g., what do you think they’re trying to sell us this time?, and do you notice how they always use beautiful models and why do you think that is etc etc and aren’t they SILLY to think we’ll fall for that! You can get these messages across in light-hearted and funny way, but they definitely sink in.

    I would love to see these themes introduced into primary schools right from the start.

    Thanks Robin.
    Ros

    • Robin Grille says:

      Great way to go, Ros. We did a similar thing at home. Definitely, primary and high school should teach kids to decode ads, so they lose their power. I did teach a class of primary kids all about this once. They loved it! Kids need to know when they are being lied to and manipulated.

  3. Pam Paton says:

    I’ve only just discovered this and don’t know much about it as it’s a US based group but it seems very relevent to this subject: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/

  4. Bea Pierce says:

    Hi Robyn. Check out this documentary, ‘Consuming Kids: the Commercialisation of Childhood’. It was pretty eye-opening for me, and I used to work in advertising! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9GAmP59QCs

    • Robin Grille says:

      Thanks for recommending the documentary, Bea. No question: corporate entities are like sharks: a perfectly amoral eating machine. I am not in favor of culling either. But in the human-sphere, corporations have to be controlled by a strong, regulating government. Like the ones in Northern Europe, where advertising to children is a criminal offense.

  5. Pam Paton says:

    I definately think there should be stringent laws against targeting children in advertising. The world of marketing and advertising seem pretty much immoral to me. How would a product like this even get off the drawing board?: http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babygear/products/78030 There is a campaign against this iPad bouncy seat and I think Apple and Fisher Price have removed the educational claims they made about it but this is still in the product description: “If you insert and lock your iPad® into the mirror’s case, the visual display provides another way to stimulate and engage baby while protecting your device from baby’s sticky fingers and preventing unintentional navigating to other apps “. I think that targeting new parents who may be particularly vulnerable and susceptible in this way also sucks.

    • Ros N-C says:

      I’ve noticed a steep rise in the last 12-18 months the rise in iPad’s attached on brackets to the front of toddler’s strollers. Lots of teen mum’s where I am and they think they are wonderful because toddler’s are happy which is a very logical conclusion for them to draw. I’m trying to do some awareness raising through this in my work but often feel as though I’m trying to fight an approaching tsunami.

  6. Pam Paton says:

    This concerns me too, as well as seeing toddlers playing with mobile phones.

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