Leave our kids alone – the case for banning ads targeted at children

This article was first published on the Liberal Conspiracy website. Please visit the Leave Our Kids Alone website for more information about the campaign (of which I am one of the co-founders).

Yesterday morning, a campaign was launched aimed at banning advertising directed at children.

Why do the remarkable range of signatories we got for this letter believe I that such a ban should be brought in? Simple: Kids of 4 or 5 years old have no defence against adverts.

It’s hard for parents to shield children from all the advertising directed in the home and virtually impossible elsewhere, so we need to be responsible enough to ban the ads in the first place.

That’s the point that is undeniable about our campaign: that it just cannot be right to let advertisers effectively brainwash tiny children.

The most common argument against our proposal that we’ve heard so far is that parents should be responsible enough to control their children and not just buy them whatever they get pestered to buy by the ad-men.

But this argument really won’t wash: it isn’t enough for you to be a responsible parent. Your kid will still be exposed to vast amounts of dangerous consumerist drivel – through peer pressure from other kids.

In any case, as I already implied earlier, good parenting alone isn’t ever going to be enough.

However good a parent you are, you can’t control the billboards your kids pass as they walk down the street, you can’t control what other parents’ kids flaunt or demand…

Moreover, even if it was working in its own terms, the current system would still be insufficient, because under it harm needs to be proven before action will be taken.

We ought rather to take precautionary attitude to our kids’ mental health and to protecting their mental environment.

If you agree, please back our proposal.

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