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Pros and Cons for restriction of advertisement for kids

Recent studies show that advertising can be harmful to kids.

Influenced by TV, magazine or even social media it can cause children to beg for products which harm the child-parent relations.

Ads specifically to children are unethical because they have no understanding of the value of money.

When strict parents don’t give in, kids find a “No” as a refusal of the parents.

To avoid having an offended and grumpy kid at home, they rather buy these things than having an ague with their kids. Sometimes Parents are not strong enough to see that it is not good to buy everything kids want and have a bad conscience to not buy it.

Advertising which presents products to children as “must-have”-things make children whose parents cannot afford them appear inferior and creating feelings of frustration and inadequacy, as well as leading families into debts.

They also bring negative social consequences. Much of it is for food and drinks that are very unhealthy. To encourage naive children to consume so much unhealthy, fatty and sugary food is unethical and brings kids to overweight with bad eating habits their whole for life. As a result of this, we all have to pay a high price in terms of the extra medical care such children will eventually require, in young years or as a consequence as adults. The government should have a strong interest in preventing advertisements which contribute to this problem.

Exploitative advertising brainwashes children into becoming eager consumers and capitalists. Multinational companies deliberately encourage them to be materialistic so that they associate happiness with purchasing power and the possession of particular goods. A study recently found that children in Sweden, where marketing campaigns to the under-12s are banned, wanted significantly fewer toys than children in Britain, where there are no restrictions.

On the other hand, banning ads shirks the individual responsibility of children and parents. Advertising has no magical power to create unnatural desires for material possessions. Children who nag are simply badly brought up. Poor parenting and undisciplined children cannot be solved by banning advertising, as children have many influences upon them which can stimulate their desires for toys, etc., particularly their friends. It is also untrue that children have no spending power of their own; many children under 12 receive pocket money and teenagers are often able to earn a little themselves. Learning to manage money is part of growing up, and advertisements help them to choose what they would like to save up for.

Children naturally like foods that are rich in fats, proteins, and sugar. They give them the energy they need to play energetically and grow healthily. It is true that eating only such foods is bad for people, but this is again a problem of bad parenting rather than the fault of advertising. And of course, if advertising to children were banned, then governments would not be able to use this means of promoting healthy eating, road safety, hygiene, and other socially useful messages.

This measure sets a bad precedent which is likely to result in even more restrictions upon the freedom of expression. Children watch many programmes that adults also enjoy, and some adults are also particularly suggestible; should we then extend this ban to all television advertising. And why stop at the television when children are also exposed to radio, cinema, the internet and billboards in the street as well? Perhaps companies should also be banned from sponsoring entertainment and sporting events for children and prevented from providing free branded resources for schools. On the other hand, any restrictions will be impossible to enforce as television is increasingly broadcast by satellite across national borders and cannot easily be controlled – nor can the internet.

Banning advertisements is a severe restriction upon freedom of speech. Companies should be able to tell the public about any legal products, or innovation will be restricted and new companies will find it hard to market their products successfully in the face of established rivals. Children also have a human right to receive information from a wide range of sources and make up their own minds about it. They are far from being brainwashed by advertisements, which form only a small part of their experiences; family, friends, school and other television programmes are much more important and all give them alternative views of the world.

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