AAP Statement on: Children and Advertising

Posted by Admin on December 4, 2006

Are kids being bombarded with way too many ads on tv, the internet, and through every type of media outlet? Are these ads leading to numerous health concerns: from obesity, to promiscuity, to violence? Tiny eyes and ears are taking in countless ads daily, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is drawing a dramatic line in the sand. Dr. Victor Strasburger, lead author of the AAP Position Statement Children, Adolescents, and Advertising says, So I think speaking personally of a parent of two teenagers for me it's time to take the cha-ching out of childhood ah we've really commercialized childhood and adolescence as much as we possibly can. Unfortunately on a list of the 50 things that you as a parent want to argue with your kid about today, the media are number 54. So, if parents won't parent, the AAP wants government to intervene.

This new position statement on advertising calls for a complete ban on cigarette and tobacco advertising in all media, including billboards. It wants to remove the sex from alcohol ads, and limit ads in schools. The statement calls for a ban on all junk food advertising on all kids’ programming.

"If we can make the air waves healthier and make advertising healthier then I think it makes more sense from a societal view than putting kids on a diet," says Dr. Strasburger. The statement also says all pharmaceutical ads are a problem -- the implication: medication ads somehow lead to illegal drug use. And the author argues erectile dysfunction ads make sex a recreation sport, sending a wrong message to kids.

"The Academy is calling for putting drugs for erectile dysfunction after 10 at night and advertising birth control products and emergency contraception at all times during the day," states Dr. Strasburger. Jonathan Paley of DCode Advertising Agency says, "I have got to be honest with you, this is where I think the AAP is reaching. Quite frankly I don't think that ED advertising is going to negatively effect children." "We as adults need to think about cleaning up our act," states Dr. Strasburger.

 The author does say condom ads would be ok at any time, because they promote safe sex. Overall, is this position statement reasonable, or does it go too far? "It is not so much an issue of un- commercializing childhood as it is a matter of educating children about the commercial messages," says Mr. Paley. “It is important to understand that eating in moderation a cookie could be fine, eating in excess is not.”

And that is the big point the statement misses. Perhaps more important than anything else is that parents need to watch TV with their kids. Parents need to talk to their kids about advertising. Parents need to be well, parents. Because I don't know any six year old who drives himself to McDonald’s.


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