A great deal of advertising on television is aimed at children, promoting not only toys and sweets but also products such as food, drink, music, films and clothing to young consumers from toddlers to teenagers. Increasingly, this practice is coming under criticism from parents’ organisations, politicians and pressure groups in many countries. Many western countries have currently imposed national restrictions, and these have also been proposed in most other European Union countries and in the USA.
Many people consider that it is unethical to target children with advertisements, as they are not yet able to distinguish advertising from actual programming in the way adults can. This would mean that advertising aimed at children is misleading and unfair. It is also clearly effective, or else, advertisers would not spend such huge amounts of money each year targeting children who are not able to resist their sales pitch.
Advertising specifically to children is unethical because parents are forced to buy products for them as they scarcely have any money of their own. Rather than advertising directly to parents, companies use a "nag and whine" campaign that leads to bad feeling between parents and children. For example, children pester adults to spend money, on unnecessary toys, which their children may play with, only for a few hours. Moreover, advertising which presents products to children as if they are necessary to them is also creates social divisions. It creates an inferior feeling in children, whose parents cannot afford them, resulting in frustration and inadequacy, as well as leading families into debt. Again, advertising aimed at children can also lead to negative social consequences, as a substantial portion of it is for food and drinks that are very unhealthy. Encouraging vulnerable children to consume great amounts of fatty, sugary and salty food is unethical because it would create obese, unhealthy youngsters, with bad eating...
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