Child advertising ad ban – worth a try?

Rowan_bear_3 Rowan Williams Archbishop of Canterbury – pictured above – has called for a ban on advertising to under 12s. This was part of what can only be described as a rant against testing in schools, video games, working mothers and of course advertising which is taking away children’s childhood.  The archbishop provided no evidence for how advertising might be contributing to this but thought an ad ban ‘worth a try’. This is a staggeringly ill thought out assault.  Pick your targets more carefully archbishop.  If you think consumerism per se is at fault then how do you propose to prepare children for an adulthood largely driven by consumerism? Do you propose for example that we ban all products aimed at children, wrap them in brown paper and ensure we route them through adults? When are they supposed to learn about buying, consuming and being promoted to? Childhood is supposed to be a preparation for adulthood. So a more promising approach would be to ask how advertising to children assists and hinders that preparation. Sounding off about advertising puts you with last week’s  childrens authors who appear to be calling for Ovaltine in Schools, a free wireless for every child and lashings of Enid Blyton instead of that nasty nasty Crazy Frog.  I suggest you read Everything bad is good for you by Steve Johnson which suggests that popular culture may not be as dumbed down as the do gooders suggest.

I’m not a big fan of advertising to children but let’s have a proper debate about it.  You’ll be calling for a ban on gravity next because of the negative effect it has on toddlers.  Worth a try?

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