Overly Optimistic Jonathan Kent Wants a Children’s Ad Ban

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babyremoteRegardless of political or religious affiliation it seems like all parents pretty much agree that our kids would be better off without advertising. Some parents are strict about TV time, others combat consumerism by limiting their gift-giving (or, like me, it’s just not in the budget). However, despite these measures we take, it seems damn near impossible to completely banish ads targeted at children. Isn’t capitalism too big and powerful a beast to take down? Journalist Jonathan Kent doesn’t think so. He thinks the solution is a complete children’s ad ban.

From The Guardian:

Target me, not my six-year-old. I’m the one with the money. If you can’t persuade me your product is worth getting, it probably isn’t, so make something better. Or businesses that rely on ad revenue will have to rely on other models, such as subscriptions.

Most parents hate what advertising does to their children. We have the power to end it and let our children grow up free from many of the pressures of consumerism until they’re old enough to make their own decisions. And though advertising is only part of an all-pervasive marketing culture we need to make a start somewhere. Let’s ban all advertising targeting children of primary school age and younger now.

Though his optimism definitely makes me smile, his command, “target me, not my six-year-old” gives me pause. I’m just thinking of TV ads at the moment, because they seem to be the most prevalent in our children’s lives, but how often are we watching TV without our kids nearby? Even if it was illegal to create ads for kids, aren’t they still going to be affected by adult ads?

And I’m not sure advertising is entirely to blame for consumerist culture, either. Look at cigarettes: we no longer see cigarette ads on TV or in magazines but that sure as hell doesn’t stop people from buying them. Granted, smoking is way more addictive than shopping (for most people). But instead of implementing a new law, I think it makes more sense for parents to kick their own buying habits and show their kids that “more stuff” is only a quick fix — never a lasting source of happiness.

(photo: Jasmine_K/Shutterstock)