The prevalence of ads promoting calorie-dense and nutrition-free food items to children is disturbing. A recent report on the health of Canadians from the Heart and Stroke Foundation examined “how industry is marketing unhealthy food and beverages directly to our children and youth, and how this is affecting their preferences and choices, their family relationships and their health”.
When marketing research confirms that children’s personal preferences can be altered and shaped by advertising, and when we know that children’s critical thinking hasn’t yet developed to the point of discerning the harmful from the harmless, not only is it not fair play to allow them to be exposed to these commercials, it’s ethically questionable.
Parents fret over their kids’ well being and aim to protect them from all harm — whether it be guiding them away from a hot stove or ensuring their online privacy and protection from sexual predators and bullies — but for some reason we’re allowing large corporations, whose only goal is profit, to groom these vulnerable little adults-in-the-making and establish early on that their self worth is attached to something they can buy. It’s time to rein them in.
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