In the News - censoring the adverts on kids' TV
Children's television may look very different after the introduction of strict food advertising rules in the UK.
Censorship of food advertising during kid’s TV programmes
Advertisements for foods high in fat, salt or sugar are having an adverse effect on children’s eating habits, says communications regulator Ofcom, and should not be shown during children's television programmes.
What kind of programmes are these?
Programmes intended for children, and family shows such as The Simpsons, Hollyoaks and The X Factor may be affected by the ban. Ofcom say any show which is watched by 20% more children than average will come under the ban.
How are adverts thought to affect children?
The Food Standards Agency have reviewed research which suggests that advertising has a “modest” effect on children’s eating habits, while Ofcom says that adverts influence children’s eating habits by two percent. Ed Richards, the chief executive of Ofcom, said that “television has a meaningful indirect effect” on the kind of lifestyle children have.
What will the ban mean for children’s TV?
Children’s TV programmes will lose most of their revenue if the ban goes into place. The British Medical Association argues that the health of our children is more important than advertising revenues, but broadcasters and advertisers point out that there will be a lot less investment in children’s TV as a result, and so the quality of children’s TV may go down.
Are these new rules fair?
Advertisers and the food industry say judging a food by its fat, salt and sugar content should also take into account how much we eat of that food. For example, tomato ketchup is high in salt and sugar, and so comes under the ban, even though we only eat a small portion of it with our meals.
Also, some foods which we think of as healthy – like currants and olive oil – will be caught in the ban. Finally, brands which we think of as producing food high in fat, salt and sugar – like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Nestle – will be allowed to advertise their brand, but not specific foods. Some advertisers think this is unfair, too.
What do you think about the ban? Have your say in the Supernanny Forum.