Children live their everyday lives in an environment where they encounter commercial communications. Children have the right to receive information and culture through the media. However, a child’s media environment should be suitable for their age and level of development.
Children and young people encounter commercial communications in a number of ways:
- children use and encounter commercial communications about products targeted at children, but an adult makes the purchase decision;
- children encounter commercial communications about a product that they can decide to purchase independently, without involving their parents;
- children see commercial communications targeted at adults, containing information about products intended for adults;
- commercial communications about products that belong to the everyday lives of adults, but where the related communications have been made appealing to children.
When children browse online using media devices, they may create a purchase path. This enables websites and applications to display commercial content about topics that interest the consumer in question. Parents can guide children on how to protect themselves against advertising by teaching them how to restrict the disclosure of their personal data and instructing them to ask for parental permission. Ad blocking software may be used to block online advertisements.
Good marketing practices steer marketing
Advertisements must reflect socially acceptable values so as not to have a detrimental impact on a child's development or on a parent's role in raising the child. Advertising that does not reflect socially acceptable values is inappropriate.
An advertisement that is aimed at or reaches children infringes on a parent's right to raise a child, and is inappropriate if
- it features sexual discrimination in the form of offensive or demeaning content
- depicts frightening subjects or violence
- depicts inappropriate models of behaviour
- gives children the impression that human worth, quality of life or good social relationships can be bought
- makes parents feel guilty by presenting a purchase as a way to succeed as a parent
Express your opinion in order to help
prevent inappropriate advertising
A child has a right to grow up in a safe and peaceful environment, however. A parent can hold advertisers accountable for the kind of advertising a child is surrounded by.
When you think an advertisement is unsuitable for children, express your opinion to the advertiser, the shop (to the manager, for example), the advertising medium (to the broadcaster, newspaper or magazine, for example).
You can always submit a report to the Consumer Agency, which monitors marketing directed at children
There are ways in which all of these entities can affect the type of marketing that children encounter.