Parents have the right to raise their children and make decisions about family purchases without marketing that appeals directly to children and encourages them to influence those decisions.
A parent's right to raise a child is infringed upon if advertising
- directed at children addresses them directly with incitements to buy such as "buy, try, get, experience"
- encourages a child to try to get a parent to buy a product
- associates a product with games, cartoon characters, giveaway toys or contests that have a strong emotional appeal to children aims direct marketing at a child without a parent's consent
Hidden or disguised advertising is never acceptable
As a parent, you do not have to accept hidden or disguised advertising which exploits children's naivety and their inability to understand advertising.
Advertising should be clearly distinguished from entertainment and other content intended for and reaching children. Marketing is inappropriate for children if, for example, it is disguised as a competition, cartoon or activity page, or placed in Internet games, television programmes or other entertainment.
If a marketer sponsors entertainment content or an event aimed at children, it has the right to display its recognisable logo in connection with the project, but advertising attractive to children is not allowed in such a context.
Telemarketers and other direct marketers must not target children
Parents have the right to decide on the family's purchases. A marketer who seeks to appeal directly to a child is therefore encroaching on the parents' right to raise their child.
Direct marketing, such as telemarketing, must not be directed towards children under 15 years of age, without their parents' consent. Advertising letters addressed to parents are also regarded as direct marketing targeted at children, if their appearance appeals to children.
Direct marketing targeting young people of 15–17 years of age should be limited to products that are typical for the age group in question and that the children can buy with their own pocket money.
Instruct a young person to let telemarketers know that he or she is underaged.
Online advertising must not entice children to make mobile purchases in which they are not legally permitted to engage
Companies are responsible for ensuring that websites reaching children do not contain inappropriate material.
Parents should intervene in cases of online advertising when, for example, a website directed at or attracting children entices them to make purchases or other agreements, such as using mobile services, without their parents' consent.
Parents must also interfere if children are enticed to visit inappropriate websites. For example, a children's activity website must not contain links to material that is clearly intended for adults.
Similarly, if children are asked to supply information on themselves, their family members or other persons, or the child's consent is requested for the activation of direct marketing by email or mobile phone, his or her parents must intervene.
Children should be instructed to tell their parents if someone requests their personal information.
f you feel a marketer is using inappropriate marketing, inappropriately asks for personal details or asks a child to provide personal details, you can contact the marketer directly.
Complaint form (Word)
Complaint form (pdf)
If direct marketing is targeted at your child (by mail, phone or electronically), you can protect him/her by contacting the marketer or a direct marketing refusal service.
You can also ask your telephone operator about how to limit marketing calls and text messages to your child's mobile phone.
You can report inappropriate advertising directed at children to the authorities. You can contact: