Doctors Assail Ads for Children Ban Alcohol, Tobacco Ads, Fix Surcharges on Tv, Say Pediatricians

Article excerpt

A pediatricians' group wants to ban alcohol and tobacco ads in all media, cut the commercial time allowed during children's TV programs and impose surcharges on TV advertisers who target youngsters.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics believes advertising directed toward children is inherently deceptive and exploits children under age 8," the organization said.

The 49,000-member academy singled out television for the most criticism in a new policy statement in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics.

American children see an estimated 360,000 TV ads before graduating from high school, including about 2,000 ads a year for beer and wine, the academy said.

The academy said one possible solution to the problems of TV advertising might be to ban ads directed at children under age 8 and recommend that all those directed toward adolescents promote health.

"However, the viewing audience cannot be accurately sequestered by age, and a ban would also infringe on the rights of free speech directed at older children," they said.

Instead, the group recommended:

Regulation of toy-based TV shows and strict enforcement of rules on educational programs.

Tighter limits on the amount of advertising permitted for children's television, perhaps to no more than five to six commercial minutes an hour - about half the current limit. …

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