CHAPTER 8
Social Policy and the Regulation of Television for Children

And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive in their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?

-- Plato, The Republic.

Exploitation of children should be avoided. Commercials directed to children should in no way mislead as to the product's performance and usefulness.

--NAB Code of Advertising. (Cited in Adleret al., 1980, p. 311)

The children of a nation are its most precious resource, they are society's future. But children are delicate when young in some respects; they are unusually trusting. Children trust what adults tell them, and this trust is an important part of the child's capacity to effectively interact with and learn about the world. But this capacity for trust also means that children are easily manipulated and deceived, especially by unscrupulous adults. For these reasons, practically every society has rules about what Plato called the "casual manipulation" of children. In fact, the manipulation of children through advertising was banned in one of the earliest known legal codes. The code of Hamarabi made it a crime to try to sell something to a child ( Rothenberg, 1975).

____________________
*
translated by Francis M. Cornford ( New York: Oxford University press, 1958) Book II, p. 69.

-233-

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