Should Children Be Advertised To?

Like most parents, we (my wife and I) try to get through the day as best we can. We do things that are frowned upon, all the time, and I can’t speak for Nikki but I am certainly not a model parent (who is?).

I look after Max three days a week now. It was full time, but now, as you know if you are one of my two subscribers (thanks, mum & dad) I’ve started working a little.

The three days I have him are lovely but tiring especially now he is so active and I am less so. Not that I want to stint his growth but when he couldn’t walk or crawl, wow how easy was that...

So more often than not the tv will go on, and his little face will light up with Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Blaze and many more of our household favourites. We usually stick on Milkshake in the morning (not the drink) and Nick Jr in the afternoons.

However this week we’ve boycotted them both due to, you guessed it, the relentless adverts.How did I cope with a toddler wanting his favourite shows on you ask?

I switched on the smart dongle plugged into the tv and streamed all the shows via Netflix and Amazon Prime. Now, this solution might not come as a revelation to a lot of you but to me... it was my Newton under a tree moment. Now don’t panic this isn’t a covert advert for Amazon and Netflix, use whatever streaming service you want (you probably already do).

You see I’ve started to realise that I am humming theme tunes to adverts recently, and it is just plain scary. I was getting annoyed at humming Paw Patrol but I draw the line when I start singing “my little pony”. Not only that but Max is nearly old enough to start asking for the things that are being rammed down our throats and we don’t have the patience or the money to keep up with the number of toys that come on in between the programs.

Don’t get me wrong I appreciate that adverts have to happen to fund the channels, but do they have to constantly be showing, dolls, ponies, action figures, racing cars etc etc. I’m going to put it out there, I don’t think children should be advertised to, full stop, end of.

You play on the child’s impulses and the parents weaknesses. We are generally a tired bunch of people that just want an easy ride and hooking children on the latest must-have toy so that they go on for the next five hours about it isn’t really fair. Kick someone else when they are down please...I kid it’s not nice to kick anyone when they are down.

Now luckily Max isn’t old enough to beg, but I put the tv for some peace and quiet (I told you, I’m not a good parent...). The last thing I need is more aggro.

So this week I decided no more, I wouldn’t let it unfold, and luckily I don’t have to let it now. The rise of Netflix and Amazon Prime has allowed me to uncouple the crazy amount of adverts that Max will see.

Maybe I will put a toy company out of business, but I seriously doubt it. Either way, I think the government or some higher power (God is probably busy) should look into why anyone thinks it’s acceptable to advertise to anyone under 16 in this country. In some countries around the world, I know that it is illegal to advertise to children and I’d love our government to step up.

Call me a hermit or an old-fashioned looney (a lot of people do) but I just don’t get it. Parents will still buy toys, and the world will still spin on its axis, but maybe, just maybe it would result in fewer tantrums and fewer parental headaches.


Simon WheeldonComment