Friday, 6 April 2007

Controls on advertising junk food to children came into force this week

This article is from the BBC :
"Teachers are warning that children are growing up too quickly because of pressure from advertising and commerce. They say advertising which targets children should be more tightly controlled because it encourages poor diets and general ill-health. The call comes from the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers in Harrogate, where delegates will also discuss education reforms.
Controls on advertising junk food to children came into force this week.
But dedicated children's channels are allowed to phase in the restrictions, which affect programmes aimed at four to nine year olds."

I am very much in favour of children maintaining healthy well balanced diet. But where does the responsibility for this lie? The answer is with the parents, not commercial advertisers. Parents have options. They can choose which programs, if any their children watch. They can choose what food their children eat. Parents do have the ability to say no, despite the fact many refuse to exercise that ability. Sadly, these days parents would rather give the child what they want than to have to deal with the child's reaction when told no. This is one of the reasons so many children are unhealthy and out of control. Have you ever gone into a restaurant for a nice quiet meal and sat next to children who are very poorly behaved? I have. They run around the restaurant, demand sweets for desserts and, god forbid they don't get their way, they scream. This is not the child's fault. The responsibility for this behavior lies firmly with the parents. Now before the parents of the children complain that I don't understand how difficult raising children can be, I have three. My children do not eat fast food, they do not have public temper tantrums or run around restaurants disturbing everyone else's meal. I am not unduly strict or unreasonable. However, I do set firm boundaries which they know not to cross. And no, it was not easy when they were toddlers to see them upset when they weren't given what they want but today they are extremely well adjusted, happy children because of it. Children look to their parents for guidance, structure, love and attention. If they do not receive these things at home they will look for them elsewhere be it food or misbehaving for attention.

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