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Old 03-19-2012, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,894,376 times
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Children as Consumers

This article is one of many. Some countries are taking action on junk food and toy advertising to young ones. How do you feel about it? Would you like to free your child from fast food, junk food and toy advertisements? Or do you like their buying power?
Is feeding our kids junk when they are young leading to bad eating habits when they become adults that are hard to break? Should parents be held accountable for the indulge or not? This isn't a specific topic, it's an idea I got from another thread talking with one who brought up the concept that feeding fast food, even small amounts might lead to an addictive eater later in life, just like alcohol or drugs done early. So, it's broad and I expect it to be.
I thought it was interesting concept but didn't have an answer, googling it is monstrous. So I thought I'd break it out and get your opinions on it. I don't think they were advocating it, just using it as an example for another topic but it really caught my attention, and the relation was warranted, IMO.

What do you think about all or some of it? What would be a good way to free ourselves from this? Or should we? Should we just embrace the free market?

For me it's a hard one, I cannot deny that the advertisements make it harder on my kids to make good decisions but it's not law to say they have to be easy, I cannot deny that I think the same about other drugs and addictions.

But what about junk food? I'm just on the fence.
What about useless spending in general? Shopping can be addictive as well. Should we control these when it comes to impression on under aged minds legally or not? One could argue we don't do a good job on our own as parents, but who's to say that? Even I would get offended. That is my fence, and I'm on it.
Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 03-19-2012, 12:52 PM
 
Location: here
24,839 posts, read 30,105,065 times
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My 8 year old buys into commercials hook, line, and sinker. He is always asking for something he saw on TV, and quoting the commercial. I've used it as a teachable moment. After asking for the same toy for over a year, I finally gave a family member the go-ahead to buy it for him for Christmas. It was, of course, not like the commercial showed. We had a discussion about the way commercials work and why they do what they do.

AFA junk food, I don't think I'd ban junk food or junk food commercials. I think education is a better way to go. I don't think it would be a bad idea to redefine what is considered "food," or perhaps lower the amount of food additives that are allowed. Maybe a warning of some kind on the packaging...
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:06 PM
 
Location: TX
6,491 posts, read 5,241,411 times
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I think it's fine to give kids junk food depending on how much you give and how often. Same goes for alcohol. Whether one or the other should be legal/illegal is hard to say. But if there was something to justify making giving alcohol to your kid or teenager illegal while allowing them to give them junk food, it'd have to be the fact that alcohol use can adversely affect brain development (but then maybe so can some types of food?) Other than that, I really don't see it as any more addictive or harmful than sweet, salty, or fatty foods.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,894,376 times
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So, if the majority of people in said country got together and voted for regulation on anything harmful would that be a good idea? It would make things easier, healthier and if the majority wanted it then would it make sense to do it? We do it with some things, and as Vic pointed out whats good for the goose should be good for the gander. If we do it for one and another is similar shouldn't we do it for that?
It made a difference when they upped the drinking age to 21 on teen drinking deaths, why shouldn't we put an age limit on fast food or junk food? Like he has stated, obesity is peaking, unhealthy, costly and deadly. Most bad habits start early, not as likely to start when you are an adult. It makes sense. But seems odd. I'm on the fence.

Sometimes I think it would, I'd love to make less choices sometimes. It would make sure the information was valid and reviewed before it was regulated so that I didn't have to look into every single thing myself. Might be a good thing. I just don't know.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:39 PM
 
12,189 posts, read 9,895,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppySead View Post
Children as Consumers

This article is one of many. Some countries are taking action on junk food and toy advertising to young ones. How do you feel about it? Would you like to free your child from fast food, junk food and toy advertisements? Or do you like their buying power?
Our kids ARE free from advertising of all kinds except for special occasions. We don't have cable or dish or anything. We watch movies and tv on Netflix. The kids see ads when we go on vacation if there is a tv where we are staying. We use those times as an opportunity to teach them about the goal of the ad, to separate you from your money. We also talk to them about what is in the ad and how to evaluate the ad for possible misleading impressions. Take froot loops. Why do we suppose they spell it froot instead of fruit? And it is part of a complete balanced breakfast that includes whole wheat toast, a piece of fruit and an egg why do we we think?

...

Quote:
Is feeding our kids junk when they are young leading to bad eating habits when they become adults that are hard to break?
Beyond a doubt.

Quote:
Should parents be held accountable for the indulge or not?
I have 2 problems here.

Who should be the governing body that "holds parents accountable"? Someone smarter than me? You? George Bush, the president of the USA who declared katsup which is largely sugar a vegetable?

Also, I wonder what the impact of continually rescuing kids from their parents will ultimately be? Will we grow more and more lazy? Assume someone else is going to rescue us from our parental failures? I just don't know.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Jersey
870 posts, read 1,259,018 times
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My 4 year old always "wishes" he had whatever it is he sees on tv. I wish i had that, I wish i had this. The other day on the kids station there was a commercial for like some mop thingy. He said "mommy, i wish you had that" I think the toy commercials are a bit much but its my job as a parent to teach him that things he wants are things he can wait for. And food, well its also my job as a parent to decide what to feed him. I think there is to much junk food and fast food available, without really good options that are as appealing to children but i dont agree with banning them. I could just as well fry potatoes at home or make chilly cheese fries. We cant just ban everything bad for us because most things are bad in moderation.

Nuclear energy, good unless something bad happens.
I read somewhere that to much soy increases estrogen in men, which isnt good them.
Pollution, solar flares, germs, sunshine, peanut (if allergic) bread, sugar, corn syrup etc etc. Its all bad if you dont limit it appropriately or take proper precaution. We cant just get rid of it because some people dont know how to appropriately restrict themselves.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Jersey
870 posts, read 1,259,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somebodynew View Post


Who should be the governing body that "holds parents accountable"? Someone smarter than me? You? George Bush, the president of the USA who declared katsup which is largely sugar a vegetable?
.
The govt recently decided that pizza is a vegetable because it has tomato sauce....
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:50 PM
 
12,189 posts, read 9,895,006 times
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Originally Posted by Dave5150 View Post
The govt recently decided that pizza is a vegetable because it has tomato sauce....
Oy vay. One CAN make very healthy pizza, I am not denying that. But DO most?
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Jersey
870 posts, read 1,259,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somebodynew View Post
Oy vay. One CAN make very healthy pizza, I am not denying that. But DO most?
I believe it was for schools. They dont have to serve a vegetable or have a veggie option on the pizza, because pizza itself if a vegetable.

ETA when we make pizza at home, we dont even use red sauce. Whole wheat crust, garlic, low fat cheese and mushrooms and spinach. Yum
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:56 PM
 
14,780 posts, read 36,021,886 times
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I have an issue when we start legislating what are otherwise traditionally viewed as "parenting choices" or even "personal choices" in general with the attempt to overcome the poor choices some people make. We walk a fine line attempting to correct these behaviors while not tipping into some Orwellian future where the "government" is managing our lives for us.

I think part of it comes down to the idea of using governmental influence to discourage certain behavior, versus an outright ban. If we were going to ban fast food I think that would be a massive overstep for the government. Discouraging its consumption by taxing it, not so much a gross intervention, but I'm not necessarily in favor of that either as it is singling out a specific industry as being responsible for a much larger problem.

Let's take it to what this is really about, obesity in the country and the impact this has on healthcare costs. Instead of attacking particular industries like fast food or even junk food, why not attack obesity? The simple solution is to charge obese people more for their health insurance just as smokers are charged more for health insurance.

That is a much more directed and less intrusive way to go about it. You have a choice, but those choices are going to cost you. You can be obese, but it is going to cost you more to buy health insurance. We are not eliminating the choice, we are just incentifying better choices. I can be OK with that, because in a grander sense the people who choose to be obese are in fact impacting me in terms of healthcare dollars. They are free to have the choice to be obese if they in turn are willing to accept the added cost that is currently born by the rest of us to provide them with healthcare.

When it comes to marketing and things, that is just a fact of life in the western world and the world in general. I treat aggressive advertising as a teaching moment with my kids. Additionally, being strong on financial teaching really helps to alleviate "wanting.something.cool.I.just.saw.on.TV.itis" . When kids are challenged to budget and manage their own money they spend much more time doing cost-benefit analysis and not being taken in so easily by advertising. It is very easy to fall prey to wanting the latest and greatest toy being advertised when you aren't spending our own money.

When it comes to advertising I always think of the Russian vodka market in the immediate post-Soviet era. Russia had seven major distilleries, the most famous of which is Kristall which also produces Stolichnaya for export. These vodka's were held to very high purity standards and were a treasured national symbol. However, in the immediate post-Soviet days Russia was flooded with cheap low quality vodka's from the world over. What these vodka's came with was slick western style advertising that was completely alien to Russians. The foreign vodkas were cheaper which helped sales, but they were also horrible. However, the advertising linked with them showed them as the choice for the "New Russia" and made the import brands a social symbol. If you were smart, progressive and western, you drank the import brands regardless of how bad they were. It took several years for people to realize that they were drinking imported swill when they had the best vodka around readily available to drink, even if the label and ads weren't nearly as cool.

There is a lot in that little history of Russian vodka advertising that can be applied to kids. Kids, are not born with an understanding of advertising, just like the average post-Soviet Russian didn't really understand it. The more creative and targeted it is, the more it appeals to them. The best advertising slants itself as being the smart or cool choice. It takes a lot of time for kids to realize that everything is essentially the smart or cool choice when it comes to advertising. Just like the Russians, sometimes kids need to get burned spending hard earned money on an inferior product just because they bought into the advertising message. Letting them get burned once in a while on their own dime, helps create more savvy consumers.
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