Friday, April 29, 2011

Outlawing "Evil" Marketing to Kids

Image adapted from Rob Sheridan - Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial
I'm a frustrated parent because of the mass marketing that goes on trying to win over the heart of my little one.  If my daughter does get to watch some television shows we prefer Netflix in order to avoid all the commercials.  Given this, you would think that I would be happy to hear that the Government is considering producing guidelines that would limit and regulate the marketing of food to our children.  Captain Crunch and the Silly Rabbit may soon be out of a job.  However, I don't think this kind of political pressure is the answer.  In fact, I fear it may even backfire and make our jobs of teaching our kids about real food even harder. 

Slashfood had a recent article stating that the Government wants companies to limit marketing to kids. While I have no problem with the idea of less marketing toward my kid, it's the means of Government control that worry me.  For example, phrases like "companies would be urged to only market foods to children ages 2 through 17 if they are low in fats, sugar and sodium and contain specified healthy ingredients", should raise up red flags in all our real foodie minds.  This kind of control is surely to perpetuate the dangerous myth of low fat and "specified healthy ingredients" will surely continue to include GMO corn and soy products.   Healthy and real foods has become a lost knowledge in the first place because of relying on the power brokers to dictate our food to us.  Let's move away from repeating this mistake and find some other means of invoking change.

I would argue that the world changing actors in human history, are not the "powers at be" using a top down approach of control (even though they get to write the history books and give themselves all the credit).  Rather, the world has been changed, and will continue to be changed, by involved people like you and me and by the way in which we choose to live.  It should not be our goal to try and take control or to run the world.   A much more effective means of achieving our desired ends is using the power of persuasion by simply living out an alternative vision of life.  As parents, as friends to others, as neighbors, as bloggers, let us change hearts and minds through persuasion, not compulsion, for compulsion is always met with resistance and will certainly have unintended consequences.

What do you think?  What's the best way to change the hearts and minds of people?

** We linked this post at Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist **


  1. I'm no parent, but I think letting your children know the bad effects of these food will help (scare) them into eating real food, maybe? >< and of course, making real food taste yummy enough for them to not start searching for alternatives. I had a friend when I was in primary school who loved the canteen junk food because her mum was not a very enthusiastic/good cook heh.

  2. I agree it's frustrating. Education starts at home in that respect and we only watch non commercial (for the most part) channels for the kids. I.e. Noggin/NickJr. The only time I ever hear, "Can I have 'such and so'? Pleasepleaseplease?" Is when the rare time comes they get to watch a show on another channel or DVR'd from regular Nick. Ode to fast forwarding. I'd say keep providing the good example in the home on a daily basis and avoid giving the idiots in goverment any more control over our health, our food and our personal lives.