The Right to Sell Kids Junk

Froot-Loops-Cereal-BowlFood critic and blogger extraordinaire Mark Bittman makes the point that a Constitution protecting corporations’ right to inundate children with junk food is wack (especially because the obesity and other health problems it leads to will require health care, which the Constitution may or may not allow the government to provide), in the New York Times:

The First Amendment to the Constitution, which tops our Bill of Rights, guarantees — theoretically, at least — things we all care about. So much is here: freedom of religion, of the press, of speech, the right to assemble and more. Yet it’s stealthily and incredibly being invoked to safeguard the nearly unimpeded “right” of a handful of powerful corporations to market junk food to children.

It’s been reported that kids see an average of 5,500 food ads on television every year (sounds low, when you think about it), nearly all peddling junk. (They may also see Apple commercials, but not of the fruit kind.) Worse are the online “advergames” that distract kids with entertainment while immersing them in a product-driven environment. (For example: create your own Froot Loops adventure!)

And beyond worse: collecting private data, presumably in order to target children with personalized junk food promotions, as in this Capri Sun advergame, which asks for permission to use your webcam to film you — without first verifying your age…

[continues in the New York Times]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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10 Comments on "The Right to Sell Kids Junk"

  1. Igniteyrgeneration | Mar 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm |

    this isnt even a constitutional issue.  as long as they arent selling human beings they are trafficking then they arent stepping on anyone’s rights. parents need to stop being lazy and start making informed decisions about the things they purchase for their children and in what quantity certain foods are appropriate. it also isn’t like sweetened cereals and fast food are a particularly new phenomenon. don’t be stupid people.

  2. Juliestavness | Mar 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |

    fruit loops taste yummy

  3. Ultimately it’s your parents fault if you’re a fat kid. Whether it be by genetics or overindulgence. Although making the best things bad for you doesn’t help.

    • KeepItToYourself | Mar 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

       Exactly, parents need to learn to say no.  You can take Cap’n Crunch off the box, but kids are still going to eat crap unless parents exercise a little discipline and common sense.  They’re the ones buying this stuff, not the kids.

      Instead of banning junk-food marketing, make it so folks have to take training and receive a license to have kids.  You have to be certified to be a flagger for a road crew, but any fool can have as many kids as they want.

  4. Welcome to the new America where everything goes except common sense. Parents don’t have time to figure out and considering the lack of education by more and more people the future of parenting is going to be sex and childbirth and that it. Everything else will be done with the education of a 5th grader. 

    Now give your kids more junk food my stocks are a bit low this quarter.

  5. Eric_D_Read | Mar 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm |

    Eliminate corporate personhood and the Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to them anymore. Problem solved. Next.
    (not like it will ever happen) 

  6. rapemeagain | Mar 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm |

    Thats not the problem the problem is STUPID parents and stupid people that breed!  A little junk food won’t ruin your kids life but what kid on that MTV show 16 and pregnant is giving their kid a great diet. 

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