Sheena Grant is fed up of adverts that target children

Should adverts aimed at children be banned?

Should adverts aimed at children be banned? - Credit: PA

Something happened in my household the minute I lost the power to control the TV remote and limit children’s viewing time to CBeebies, writes Sheena Grant as she continues her mission to live a thriftier existence.

One day, when my back was momentarily turned, my son hit a button and discovered commercial channels. Life changed forever. Pester power took over. Since then, one ‘I want’ has followed another in such quick succession it’s been hard to keep up with them all. I mean metaphorically, of course. I have neither means nor desire to actually fulfil the incessant demands from the little consumer in my midst.

In the intervening years I have tried, and largely failed, to keep TV time to my beloved, ad-free BBC. I have even been nicknamed The Head Teacher for my propensity to hit the mute button during ad breaks and my regular rants against commercial TV.

My worries about the malevolent effects of advertising aimed at children have not diminished as the years have progressed. They have grown in equal proportion to the demands for branded trainers, toys, electrical gadgets and general stuff.

I’m not alone. In 2013 a group of academics, authors, MPs and charity leaders called for a ban on ads aimed at children, amid fears it was turning them into young consumers rather than young citizens able to concentrate on forming friendships, discovering their talents and unleashing their imaginations. There’s even a campaign group - Leave Our Kids Alone - lobbying for a ban on advertising aimed at under-11s.

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I’m all for that, not just because pester power threatens my attempts to live more thriftily but because of the damage the ads that drive it are doing to our children’s sense of self. I can’t help thinking it’s time this Head Teacher got a bit more strict...

Last week, I passed on readers’ tips for slug control. Louise Scolding emailed to point out that anyone using the ‘beer trap’ method should leave plastic cups three-quarters of an inch above ground level to avoid drowning helpful ground beetles. “The slugs will still smell the beer and crawl up to reach it,” she says.

Email Sheena with your tips or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

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See more from Sheena here

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